Dear Republicans…

Crap Cutting 101
1

What is wrong with you?

I mean, what is wrong with the people who make up today’s Republican Party? And yes, Republicans, that question is meant for you.

I’ll preface this letter by saying, I know a lot of Republicans and very few of them are dicks. However, when you look at how their favorite political party governs, there is little that isn’t severely “dickish.” The latest example is this radically obscene “healthcare” bill, but it’s surely not the first time they’ve acted this way. They are always screwing the poor and those with the least ability to take care of themselves.

I mean, seriously, people, WTF? I understand why many of you started out supporting the GOP; I get that we have different ways of looking at many issues. I really do get that. However, what I fail to understand is how some Americans who claim they believe in liberty and justice can support most of what the Republican Party has done over the last 40 years or so. There is nothing in their record that supports individual freedom, except for their apparently absolute belief in the right to own any kind of gun, and they sure don’t seem to believe in justice in any way.

By going back only 40 years, I am attempting to absolve you people of responsibility for the excesses of the Nixon Administration and even Ford’s pardon of Nixon. But everything since? How the hell do you explain that? How do you support the abject cruelty inherent in many of the actions your Republican Party has taken in that time? And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, that may be part of the problem. But here are some prime examples.

Deficits and debt – If you believe the exploding deficits and the admittedly high level of debt are the fault of Democrats, you obviously haven’t been paying attention. Only two presidents have overseen a reduction in deficits in the last 40 years, and their names were Clinton and Obama. With Democrats in charge, the period between World War II and 1980, when Republicans started holding an inordinate level of power, Democrats usually held the White House and a supermajority in Congress, and we built this into one of the great economies in the history of the world and the debt went from 120% of GDP in 1946 to 33% of GDP in 1980. It was when Republicans took over the government when deficit spending went out of control, in part because Reagan and the GOP reduced tax rates for the people with the most money, dismantled the industrial economy we had built and dismantled the meager safety net we had built up to that point. Not only is this irresponsible, it’s immoral. This country has more than enough wealth to pay for everything we need, yet Republicans lie and tell everyone we’re broke, while they allow the very rich to get away without paying their fair share.

Even at the state level, with the exceptions of Utah and Alaska (and Alaska has what is basically a socialistic tax system, whereby everyone in the state gets a check from oil companies that is big enough to pay for the basics), every Republican-led state gets a subsidy from every blue state. Sure, taxes are lower in many red states, but their level of government service is also lower and their people tend to be significantly poorer because Republicans don’t believe in a living wage and they don’t believe in “welfare.” (By the way, Republican leaders consider Social Security, Medicare and unemployment insurance as “welfare.” I know this because, when they cite the “welfare numbers,” they include those programs.)

Social Services – Republicans like to portray themselves as “The Party of Jesus.” Yet, virtually everything their party advocates for places money ahead of even the most basic morality. More than three-quarters of the people who live in poverty right now get any cash assistance at all. They mock and shame those who need a little help, to the point that many won’t even ask for it. They take money away from SNAP to pay for tax cuts. They take money from school lunch programs to pay for tax cuts. Not only that, but people who actually work for a living are routinely devalued and they are prevented from being paid what they are worth. The first thing Republicans do when they take over a state is pass a “Right to Work” law, which actually means the opposite of what it says. They also champion the concept of “at-will” employment, which erodes the worker’s rights even more.

Continuing on, Republicans cut money for vital services, like police and fire, especially in poor and minority neighborhoods, to pay for tax cuts. They have been advocating to kill the two most successful public programs in history, Social Security and Medicare, because they want to get their hands on that money. They also use the money in those trust funds to make the deficit look smaller than it is. They claim they want people to transition from welfare to work, but they have gutted job training programs that used to work well and they have cut so much government support for education that paying tuition has become prohibitive for most people without borrowing copious amounts of money. Many people will graduate at age 22 and never pay off their student loans. Of course, Republicans also cut the money available for public educational aid, which means many more families have to borrow from private banks at high rates, a reaction by Republicans to Democrats’ move to move student loans back into the public arena. At the same time, Republicans refuse to reduce interest rates on student loans serviced by the federal government.

It’s hard to put into words how much the “Party of Jesus” has actually insulted everything Jesus stands for.

Healthcare – If you think I just mean that cruel health insurance bill these people passed yesterday, well, you’re not paying attention. For years, the Republican Party has tried to make sure the health insurance system remains a great honey pot for it’s investors. But let’s look at a few other things first. For example, Republicans openly scorn the idea that healthcare is a right, even though it pretty much has to be if we are ever to get a handle on healthcare costs. The overall Republican philosophy makes it clear that you do not have a right to maintain your health if you cannot afford to see a doctor. I know this because they have been trying for more than eight years to prevent anything that would extend the availability of healthcare to more people.

This one actually goes back more than 40 years. Did you know Nixon was essentially the architect of the HMO system? Ted Kennedy had proposed the first comprehensive universal insurance system while Nixon was president, which the health insurance companies immediately hated, so they proposed the HMO system, in which doctors and hospitals would get a certain lump-sum payment for each insured, and anything amount they could save would be theirs to keep. Gee, how could a system like that ever fail, really? I mean, encouraging doctors and hospitals to save money at every turn? How could that go wrong.

Now, fast forward almost half a century, and the Republican Party is patting itself on the back for passing a bill that is nothing short of cruel. The people who get their insurance through the exchanges are mostly people whose employer doesn’t offer insurance as a benefit, or people who are self employed or who own a small business and can’t afford insurance on their own. The GOP’s bill will make those policies cost-prohibitive for most people who now have coverage. Basically, what this bill does is to return us to the old system before Obamacare, where record numbers of bankruptcies were filed and the number one factor in those bankruptcies was healthcare. We will return to a time when the cost of insurance for families with a disabled child was too high to afford. We will return to a time when 15-20 percent of the people who needed healthcare were forced into an ER, at a high cost and everyone with health insurance was forced to cover their bills.

Add to that the Republicans’ zeal for de-funding Planned Parenthood. Let me remind you, even if you are an anti-choice zealot, this will do nothing to stop even one abortion. Not one. On the other hand, millions of women and men will lose access to basic healthcare, including cancer screenings, pre- and post-natal care and treatments for many conditions. In fact, if you would bother to think about it even a little, there are likely to be more abortions because of this, not fewer, since many will lose their family planning services through Planned Parenthood and they won’t have access to such services through their insurance now. By the way, it was estimated that more than 47,000 people died every year because they didn’t have access to insurance and basic medical services. That will likely be higher, thanks to the Republican Party.

According to most estimates, as many as 24 million people will lose access to health insurance under these disgusting bills. That includes about 8-9 million people in red states. Millions of other people who have been denied access to insurance all along because their Republican governments have refused to take Medicaid money won’t fare any better under this new plan.

I’m going to end this simply. I don’t care what you call yourself. After all, actions speak louder than words. And if you can deign to support the current Republican Party and its policies, you are actually mean and cruel, especially to the people who can least afford your meanness and cruelty. And if call yourself Republican and a Christian, well, you can be one of the other. These days, you cannot be both.

Your friend,
Milt

I remember the early days of the HMO system. At first it seemed OK, simpler and more streamlined than the old Fee for Services model that we had been using, but – as you say – before long everything went to crap. I like to say that it treated us to the worst aspects of for profit medicine with none of the benefits of socialized medicine.

To reiterate, I am a staunch supporter of Universal Health Care paid for from the general revenue streams and I have been working within the Democratic Party Coalition – with Leftists and Blue Dogs and Moderates and Liberals – to make this big and difficult project go.

I am not sold on Single Payer, which is only one of a number of options for achieving Universal Health Care, although it does make for a snappy slogan.

While Bernie himself seems like an OK guy, I am not at all happy with the barkers in his retinue who are demanding SINGLE PAYER NOW! as the be all and end all of health care reform – and are threatening to blow up the entire coalition if they are not placated BALI! BALI!

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