Friday, March 30, 2012

Road To Dystopia With The GOP

Joan McCarter at Daily Kos wrote two pieces yesterday, one on the actions of the Republicans in the House and one on what they did in the Senate, that come pretty close to telling us all we need to know about what the GOP stands for.

First, the House Republicans passed Paul Ryan's budget resolution, the so-called "Path to Prosperity," which as McCarter explains, would among other things end Medicare as we know it:
The House Republicans made their ultimate dystopian statement today, in passing Rep. Paul Ryan's budget in a 228-191 vote. Ten Republicans voted against it, no Democrats voted for it and 13 members did not vote.

House Speaker John Boehner called this plan "a real vision of what we were to do if we get more control here in this town. It's still a Democrat-run town."

Just a few reminders about the Ryan budget, and what the House Republicans put down as their political marker for 2012, their vision for a Republican-ruled America: It would give the wealthy a humongous tax break, the lowest tax rate since the Hoover administration; it would gut nutritional assistance, cutting it by 17 percent over the next decade; it would cut Medicare benefits and begin the process of killing the program; it would kill millions of jobs; it turns Medicaid into a block grant and deeply cuts federal spending for it, and for SCHIP, the children's health program; and it breaks the already agreed upon Budget Control Act of 2011, threatening, once again, a government shutdown.

This is also the budget endorsed by Mitt Romney. Today the Republicans made their most definitive statement for the America they envision. This is their platform for 2012, from the top down.
Not to outdone, the Senate Republicans filibustered a bill to repeal subsidies and tax breaks to Big Oil that had majority support.

 Another day in the Senate, another filibuster by Republicans on behalf of corporate America. The Senate voted on advancing a bill to repeal subsidies and tax breaks to Big Oil, and while the majority supported the bill, the filibuster held in the final 51-47 vote (Republicans Mark Kirk and Orrin Hatch were not present to vote).

Maine Republicans Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins voted with Democrats, while Democrats Mark Begich (AK), Mary Landrieu (LA), Jim Webb (VA) and Ben Nelson (NE) switched sides. Landrieu and Begich, being from oil producing states, were needlessly voting for self protection, since there wasn't a chance the filibuster could be broken. Webb and Nelson, both retiring, are completely inexcusable.
But this is the status quo that the Republicans voted to protect:
Just this past January the typical household paid about $290.76 for gasoline, up by $25 over the same one-month time span in January 2011. It looks like households will face a similar increase in gasoline expenditures in February with gas prices on the rise even though demand is the lowest it’s been since 1997. This especially affects the 82 million households that spend 6 percent or more of their annual household budgets on gasoline. High oil and gasoline prices in 2011 enabled the big five companies to rake in $137 billion in profits last year. These enormous earnings contributed to the $1 trillion in profits they earned from 2001 through 2011. Despite a profit figure with 12 zeroes—count them: $1,000,000,000,000—these oil giants are major players in the lobbying efforts to retain $4 billion in annual tax breaks for oil and gas companies that they clearly do not need. In the scheme of all things Big Oil, these tax breaks are small, particularly in relation to their profits and in light of the fact that in 2011 these companies also had a combined $58 billion in cash reserves, nearly 30 times more than they received in special tax breaks.
The American taxpayer is subsidizing those billions Big Oil is raking in, while we pay more and more at the pump every week. At least we know now, definitively, which side the Republicans are on.


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