20 December 2017

It is no longer possible to be a conscientious Republican

​If you needed any further proof that the Republicans in Congress have been entirely hijacked by craven allegiance to economic special interests, and that the same is simply not true, overall, of Democrats, consider the vote on the Tax Bill.

 First, I hold it to be a fact that the only people defending this bill are those who have a political interest in its provisions. Objectively, even initially, 83% of its tax cut benefits (at the cost of huge ballooning of the national debt, which Republicans used to oppose on principle), GOES TO THE VERY TOP in terms of income. It favors non-wage income of the wealthy over the wages of ordinary people, doubly so when you consider that much of the tax burden of ordinary working people are regressive taxes such as sales tax and payroll taxes, that hit working people disproportionately harder than the very wealthy. It's even accurate, factually, not as an opinion, that this soon to be law, benefits the very, very rich, and not just the ordinarily rich. There is no way this is, objectively, good public policy. The Republican leadership even essentially admits that its draconian cuts to revenue will make it easier for them to cut social programs, including Social Security and Medicare, that AREN'T EVEN PAID FOR OUT OF INCOME TAX REVENUES. Cutting those programs because of shortfalls in income tax revenue is just theft, pure and simple, from the funds people have paid in payroll taxes on the promise that those programs will be there. Not to mention that the kinds of investments other countries, such as China and Germany, routinely make in their future: research, education, infrastructure— will be severely impacted by this terrible law. It is not at all hyperbole, in other words, to refer to this Republican scheme as a HEIST.

 OK, then, look at the vote:

 Republicans 51 Yes, 1 too sick to be there

Democrats: 48 No

 We didn't used to have such lopsided votes on major policy measures. But our politics is now ENTIRELY POLARIZED. Democrats have been FORCED to side with the interests of the people at large, because there is nowhere else to go. And Republicans now represent their donors, and to some extent their own interests (several super rich senators directly benefit from tax provisions inserted in the dead of night into the HEIST bill).

 Then there is the whole issue of unprecedented disregard for process, and continued promotion of what can only be called subversion of democracy, through suppression of voting, gerrymandering, and foreign-backed meddling in the election. These non-democratic acts are not laid at the door of Democrats, but almost entirely Republicans. And the complete subversion of the executive branch is so manifest that you have to be deluded not to see it. And, unfortunately, millions of Americans ARE deluded in just the way Trump and his oligarchic backers have worked assiduously, through propaganda arms such as TrumpTV (Fox News), to ensure.

 It is no longer the case that we have two parties, more or less representing the interests of significant sectors of society. We now have a party that represents oligarchs, the super rich, only, and which will use whatever means necessary to gain and retain power. The other party is still trying to figure out how to deal with this crisis, but it is, finally, coalescing around a broad program of social reform and restoration of small-r republican government in America.

 Days of reckoning will be coming, soon. We, as a nation, will have to pull together and destroy the forces of anti-democracy. And that means defeating as many Republicans as possible, at all levels of government, and especially state legislatures, governors, Congress, the Senate, and the presidency.

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