I finally sat down and watched the Republican and “Tea Party” response to the State of The Union and I was really hoping for something new, especially since they were supposedly put into office because of a “mandate”. But unfortunately all I heard was the same old, same old.
I was expecting a lot of substance in the response from the Republican Party, but I can sum it up in two words, “Cut it”. There was no real policy, no “thinking out of the box” to solve our problems. Everyone knew that going into the State of The Union that our deficit was one of the most important problems we are facing. While I agree that we need to cut spending, we also need to keep certain programs such as Social Security and Unemployment Insurance as priorities in order to sustain and grow our economy.
If you ask just about any economist, they will tell you that cuts in unemployment insurance will do more damage to our economy than will the massive spending cuts that are being proposed. It has been shown that for every dollar spent on UI, there is an economic effect of nearly double that in local spending. The money is very rarely saved and is used primarily in the local economy, helping to keep local businesses open and local people employed. When that money stops, there is a ripple effect that hurts a lot of businesses and people. For some, UI is their only source of income, the only money keeping a roof over their head and food in their belly.
One of the telling statements that Rep. Ryan mentioned was that..
If we act soon, and if we act responsibly, people in and near retirement will be protected.
– Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), Republican Response to the State of the Union 2011
What that says to me is that their plan for Social Security is to privatize it and allow Wall Street maintain this important safety net for our seniors. Do you realize that if this happened several years ago as the GOP wanted to do that there would of been a horrendous loss of value in the Social Security program when the stocks crashed? Do you really want to see millions of seniors lose their only source of income, or for some an important part of it? Social Security, since its inception in 1935, has not missed a payment to millions of seniors. According to Wikipedia, it’s responsible for keeping roughly 40% of all Americans aged 65 or older out of poverty.
We cannot allow this important program to become another carcass in the Republican butchering of America. To even think about this shows how little the GOP thinks about seniors.
When Rep. Ryan mentioned that the stimulus program was a failure (which by all accounts was really a huge success by keeping businesses and the auto industry going), I knew that there would be nothing of substance in this rebuttal. It was nothing but rehashing the lies and half-truths of the past couple years concerning the stimulus, health care, Social Security, and “limited government”.
Turning to the “Tea Party” response given by Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MI) – which was “authorized” by Sal Russo’s Tea Party Express and Tea Party HD – claimed that it wasn’t competing with the offical Republican response, yet it sounded like it with the repeat of lies we’ve heard for several years.
To start with, there was no mention of Rep. Giffords and the Tuscon incident. There were no kind words for a missed colleague or a hope for her recovery. Rep. Bachmann went right out of the gate attacking the President.
While I will agree with her statements about the ballooning deficit and unemployment numbers, the statement she made about the 16,000 new IRS agents that will be needed for the Affordable Health Care Act has been proven to be a complete fabrication. The part that the IRS plays in the Affordable Health Care Act is to hand out job credits to small businesses that will pay up to 35% of the health care costs for their employees.
Then she moves to the same old attack that unless we completely repeal “Obamacare” (though I will agree that medical malpractice reform is something that does need to happen, and it’s a way to cut medical costs) the entire country will fall apart, deficits will soar, and we’ll stop being the greatest nation on earth. It’s the same old fear-mongering we’ve heard for the past few years for anything that the President wants to accomplish, even if the Republicans thought of it first. For example, you do realize that the basis for the Affordable Health Care Act was the health care reforms put in place by Former Govenor Mitt Romney (R-MA), right? Same thing with Cap and Trade. It was promoted by Sen. McCain during the ’08 Presidental Elections, then he abandoned it once President obama said he was interested in it.
Every single time any idea is promoted by President Obama or the Democrats, the GOP goes into lockstep “I’m against it” mode even if the idea is the best thing for the situation at hand. That right there sums up the past two years of Congress. When the President or the Democrats come up with ways to move this country forward, the GOP does everything in their power to stall it, hamstring it, or outright stop it.
Another point that Rep. Bachmann brought up as a way to help businesses was the removal of the over 130 regulations put into place during this administration. What she forgot to mention was that the President recently ordered a top to bottom review of all regulatory functions to see what works and what doesn’t. You remember the salmon regulations mentioned during his speech? How that there is one regulatory body for when they’re salt water and the other fresh water…and don’t even start talking about when they’re smoked. There are good regulations that help protect businesses and people, and ones that do nothing more than complicate. I agree with Rep. Bachmann that we need to cut back on the over regulation, but we can ill afford to go back to the days of the Reagan and Bush, Sr. administrations that removed a lot of the consumer protections we had in place.
To close, I really wanted to hear some new ideas from either the GOP or the “Tea Party”, but in the end all I heard was the same old lines they’ve been parroting for the past two years. Nothing but the same fear-mongering and faulty ideas that will hurt the country, not help it. All the talk of lower taxes and limited government and nothing of substance about job creation or the economy. If this is a preview of what the next two years in Washington will be, then I have little hope that things will get any better.
Now that I’ve said my thoughts, what are yours? Do you think things will get better or will it be two more years of the same old, same old?
Today, the Republicans in the House started their debates about the “job-destroying” health care bill. Since the town hall debates last year, the Republicans have done everything in their power to block and fear-monger the Affordable Health Care Act into submission. Since the President made this bill one of his priorities it’s not surprising that the Republicans tried to stop this bill from getting signed.
However, and I honestly looked for this so if I missed anything please email me or leave a comment, the Republicans have offered nothing even remotely better…nothing…nada.
As for the so called “job-destroying” part, a recently released report from the Congressional Budget Office states that the figures used by the GOP to claim that the bill is “job-destroying” is not all that accurate. It seems that the GOP is toying around with the statistics to make it look like a huge job loss, when in fact it will save some jobs and even grow jobs in the health care industry. To me, that really doesn’t sound like “job-destroying”…
A recent report by the Department of Health and Human Services has stated that anywhere between 50 and 129 million people have preexisting conditions and would either lose their health insurance or would be unable to get health insurance. Even at the low end, that is one-fifth of the entire population of non-elderly Americans who would not be able to take care of their basic health needs. Just by keeping the Act as law, one out of every five Americans under the age of 65 who would not be able to get any health care insurance because of such conditions as diabetes, high blood pressure, or even pregnancy can get coverage and stay on their medications.
Another aspect of the Affordable Health Care Act is that children under the age of 26 can be kept on their parents health care plans, even if the child is no longer living at home as long as they do not get health insurance from their employer. This can be a huge relief to parents who send their children off to college out-of-state. They can rest easier knowing that if they need to see a doctor, its just a simple visit (and co-pay) away. Another benefit is that the insurance companies cannot jack up costs or limit coverage.
There are other good portions of the Affordable Health Care Act such as helping seniors in the Medicare “donut hole” with their prescriptions, helping small businesses with tax breaks to cover their employees, and in the future the health care exchanges that will cover millions and lower costs across the board.
Now, the Republicans have stated that “ObamaCare” is nothing more than a tax on the wealthy who can afford the “Cadillac Health Care Plans”, and even with that tax the Act is not revenue neutral and will end up costing the taxpayers billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of jobs (being a “job-destroying” health care bill). There are also statements that abortions will be funded under ObamaCare, which has upset those who are pro-life. They are also saying that the requirement that every American much purchase health care is unconstitutional.
I will be the first one to stand up and say that the Affordable Health Care Act is far from perfect. I know without a doubt that there are a lot of things that can be done to make it better, but there is a lot of good in the bill and repealing it will hurt far more than keeping it as law. How about instead of repealing the bill, that both sides sit down and try to make it better. I know that there are good people with good ideas on both sides of the aisle, so how about they work together on making this bill better and stop the partisan politics. Since the shootings in Tuscan there have been positive steps in getting rid of the partisan divide. I present to both side a change to move those positive steps forward and help millions of Americans as well.
What do you think. Do you see the Affordable Health Care Act as a positive first step in making health care available for everyone, or do you see “ObamaCare” as nothing more than a liberal take over of our country. Tell me what you think…