Wednesday, April 1, 2009

This Just In: Our Political Opponents Are Insane

Perhaps it's just April Fools, but the Republicans have finally unveiled their budgetish-type document (now with numbers!), and it's so cartoonishly insane that liberal satire newspapers would reject the submission as too ludicrous to be plausible. What's in it?
  1. Freeze All Non-Military Discretionary Spending for Five Years - thus, in the middle of a recession which has seen dramatic declines in purchasing power, the GOP proposes to throw the breaks on for 22% of the entire economy. This is Hooverism gone mad, Treasury thinking at a bone-deep level. Besides the basic economic insanity, it's political suicide. Let's see: Department of Transportation (let's see, you've now pissed off contractors, materials manufacturers, and every Congressman in the country who wants re-election, Department of Education (now you've pissed off parents, teachers, children's advocaes, "reformers,"), Department of Health and Human Services (now you've pissed off hospitals, doctors, nurses, and sick people), Department of Agriculture (now you've pissed off farmers and agro-business), and the list keeps going. Given that not even Reagan at the height of his influence was able to even slow spending increases, this is like proposing to replace the U.S dollar with candyfloss.
  2. Ending All Stimulus - "the budget captures savings by repealing “stimulus” funding beyond the current year, excluding unemployment insurance; and these savings go toward reducing the deficit." So not only are we going to be halting any further efforts to stimulate the economy, but we're going to reverse the stimulus package Congress just passed.
  3. Privatize Medicare - everyone 54 or younger? Guess what, you don't get Medicare anymore. Instead, you get yourself a "premium support payment," i.e a nice voucher that's also means-tested and capped at current levels. That should help a lot when the cost of health care increases at 7% and you're trying to buy individual health care plans instead of being covered under a group plan that spreads costs across all Americans 65+.
  4. Block-Grant Medicaid - you know how huge numbers of people are losing their jobs and their health insurance, and how the Medicaid rolls are swelling as people try to get some sort of coverage? Guess what? The Republicans have decided to replace Medicaid's per-patient grant-in-aid with "an allotment tailored for each State’s low-income population, indexed for inflation and population growth." So if a recession hits, and all of the sudden the number of people in poverty dramatically increases faster than inflation and population? Tough luck, apparently Republicans believe in "individual Americans." Don't you feel better?
  5. Huge Tax Cuts for the Rich, Corporations -Let's see now - all of the Bush tax cuts kept, naturally, a 28.% cut in the highest income tax bracket, a 28.5% cut in the corporate income tax bracket, elimination of the estate tax, and eliminating capital gains taxes for two years. All of this, by the way, won't apparently cut revenue at all, because tax revenues will magically increase by a trillion dollars a year by 2014!
So to sum up: Republicans want to freeze all spending and privatize your Medicare so that they can give CEOs, corporations, and other millionaires a whopping great tax cut.

I'm actually wondering if this is some kind of cry for help. Given that this goes even further than the already lunatic proposals that McCain put forward that were decisively repudiated in 2008, you really have to wonder whether a part of the Republican subconscious is attempting to go out in a burst of wingnut glory, a sort of death-by-electorate.

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