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Profiles in Obstruction # 1: Senator James DeMint

January 5th, 2010 · No Comments · Health Care, jobs, Politics, wars and militarism

It is too easy to simply make fun of or ridicule James DeMint. And of course many would say: who are any of us mere mortals to criticize men or women who have become Senators? These are supposedly successful people in their own right, business people or former Congress persons who have demonstrated to their voters that they are superior to others and should be entrusted with the legislation that affects all our lives.

Well, as a reply to those kinds of theories, just think of this. Rush Limbaugh is a man who calls feminists, “Femi-Nazis” and who repeatedly played a song during the 2008 campaign entitled “Barack the Magic Negro” and who has lied so often that it prompted at least two books to simply correct the lies about issues that he regularly discussed on his program. He has, supposedly, 15 million listeners a day. Even if it is only five million, that is more than voted for Jim DeMint. So, don’t tell me that the American people don’t make huge mistakes about popular figures. DeMint and Limbaugh are two peas in a pod. Limbaugh merely says what he thinks publicly because the idiots who listen to him are the kinds of people who like crude, disingenuous rants against anyone with a brain.

Here’s the kind of guy Jim DeMint is. He wants to take social security…not current recipients but somewhere down the line…younger people…and give them personal (i.e. private) retirement accounts. These can only be 401K type accounts. In other words, as we have seen recently in the market, the kind where you win some and you lose some. The arch-conservative Club for Growth, whose former head is now the editorial page editor of Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal, is the leading advocate for privatizing Social Security. That is the Club for Growth’s big issue. The Club for Growth is Jim DeMint’s top individual political campaign supporter.

Now, unlike DeMint’s proposal, there is nothing…nothing…to say that government could not make investments for citizens in some kind of enhancement of Social Security, leaving the main plan, which is an insurance plan, in place. That would mean that, instead of $2000 per month at age 67 you might get $2,500. We could also continue tax-deferred or tax-exempt savings and investment programs for retirement as we have now. DeMint and Wall Street simply want to dismantle Social Security and give your money to investment firms to invest in your “personal” account. It’s a shell game.

No, DeMint has a better idea than adding to your Social Security…let’s give your money to Wall Street and let them invest it. Either way, win or lose, the investment companies, like Chuck Schwab and Goldman, Sachs, make…literally…billions. That is why they pushed it so hard. Just like the current financial collapse, they make billions even if the market collapses, just as long as there is a Republican Secretary of the Treasury, the former chief of Goldman, Sachs, to blackmail Congress unless they bail out the industry.

Now, in health care, DeMint wants to go back to the good old days. He wants to keep everything in place that we have right now, except you. You aren’t part of the consideration. You would have a health savings account that is tax free. That cuts government costs. He may even start you off with a few thousand back from your taxes. Then you would have a very high deductible, say $10,000, private health insurance account. Again, no cost to Uncle Sam, but you…well, who cares about you? This is about costs to government. But your catastrophic insurance policy would be a good deal for the insurance industry.

Because…who is going to guarantee that the insurance companies would come through on that policy? Who is going to insure that they do not drop you if you get seriously ill or even price the catastrophic policy out of reach for people who could cost them a lot of money? Not Jim DeMint.

How do we know that? He has voted every single time against any kind of health care reform that makes the insurance companies do anything. He even voted against Republican plans to enhance health care. He seems to think he is back in the 1950s, where doctors still made house calls. In our current system, you won’t even find a doctor at a local “Doc in the Box” clinic most of the time.

Then there’s religion. Jim DeMint makes no bones about it. He wants to identify our government with the Christian religion. It’s not a big deal to most of us. We were raised some kind of crazy Christian religion or another or Catholic, which is even worse. So, even though science has proved that we have a moral compass inside each of us, which—if society were to be normalized, so that kids were taken care of, divorce rates would go down and people could live stable lives and kids grow up normally—it would mean that most of us would have the same morals that all the heavy lifting of Christianity is supposed to have given us. Still, we’re used to it, so we don’t mind.

But that’s not the point. Yes, we need to be rational, and not dump the Child in the Manger out with the Christmas lights, but on the other hand, we don’t need the Ten Commandments staring us in the face every time we climb the state Capitol steps. It is bad enough that we still have Southerners promoting slavery with big Confederate flags on the tops of their Capitols. We don’t need more of Jimmie Swaggart or the guy who chased down homosexuals only to be found having sex with a homosexual prostitute himself. We need rationality and common sense, something Southerners, other than their strange religious beliefs, have in super-abundance.

So what does DeMint want to do about abortion? Instead of saying that we must reduce the number of abortions to the absolute minimum, he says that all abortions should be disallowed, even if a woman would die in the process or if a father rapes a daughter or a robber decides to rape a woman or a girl in her home. You can believe what you want about when life starts. But when you say that a fetus without a brain or a nervous system or lungs–just a mass of cells that looks a little bit like a child–is an “unborn child” and has more value than the life of a woman who may be the mother of two or three children who need her…sorry, but you’re nuts, Senator DeMint.

Ok, so how about financial management of our government. This is Mr. Conservative’s big issue. Cut back government. (While voting for more spending than any time in our history.) Senator DeMint wants to do away with income taxes. A couple of times he has, in fact, voted for things that would reduce government spending somewhat. In general, however, he has gone along with every big spending measure of the Neoconservatives, including the wars and the budget increases…everything except the prescription drug bill, the Part D. It did give some small respite to seniors. There were numerous other ways that he could have eased the pressure on drug prices, or health care costs for seniors, but he didn’t. He got over $612,000 in campaign contributions from the health care industry.

The thing is that Jim DeMint is what’s wrong with this country. Shall we be kind, as he is not in his public statements about his opponents (even though they are right and he is wrong) and say that he dissembles. He votes for big government on a regular basis, condones “sinful” behavior by his Republican colleagues and yet campaigns against it for others. He claims to be trying to help the citizens of South Carolina, but in a poor state he votes against helping them get adequate health care. He votes to send South Carolina jobs overseas and supports a guy like Mit Romney for President.

As an example of DeMint’s admiration for Romney, Mit Romney has made as much as $60 million on a company that he “consulted” with by sending jobs overseas. Then, after laying off 200-300 workers he would take the company into bankruptcy. This he did not once, but repeatedly, earning himself a reputation, somehow as a brilliant financial mind as well as several hundred million dollars.

DeMint’s guy Romney portrays himself as a relief pitcher coming in to save the game, so he asks for understanding when the company fails and jobs are lost. But the fact is that in many cases he actually raised money for companies in the tens of millions, bought other companies with that money, put them under the corporate umbrella of the first company and took tens of millions in fees and in stock. Then he let the company decline and both jobs and capital were lost. But Romney got his paydays, in the millions.

This is the guy whom Jim DeMint thinks would be a good guy to run the country. Borrow more money; send more jobs overseas, cut government spending by simply farming out the government work to contractors who would do less for less money. Cut taxes to bankrupt the country and then walk away, just like George W. Bush, leaving us holding the bag.

Romney and DeMint, a great combination of politicians who want to help you into a deeper Recession with fewer jobs and less hope. DeMint is what is wrong with the obstructionist Republicans. He doesn’t function for the people, only corporations. No health care. No Social Security. No unions. No American jobs. Only military contractors and wars and sales taxes on everyone. But of course he doesn’t mention that his little sales tax idea alone would not be enough to cover government for the first month of operation let alone over ten years of a DeMint-envisioned society.

Here’s what DeMint and his pals at the Club for Growth think is the alternative. They see everyone who does not agree with their ridiculous philosophy as a “tax-hiking, government-expanding, latte-drinking, sushi-eating, Volvo-driving, New York Times-reading, body-piercing, Hollywood-loving, left-wing freak show.”

The only part of that comment that has any remote resemblance to reality is the idea that Democrats may be “tax-hiking.” And only for two reasons. First, because, in order to give us the longest sustained period of prosperity…and these are the facts…in our country’s history, Bill Clinton raised taxes 1% on the top 1% of Americans. That’s a fact. And second, because we will have to raise taxes again.

Since Reagan, despite some cuts in government spending by Bill Clinton, by the first George Bush and by both Democratic and former, not recent, Republican congresses, we have added $10 trillion dollars to our debt. We can’t keep doing it forever. We have a $100-dollar country living on a $50-dollar income. Our net revenues, the money that the government actually takes in every year, is the lowest of any country in the world by far. And it shows.

DeMint and his Club for Growth and all the other Neoconservatives are trying to kill green energy jobs, millions of them, and trying to keep America from becoming the renewable energy leader in the world and trying to keep the health care industry making a fortune. They want to leave the health insurance industry in a position to say whether each of us lives or dies according to how much we are willing to mortgage of our lives.

But they are wrong, terribly wrong and as long as they are in office, even in the minority, all Americans will suffer.

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