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Still Crazy After All These Years

November 22nd, 2013 · No Comments · ALEC, Budgets, Corporations and Industry, Economics, Fascism, Health Care, Labor, Lobbying, Media, Obstruction, Politics, Populism, Social Security, Wall Street

It has been 33 years since the ascendency of Conservative philosophy in the Republican Party and since the takeover of part of American government by the Right Wing. In that period of time, we have seen one disaster after another take place.

The Republican Party is in the extraordinary position of saying that government does not work for the people and then when asking voters to put them in office, going out of their way to not only prove that they can keep it from working but also do that very thing in the most expensive possible way. For example, they take government employees, like soldiers, who make so little that their families are on public assistance and replace them with private armies whose soldiers make $250,000 per year!

Why would you do that? Well, just take the Blackwater mercenaries who make those outrageous amounts of money…not that they are not worth it…some definitely are (but so are their counterparts making less than $50,000 per year in the Army.) Well, if you are Dick Cheney there are many benefits. As Vice President, you can order those same people here in the United States to go down to New Orleans to protect the investment of your oil company pals.

And you have the everlasting loyalty of these soliders, these mercenary soldiers, who are making a damned good living for sticking their necks out. But you also have the loyalty of men whose character is only fulfilled when they are carrying a gun. And now, like some mafia gang, they are loyal to you…to Dick Cheney. And he will say, smiling, that it is only the nature of government. And what happens when someone in a disaster ravaged area crosses the path or crosses the intentions of men with automatic weapons and body armor whose idea of fun is shooting at people and being shot at?

Let’s put it in perspective just once: Hitler had armed mobs to make his points with Jews. If these paramilitary forces are not armed mobs….what are they? Who are they protecting? You have a police force. You have the FBI and CIA. You have sheriffs, marshals, and security guards. Why do you need a roaming band of paramilitary inside this country armed like soldiers?

What have we seen in the last 33 years? We have seen deregulation, privatization, de-unionization, and free trade agreements where the only result was the loss of U.S. jobs. Yet, in the one most important area of our lives, health, the Right Wing Republican Tea Party suddenly does not want a free market. The underlying idea of the Affordable Care Act is simple. Put all insurance plans out there for the people to choose (“Free to Choose” Milton Friedman) in auctions called exchanges. Let one insurance company bid against another to offer this utility to customers. Before you say…this is what we do now…the answer is no, you don’t.

Over 80% of Americans get their health insurance from their employer. You don’t have any choice. Your employer makes the decision, offers you either one plan or a choice of usually no more than 3 plans, just scaled down versions of the top plan, and you normally pay anywhere from half to 80% of the premiums.

Same doctors, same hospitals, same syringes, instruments, gauze, stethoscopes…but each plan costs a different amount and those plans go up, on average, 10-15% per year. No cost controls. Nothing new, but fewer services each year for more money.

So for 80% of the American people…there really is no choice. Because the employer pays a part of the health care costs…subsidizes the workers…the health insurance companies have never tried to cut costs. They have no reason to do so. The big companies only need to lock up a certain number of very large corporations, those that do not self-insure, and they can cover their costs and make very high profits.

They do so by limiting services to those who are healthy, denying those who are not (and therefore need health care the most) and charging those in between extraordinarily high premiums. They have to do it, they say, because they are not in business as a charity. They are profit-making businesses beholden to their stockholders. And that, of course, is the problem.

Medicare and the Veteran’s Administration health care program are only beholden to the people. They are not beholden to stockholders or any other group. Their costs, and even those costs could be much lower than they are…are far, far lower than the private health insurance administrators.

Many years ago, the Heritage Institute, a Right Wing think tank, the same group that said Republicans should try to stifle the ability of the middle and lower class to vote, came up with a health care plan. It basically became Romney’s (approval of the Massachusett’s legislature’s) plan for health care in Massachusetts. That very successful plan became the Affordable Care Act. For the time being, it only applies to that 20% (unless people want to drop out of their subsidized employer program) who do not have employer insurance. But that is still tens of millions of citizens who need health care.

So that is how the Right Wing Republican Tea Party handles health care. They want to stay with a system that continues to increase prices (they must. They have never done anything in the 8 years of Reagan, the 4 years of Bush the First or in the 4 years of Bush the Dumber—16 years—never offered one idea about universal health care. They gave a $600 billion dollar gift to the drug companies. And they offered to let you save your own money up to about $5,000 which you would always need to have in the bank, and then offer you a health insurance plan no different from previous plans. That is called HSA or a Health Savings Account plan. Good if you are wealthy. Useless if you are like most people, not wealthy.

So what about banks and mortgages? What happened there? What happened over the 33 years of Conservative Right Wing Republican Tea Party ideas? We used to have Savings and Loans. They could only make loans to individuals for home purchases, and were otherwise simply savings banks. Reagan deregulated them because they were having problems competing with new savings offerings that banks had been allowed to offer.

The Savings and Loan deregulation resulted in Republican Right Wing Tea Party Conservatives stealing the savings of people blind. Because President Franklin Roosevelt had protected the people, they got their money back (if the Savings and Loan had federal protection…not all did) and the country spent half a billion dollars…which was a lot more in those days…to correct the situation. Not to mention that in those days people went to jail for mishandling a lot less looted cash than they did in 2008.

So we went along and while we were losing hundreds of billions a year, borrowing from ourselves to give to military contractors and to the top 2% of Americans who got huge, huge tax cuts…bankers and conservative economists from the Chicago School of Economics-as-a-Theoretical-Board-Game decided that if we gave more freedom to banks, it would help them build a stronger economy. (Just as cutting taxes for millionaires and billionaires from 70% to 28% would bring in More Revenue!) So Clinton, actually was persuaded to sign a bill by the Republican Right Wing Tea Party controlled Congress of 1998 to deregulate banks, to eliminate Glass-Steagall, the banking law that held them in check.

So now one of the things that banks could do was sell more speculative stocks, act as investment brokers, and keep much, much less of their money in cash than they had before. Sound banks felt that they needed at least 30% of what they were using for loans and deals to insure that they would not suffer losses that would shut them down. But many banks were now not only selling worthless-mortgage backed securities but they often had as little as 10% or 5% equity…far too little to keep them from failing.

So what happened? The Republican Right Wing Tea Party Secretary of the Treasury, Hank Paulson, persuaded Congress to bail out the banks, which George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Paulson and Christopher Cox (head of SEC but who hated and worked against regulation) had allowed and encouraged to go under. On top of a national debt, which by 2008 had not stopped growing (as it had under Clinton) but had grown from $5.6 trillion to $11 trillion, they added another $750 billion and left Obama with a first year deficit of $1.4 trillion. (So a total of $7.4 trillion in 8 years…although they never showed any annual budget deficit of even minus $300 billion. Why aren’t these guys in jail? Forget about being war criminals…they were possibly bigger criminals as embezzlers!)

So now we said that we will never let this happen again. And this new Tea Party came along and attacked the Federal Reserve as if the new Fed Chairman had anything to do with the 8 years of Alan Greenspan’s mess. Greenspan kept rates lower than they should have been but that wasn’t the problem…not that he’s not guilty of an idiotic Ayn Rand-inspired idea that there should be no interference whatsoever in the economy…but there was nowhere for money to go…with no industry left in the U.S…and so money went into construction. More homes pushed the mortgage industry to create more new kinds of mortgages and banks saw it as an opportunity to buy those mortgages…and with no regulation…to sell them instead of corporate stocks to make money….and the whole thing spiraled into speculation…bubble…and crash.

And then what happened? The Democrats came up with a new banking regulation bill to keep this from happening again. But what did the Congressional members of the Republican Right Wing Conservative Tea Party do? They put roadblock after roadblock into the Dodd-Frank bank legislation so that it became huge…then they complained about its being huge and cumbersome…and then they worked with the big banks to delay its implementation. So what the Right Wing Republican Conservative Tea Party did was to cry wolf…because they never intended to have banking reform (they are owned by the big banks) and complicate the bill enough to have hearing after hearing on the bill and never let it be implemented. Meanwhile, big banks and Wall Street are dangerously close to another crash while the media hides the fact that you may once again, lose the value of your home and your 401K and even possibly some of your savings (if you happen to have a retirement fund over $250,000.)

So what happened next was the triumph of the Rich Right Wing Conservative Tea Party propaganda over the will of the People. Here is what happened. Americans for Prosperity, FreedomWorks, the Club for Growth, the Cato Institute, the Heritage Institute, the Mercatus Center, the American Enterprise Institute, the Manhattan Institute, the Hoover Institute, the Hudson Institute and dozens on dozens of other Republican Right Wing Conservative Tea Party organizations, funded by billionaires and giant corporations spent billions on propaganda to sell the idea that the Tea Party was not Republican and was not working against the people. But that is not true. (If you don’t believe it, go to ALECEXPOSED.org and read the published, acknowledged list of U.S. global corporations who are writing legislation against you…including Coke and Kraft Foods in tandem with the National Rifle Association and the American Tobacco Institute and the American Petroleum Institute and all the natural gas fracking companies.)

And these groups funded people like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter, Michael Savage, Mark Levin, Michele Malkin, Dennis Miller, Michael Medved, Sarah Palin, and thousands of other radio commentators put on the air by radio consortia like Premiere syndication on thousands of Right Wing Radio stations like those owned by Citadel Radio, Cumulus radio, Clear Channel radio…all Right Wing owned and supported networks, each with hundreds of stations.

So, in a propaganda network led by the head of Fox News, formerly the head of the Republican Party, Roger Ailes, the day’s talking points go out to each and every Right Wing broadacaster. In a much more efficient use of the Big Lie than Goebbels ever envisioned, they attack every Middle Class value. While they attack a bogus “War on Christmas” they spend the following hour attacking health care reform, saying that it is going to cost more (A lie. Costs are going down.) and help fewer people. (A lie. It will add tens of millions to the lists of people with real health care insurance.)

While they foolishly waste attacking President Obama’s credentials to be President by lying about his birth certificate to rouse the hicks in the racist Confederate states, they are also attacking union jobs because the billionaire Right Wing supporters’ biggest costs come from paying people a living wage…so that must stop. And retirements of public workers must stop because the biggest factor in taxes for the Right Wing rich Republican benefactors is the wages and retirement costs of public workers.

This is why Governor Walker in Wisconsin and Governor Snyder in Ohio and former Governor Daniels in Indiana and now Governor Pence and other Republican governors are attacking unions. They want the power to reduce the salaries and pensions promised to public workers so that they can then drive down wages in those states with Right-To-Work laws. These laws remove all protections from workers, giving them the “opportunity” to get a job and the “opportunity” to work for whatever the market will bear, which means lower and lower wages, to the point where we are now one of the most income-unequal countries in the world…from one of the most advanced in the 1970s.

So, are the people who lost their homes in the Great Bush Crash of 2008 really just lazy? Was the ratio of jobs to applicants really 5 to 1, often as much as 25 to 1 or was that just a government hoax? Was the increase of 2 million people visiting food banks just a bunch of lazy loafers? Are the estimated 100,000 people living in tent cities around the country just ignorant, lazy fools? Are people who want Social Security that they have paid into for sometimes 45 years just lazy loafers? Are people who want to be able to afford to visit a doctor once or twice a year or when they are sick….just asking for handouts? Have we all suddenly become bums? That is what you would believe if you listen to any of the Republican Right Wing Conservative Tea Party commentators on the radio or on Fox News.

Are taxes too high on billionaires? Are banks and corporations too regulated to make the obscene profits that some Liberals claim? (After simply reading the numbers on corporate profits from the stock market reports.) Are 32,000 Lobbyists in Washington too few? How many lobbyists do you have personally in Washington looking out for your interests?

Ted Cruz is testing the limits of sanity in this country. He and others like him are saying patently foolish things, making outrageous claims and reading “Sam I Am” in the well of the U.S. Senate, as if to say…how much stupidity can you handle? The Republican Right Wing Conservative Tea Party wants to see how far Michele Bachman or Steve King or Louie Gohmert can go into totally insane, logic-confounding speech before the American people, as represented by the voters in their districts, will throw them out.

Until we do throw out all these crazy, anti-middle class, anti-worker Neo-Fascists they will continue to gather their thirty pieces of silver from the rich and continue to obstruct government for the People.

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