Yesterday New York held its primary. As expected, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump won. I guess the size of their victories was a little surprising. The fact the Ted Cruz was totally shut out was not that big of a surprise considering his “New York Values” comment.
But, we must not lose sight of the bigger picture. This election is not just about the presidential race. It is also about Congressional races in both the House and the Senate. Those races will have a huge impact on the future of this country.
So, let us look at a few of the things we see happening in a “Republican Controlled” Congress. And, I warn you, it isn’t pretty!
A little background. Paul Ryan, the supposed savior of the Republican Party and current Speaker of the House, has done nothing except complain about the IRS. The other day, Ryan went after his favorite target. He said, while talking about possible tax reform legislation that the IRS is “not doing its job” and stressed the need for a tax system and an Internal Revenue Service that “works for the taxpayer.”
I am not sure exactly what that means. I do know that since 2010, Paul Ryan and his Republican colleagues have slashed funding for the IRS. At the same time, the IRS was tasked with more enforcement tasks like making sure the ACA tax laws are followed and the flood of those great new organizations flooding our election process. Can you expect that the performance of an agency will decline if it is not properly funded? Answer: Yes!
We already also know that the Republican Controlled House has been the least effective House in history. Still, there are a few things to look at to show what a future of Republican control will really mean to us.
Puerto Rico – This territory of the U.S. is facing possible default and total economic collapse. The House has been working on a bill that would help the commonwealth out of its dilemma. However, it couldn’t make it out of a committee to the House floor because conservatives openly opposed tax payer dollars going to bail out Puerto Rico. But, that wasn’t the only reason. They decided that the minimum wage on the island should be reduced! According to these compassionate “Christians” the minimum wage is to blame for wrecking the Puerto Rican economy. Those minimum wage maids at hotels cleaning up after gringo tourists is killing the economy there. How legitimate a critique that is likely depends on your ideological leanings, but why low-wage workers on the island should be more impoverished in an already weak economy is a question I’ll leave to you compassionate “Christians” to answer coherently.
though I doubt you can.
Zika virus – Remember the “scare” about the Ebola Virus? The panic that caused wonderful Governors like Chris Christy decide that anyone who worked in the areas of Africa with the virus active should be quarantined when they returned home? Even if they show any signs of the virus. Now there is another virus that is somewhat scary in its own accord. Officials in Puerto Rico are worried that the debt crisis will hurt any efforts to fight a Zika outbreak there. The island’s heavy mosquito population makes an eruption there likely, and cases of the virus are popping up in the United States as well. Remembering the scare over a couple of cases of Ebola reaching the mainland, one would think Congress would want to get ahead of this potential health crisis before its constituents start freaking out.
Nope! The Republican Congress turned down a request from the Obama administration for $1.8 billion – a pittance in budgetary terms – for reasons that seemed to boil down to “We already gave you money for fighting other diseases, how many could there be in the world?” This has forced the Obama administration to pull funds from other anti-disease programs and dedicate them to anti-Zika efforts. So like the IRS, public health administrators working to prevent flare-ups of malaria and tuberculosis are going to have to do more with less. And the anti-Zika effort will still be underfunded, which is going to make for some very awkward traditional baby-kissing by politicians running for re-election in the future if those babies are victims of microcephaly.
FAA funding – Are you planning on a vacation this summer? Are you planning to fly to your destination? Well, you may want to rethink your plans. Especially if you like the idea of flying and not having your plane fall from the sky. You may be happy to know that the Senate is at least taking funding of the Federal Aviation Administration seriously. But, if you think the House is, you are misguided. Its funding bill for the FAA is stuck in committee due to the Republicans’ desire to shift 38,000 FAA employees, including 14,000 air-traffic controllers, into a “federally-chartered, independent, nonprofit corporation” – in short, to privatize part of the agency and remove it from federal oversight. But it would still essentially be a monopoly, which sort of negates the usual conservative lines about “competition” and “free markets.”
Why is this so necessary? Who knows? But consider the fact that if the House cannot pass its own bill it won’t have any chance to reconcile it with the Senate’s funding for the FAA. By the way, funding for the FAA runs out July 15. As I am sure you can imagine, pressure rom the airline lobbyists and angry constituents afraid of having to cancel their vacations will force another short-term measure to keep the FAA going. Something Republicans claim they hate doing.
These three “little” items are nothing to sneeze at. They show exactly what Republicans today consider as “governing”. Simply doing nothing. To today’s Republicans, ideology is more important than facing real problems in a real world.
As usual, they put blame on the working class in our country when the economy goes bad. They blame government agencies for “not doing their job” all the while slashing funding, or in the case of the FAA letting funding expire.
You can also bet that if the Zika virus does make a showing in the U.S. they will blame the health organization for not doing something about it before it hit, even though they won’t give that agency any money to do anything.
I wrote once before that I consider this Republican Party akin to the Know Nothing Party of the 1800s. They simply keep their heads buried in the sand, claim to know nothing, and then do exactly the same thing. Nothing!
If they keep control of both Houses and win the White House, things will get even worse. Nothing will be done to improve our climate. Nothing will be done to improve our education system. Nothing will be done to create jobs. Nothing will be done to stave off illnesses. Nothing will be done to improve our lives. Nothing will be done to improve our infrastructure.
What we will probably see is minimum wages being cut. We will probably see the EPA shut down. We will probably see the IRS shut down. We will probably see the FAA shut down. We will probably see Social Security and Medicare privatized. We will probably see more voter restriction laws. We will probably see more hate laws.
In addition, we will probably see immigration refused to any Muslim. We will probably see massive deportations. We will probably see another war, most likely in Iran and/or Korea. We will probably see more “spying” on U.S. citizens by the NSA in the name of security.
We will probably see those things because that is all today’s Republican party see as “important”. Gerrymandering is going to make it extremely difficult to remove Republicans from control of both Houses of Congress. But, we must try to see that happens.
Republicans have shown their inability to “govern” in the last six years. Do you really think they will suddenly find out how to govern next year? We will merely be flooded with meaningless bills that restrict our freedoms, limit our ability to “pursue happiness” and eliminate our rights. In other words, we will see a horrible attack on the Constitution which Republicans claim to love.
As my religious friends would say “God Help Us”!