Thursday, July 1, 2010

Republicans

Republicans in the Senate continue to filibuster against providing extended unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed who are unable to find jobs in this tough economy. They do this in spite of the almost unanimous opinions of economists that providing these benefits is one of the most stimulative things government can do for the economy. The reasoning is very simple: Unemployed people, for the most part, do not have money to pay their necessary bills, much less any money left over for discretionary spending. If they receive unemployment benefits, they spend that money almost as soon as they get it. Putting money back into the economy stimulates the economy and in the long term - and sometimes the short term - it creates more jobs. Having more jobs available means that more unemployed people can find work and have less need for unemployment benefits, thus reducing the need for government spending. It's a classic win-win policy.

As I say, the reasoning is simple, but unfortunately, Republicans just don't get it. In their world, even though unemployment nationwide stands at almost 10%, anyone who doesn't have a job is just "lazy and spoiled and doesn't want to work." And giving them unemployment benefits just spoils them further and makes them lazier. And so they continue to filibuster.

Republicans have empathy for BP but not for the environment that is being despoiled by BP's carelessness nor the "small people" whose way of life is likewise being destroyed. They are appalled that the President would engage in a "shakedown" to get BP to put money in an escrow fund to pay for the damage they have done, even though BP readily agreed to the fund. And so we have the spectacle of people like the oily (pun intended), execrable Joe Barton apologizing to BP while the oil continues to spew into the Gulf. But in fact, Barton only said out loud what Republicans in general seem to believe. Corporations are gods and they must not be restrained in any way.

Republicans, likewise, do not believe that the gazillionaires on Wall Street should be restrained in any way. They are part of the sacred "Free Market" at whose altar the sainted Ronald Reagan worshiped. All hail the unrestricted, unregulated financial system. Financial reform, backed by Democrats, is seen as the equivalent of "killing an ant with a nuclear weapon."

Republicans never met a war they didn't like, even an unnecessary one like Iraq, so you would think that they would at least be in favor of services and assistance for the veterans of their beloved wars, especially homeless veterans of those wars. This week, with July 4, our Independence Day, just around the corner, they blocked such assistance.

Republicans quite seriously want to do away with Social Security and Medicare. It's part of their manifesto as written by their rising star, Rep. Paul Ryan. Our country under unrestrained Republican rule would be nasty and brutish place with no social safety net and many of us would be short-lived as we had to barter with doctors to give us medical care in return for chickens or some other commodity.

Republicans believe that government should be "drowned in a bathtub." It has no role in our everyday lives. It certainly has no right to restrain a citizen from owning a veritable arsenal of guns. It has no right to tax its citizens or to require them to purchase insurance to take care of medical costs. It has no right to restrain Christians from expounding their brand of Christianity in or on government edificies.

Yes, Republicans believe the government has no right to restrain personal actions in any way. Unless, of course, you are a woman or a homosexual. If you are a female, the government has every right to tell you what to do with your body. If you become pregnant, even if it is the result of rape or incest, you must carry that pregnancy to term. If you are a 13-year-old child, sexually abused by a father, there is no exemption for you. And if you are a homosexual, well, you have none of the civil rights afforded to heterosexual people. Except, of course, if you want to own an arsenal of guns. Then the NRA and their Republican friends will fight to the death for your right to do so. Just don't try to get married.

I can actually remember when being a Republican was an honorable thing, when Republicans put the good of their country above that of their party or their personal enrichment. Those Republicans must be spinning in their graves. Today's Republicans are a disgrace to them, and, indeed, to the human race.

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