Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The New, "New GOP"

You have to hand it to the House GOP, they have ideas. The House Republican Study Committee is thrashing around looking for ways to undo the damage they've done to their Party and calling their stuff new. The NYT details some of their thinking and the causes.
“Clearly, we have been sobered by three special election losses in a row,” said Representative Jeb Hensarling of Texas, chairman of the group of more than 100 Republican lawmakers. “We are sobered by the massive cash advantage that Democrats have to get their message out.”
It is obvious to many that the Republicans face serious problems in this election and potentially elections past that. Their reactions tell a lot about just how much they do not get it. Here are what they propose as solutions:

present a seven-point proposal calling for a constitutional limit on federal spending, a new simplified income tax alternative and a proposal to require recipients of food stamps or housing aid to meet work requirements.
If you're still standing and have recovered from your laughter, let's actually take a look at this.

A Constitutional limit on Federal spending sets the bar for enactment pretty high. The Republicans need to persuade the Congress to send this out to the fifty states for ratification and persuade the people of those states it is required. This would seem by any measure an odd group to sell themselves as responsible parties to present this. It would seem that this is the bunch who passed tax reductions and are the biggest boosters of the budget busting Iraq War. What I wonder is what level of stupidity on the part of voters it would take to buy into the GOP as the savior on this issue and why the GOP assumes the voters are that stupid? I read this and my brain screamed to a halt trying to figure out what alternate reality I'd stumbled into. It seems a tough sale to paint the Democrats as reckless spenders at this point.

A simplified federal income tax system from the Republicans conjures up pictures of the plutocrats managing to pay less taxes and shift more load onto the rest of America. A simplified tax system would mean that their core constituency would either pay more taxes or be seen obviously to be the beneficiaries. One of the virtues of the current complex system for Republicans is that it is good for hiding tax breaks. Loopholes are there to favor pieces of the country's citizens without drawing general attention. Most Americans have a general sort of awareness that they get screwed in the tax game and general system but that isn't quantified by actual knowledge. A tax system that does not require volumes of books would make very clear the tilt of the economic system - either the Republicans are lying or they're suddenly suicidal.

As the economy wobbles on the edge of a recession with the poorest job growth in decades and negative wage growth throughout the Republican administration the Republicans propose to place work requirements on poverty aid. These are the people who have reinvented the concept of welfare for wealth and the socialization of capitalist risks. They will stand there in front of the public and bring to the fore once again the image of Cadillac driving welfare queens. As the architects of policies that have increased poverty in the United States they actually believe they can get votes by kicking the poor around some more? They would like you to believe that food stamps and housing assistance are the big budget problems of this nation.

This is today's GOP, the Party of big ideas.

The conservative proposal seeks tax credits for buying health insurance, more domestic energy production and a streamlined terrorist surveillance program. The draft also said that House Republicans should extend existing welfare work requirements to food stamps and housing assistance “so that those who are not old, young or disabled are either working in the private sector or serving in their community.”
“We have to get back to our core identity,” Mr. Hensarling said, adding that “there is work to be done.”

The work that needs to be done is the removal of these cretins from any proximity to the levers of power.

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