GOP - Anti-Commonwealth.

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One can literally view and make sense of all things Republican in our Congress through the motivation prism of the presidential election in 2012. Their actions as a Party today, and for the next 23 months, will be in accord with their view of how to win back the White House in 2012. Those who think, or hope, that Republicans will do something good for the nation and the vast majority of non-wealthy in America, are going to be as disappointed in them as they were in the run up to the 2008 election.

First priority: insure Democrats and Obama have no accomplishments to run on in 2012. This has been Republican leadership's strategy since early in 2009, and they have stated so. Of course, this also means they won't be working for the welfare and benefit of the American people. Cutting deficits during time of economic recovery is kind of like killing the patient to stop the disease.

But, Republicans aren't even about stopping the disease. If that were the case, ending deficits, they wouldn't be cutting taxes for the wealthiest and big business who are accruing and hoarding wealth like never before. Deficits are a result of more spending than revenue. Cutting spending and revenue, does not end deficits. It prolongs them. The deficit talk, is just that, all talk, and no walk, by Republicans. Republicans notion of fiscal responsibility is insuring the wealthiest get wealthier, and to hell with everyone else. Everyone else should have devoted their lives to becoming wealthy and contributing to Republican campaigns. Republicans rejected the Deficit Commission's plans to end the deficits, and that is all that needs be said about Republicans as a fiscally responsible Party.

Their motivation is winning elections. They won last November largely as a result of enormous spending on media messaging and the public's rebuke of the state of the economy and jobs under 2 years of Democratic majorities. Republicans would have to be politically stupid not to attempt to recreate that same scenario for 2012; a sluggish economy and high unemployment and using the media to blame Obama and the Democratic Senate for it. And they aren't politically stupid. That is precisely what explains their actions to date.

They opposed, as a majority, nearly every bill in the Lame Duck session of Congress, from the START treaty to DADT and extending unemployment insurance benefits for the working class. They use the media to create the image for those unemployed that the Omnibus Bill with unemployment extensions passed with important Republican votes. What they don't say in the media is that the number of Republicans voting to pass these bills, were few.

Let's take a look at some of the votes on legislation that would benefit Americans.

House Votes

9-11 Workers health care. (H R 847)
_______________________
Party          For   Against
_______________________
Democratic  175       1
Republican    31     59


START Treaty (Treaty Doc. 111-5)
_______________________
Party          For   Against
_______________________

Democratic   56       0
Independent    2
Republican    13     26


Food Safety Act
_______________________
Party          For   Against
_______________________

Democratic  205        8
Republican    10     136


Improve Gov't. Performance (S. 3853)
_______________________
Party          For   Against
_______________________

Democratic  208       1
Republican      8    138


American Competitiveness Act (H R 5116)
_______________________
Party          For   Against
_______________________

Democratic 212       42
Republican   16      130


Reduce Lead in Drinking Water (S 3874)
_______________________
Party          For   Against
_______________________

Democratic 195       1
Republican   31    108


Foreclosure Aid (H R 5510)
_______________________
Party          For   Against
_______________________

Democratic  204       5
Republican      6    140


Senate

Small Business Enhancement Act (S.4053)
_______________________
Party          For   Against
_______________________

Democratic   55        1
Independent    2
Republican     8       31


DREAM Act
_______________________
Party          For   Against
_______________________

Democratic   50       5
Independent   2
Republican    3       36


Emergency Sr. Citizens Relief Act (Cloture)
_______________________
Party          For   Against
_______________________

Democratic   52         4
Independent    1         1
Republican     0       40


Food Safety Act (S.510)
_______________________
Party          For   Against
_______________________
Democratic   56      0
Independent   2
Republican   15     25

There is a pattern in these votes above. Where acts would provide assistance or support for non-wealthy Americans, Republicans overwhelmingly vote NO. Democrats, overwhelmingly vote Yes. When all is said and done, one can know the Parties and who they represent by their votes in the Congress.

I must at this point, interject praise for the Republicans having defeated that horrendous pork laden 1.2 Trillion dollar Omnibus spending bill. That was the worst kind of spending bill Congress can possibly fashion, and were it not for Republican opposition, it would have passed.

Praise aside, Republicans will negotiate with Obama and Democrats to some extent on those measures that would obviously, otherwise turn the public against them. Shutting down the government is not a Republican option, anymore, no matter what. They were burned on that measure in the Clinton administration. So, it is safe to say, our government will continue to operate - (I hesitate to use the word 'function' which implies competence.)

What separates the Democratic Party from the Republican, fundamentally, is their view of human nature. The Republican view is that anyone who is financially successful deserves their rewards, regardless of however many others must suffer privation, as a result. Democrats view is that before the wealthy should be entitled to the wealth that this great nation afforded them, the commonwealth must be maintained first.

The Commonwealth is mentioned twice in the Constitution, in the Preamble and body. I use the term here with its archaic and original meaning - "The public good or, commonweal." It refers to the status and assets held in common by the American people like roads, communications, libraries and education, and national defense, (i.e., the common well being of the people in a legally defined area.) The founders understand the importance of the Commonwealth to maintaining the Union, and the integrity of constitutional rule of law. The Puritan and Quaker Founders understand all too well the revolutions and reformations which had, and were, taking place in Europe as a result of the aggregation of too much of the nation's wealth in the hands of the monarchs and their court. If the nation was to survive, the sense of Commonwealth must be well attended and maintained.

Benjamin Franklin, among others, understood this clearly in his establishment of the postal system, and the establishment of the first public library, and the Academy with his understanding of the need for public education for the Commonwealth. The threat of recessions and depressions is the undermining of the people's sense of well-being of the Commonwealth. If the majority of the people are suffering privations and degradations in their quality of life, while small percentages of individuals are hoarding enormous amounts of the nation's aggregate wealth, the seeds of civil unrest and revolution are sown.

America is sowing those seeds as fast as Johnny Appleseed did his. And the driver behind that sowing is the growth of the national debt which, if left unchecked, will leave the majority of Americans suffering another Great Depression that will make the first one look like a holiday in sheer numbers of those suffering it. It is not even close to sufficient for Republicans to talk the talk of deficit reduction. They must walk what they talk, by increasing revenues and cutting spending in ways that won't create needless suffering for those who didn't "earn their wealth." For the next two years, however, talking is all we will see from Republicans. The first rule of fighting recessions and depressions is to keep the current economy well and healthy. This rule is lost upon the majority of Republicans in Congress. One does not fight recession with measures designed to undermine the current economy. But, don't try to tell that to the GOP.

Far too many Democrats are also dependent, not by choice, upon the coffers of the enormously profitable corporations for their reelection bids. Thus, it is a reality, that when it comes to legislation that corporations and the likes of the Koch Bros. don't like, enough Democratic votes can be found to support the Republican agenda of insuring the interests of the wealthiest at the expense of the Commonwealth. Therein, lies the only ground for bi-partisanship between now and the 2012 elections.

This difference between the Parties on their view of the Commonwealth, is what has historically kept the GOP the minority Party and the Democratic Party the majority Party in Congress most of the time. The GOP is trying to alter that history going forward by taking control of the media message and rhetorically painting the Democratic Party as the enemy of the American working class. To the extent that some Democrats vote with Republicans on issues favoring the wealthiest and corporations at the expense of the Commonwealth, their charge is valid, but, that is not a reality Republicans will publicly acknowledge.

The public is at a real disadvantage over the next 10 years. They are now witnessing a plethora of signs indicating the economy is improving and their financial security is improving as well, as a majority. Stock markets are up to pre-Recession levels, monthly unemployment dropped below 400,000 for the first time in a very long while, wages are increasing on a steady rise in the aggregate, consumer spending and confidence have been improving on average over the last 6 months, and employers are creating enough new jobs to absorb new entries into the labor market, without increasing the unemployment rate. This is all, however, the calm before the storm, which the public is unaware of.

The global bond and treasury investors in America debt, are losing their appetite for American borrowing. 10 year bond rates are rising. A reflection of diminished appetite for investing in American debt. These are the early dark clouds on the horizon portending the great storm coming at the end of this next decade. When, not if, America defaults on its national government debt at, or around $20 trillion, the 'Greatest Depression' America has ever experienced will be unrelentingly underway. There will be no European Union to bail the U.S. out like happened with Greece and Ireland. Taxes will have to climb steeply on those with the ability to pay them, and as much, or more than, half of the American work force will become unemployed. In the desperate hope of reestablishing international credit, there will be no government funds for unemployment insurance.

Municipalities and States, not already deep in red ink, will bankrupt, and basic government services like EMS, fire and police services will disappear from whole communities. Lawlessness will set in, as people needing to drive will not be able to afford auto licensing and inspections, or, to pay traffic fines. And with virtually no police to enforce the rules of the road, driving will become very much more hazardous as road rage takes over American highways. In many places, martial law will have to be declared and national guard troops deployed to fill in for the absence of state and local government services. Many of the wealthiest in America will attempt to flee America with their wealth, knowing they will be the target of dramatically increased taxation. To the extent that they are successful, the Depression will worsen.

The single most effective measure Congress can take to avert this scenario, is to move to a single payer universal health care system and dramatically drive down the costs of health care in America and reform the spiraling projected deficits created by the current Medicare/Medicaid system. No other measure comes anywhere close to addressing and averting America's future bankruptcy. But, there is no political will to go there. Republicans will address the Social Security system in rhetoric, instead, which doesn't even begin to address the deficit and debt over the next 10 years. Democrats had their chance this last year to effectively address the issue and dropped the ball, entirely.

If health care inflation and the Medicare/Medicaid deficits are to be addressed, and the future economic collapse averted, the initiative will have to come from the American people themselves, forcing in some fashion, their representatives to deal with it. The only hope of that scenario playing out in evidence, is the anti-incumbent movement targeting both parties for failed government results. That movement is growing. The question is, will it gain enough momentum in time to save our economic future in America? Time will tell.

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This page contains a single entry by David R. Remer published on December 30, 2010 7:20 AM.

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