Saturday, October 30, 2010

Gridlock, thy name is Congress

By Don Klein

Tired of the Democrats controlling Washington? They’ve been running the government for the last 20 months and you are unhappy with the results? Like millions of others you are ready for a change? Ready to throw the bums out, are you?

After all, Barack Obama has been in office less than two years and has not lived up to all our tantalized expectations. He managed to unite the country as promised but not as he wanted. The pros and cons are in agreement. They are both negative. The pros (progressives) and cons (conservatives) are bitter.

Time for a change, again? Some want "to take their country back." If they win, this is what might be in store for all of us.

1. There will be efforts to privatized Social Security again so that Wall Street brokers can make even larger profits than now and the financial destiny of senior citizens will be left to the whim of the stock market.

2. In order to continue the fiction of an allegedly insolvent Medicare, Republicans will force seniors to pay higher premiums to the government and shell out steeper co-pays to doctors in order to lower federal health expenses.

3. The new Republican Congress will extend the unfair Bush tax cuts providing the wealthy with savings of millions in income taxes and the middle class with merely hundreds. They will call this beneficial for all when actually it is acceptable only to the richest among us.

4. Instead they may propose an equally onerous national sales tax of 23 percent in lieu of the income tax. This sounds good until you realize that a family with $30,000 income incurs the same amount of tax for a loaf of bread as the family with $50,000,000.

5. To level the playing field which now finds some giant corporations not paying any federal income, the Republican Congress will reform the tax code to add more loopholes to allow many more flush corporations to be free of the burden of taxes while the working class will be clobbered with more taxes to cover the difference.

6. To further enhance corporate profits the Congress will offer broader tax incentives for companies to out-source work to India, Latin America and other developing areas so American products can more easily compete in the worldwide marketplace while laid off American workers no longer can afford to buy these goods.

7. The Republicans will attempt to impose their lifelong ambition to rescind the minimum wage law. This will encourage individuals to pull themselves up by their bootstraps the same way the wealthy pulled themselves up before they inherited Daddy’s legacy.

8. Unemployment insurance will prove too big a burden so the Republicans will try to eliminate all jobless benefits.

9. To keep costs down among deficit-ridden hospitals around the nation, emergency care facilities will no longer be required to treat destitute patients.

10. In order to cut government outlays to needy citizens Congress will enact laws turning over many social welfare responsibilities to religious organizations, after bolstering them with federal funds.

11. It will be a great period for unqualified ultra-conservative lawyers because the only Supreme Court justices who will be confirmed by the Republican Senate will be those of the Clarence Thomas ilk.

12. Embryonic stem cell research will be halted in the United States and adult stem cell research will be severely restricted by Republicans catering to the Evangelical bloc.

13. Gay marriages will be prohibited by federal law and aid to education will be sharply reduced.

14. Illegal aliens will be rounded up and held in concentration camps run by greedy contractors, like Halliburton or Blackwater, as harsh warnings to future outsiders thinking about entering the country illegally.

15. Environmental protection laws will be weakened or abandoned. The federal government under the Republicans will issues licenses for off shore drilling all along the East Coast from Florida to Maine.

With all of the above the GOP will not improve one iota the job market, nor reduce the prospects of foreclosures, improve the economy, nor better day-to-day life of the middle class.

Of course you might say some of these predictions are exaggerations -- and maybe they are. But others could happen if and when the new Republican Party "takes back the country" if they win the White House, as well as Congress, in 2012.

Right now take a look at what might happen after next week’s election. It could be almost as bad.

There are three possibilities once the votes are counted on November 2. The first is the Republicans will take over both houses of Congress. The second is
that the Republicans will win the House but not the Senate, or vice versa. And lastly the Democrats will continue to maintain control of both Houses, but with a smaller majority than currently.

Neither of these potentialities will serve the public interest.

In the first option many of the bills mentioned above could be passed and sent to the president, where he will veto them. The GOP will not have enough votes to override the veto. Hence: Gridlock.

In the second instance the GOP House will not get any of their bills passed a Democratic Senate, nor the Democrats get theirs passed the House.
Hence: Gridlock.

In the final scenario the Republicans, now a larger minority than before, will block all Democratic bills from getting out of Congress. Hence: Gridlock again.

So with the pros and cons chomping at each other necks they end up overshooting the most important goal – the welfare of all. We find ourselves back were we started before the election with gridlock the name of the game and the people not being served.