Saturday, March 25, 2017

Those Republican Sociopaths

If I were given the exercise of trying to describe the Republican Party in only one sentence, this would be it:
The raison d’être of the Republican Party is to look out for the interests of big business and big money.
This is what I wrote in a previous post.
There, I said it! Yes, there are all those social issues like guns and gays and abortions. But, frankly I believe these mostly act as cover for the true agenda of the party which is to transfer as much wealth as possible to the rich from everybody else.
Admittedly, these are very partisan sentiments that many would take as hyperbole. But with the recent failed Republican proposed replacement of Obamacare along with their​ latest proposed budget, those sentiments appear to be completely justified.
From the time Obamacare became law with no help from the Republicans, it has been an obsession to ‘repeal and replace' it to where it became a mantra that was constantly repeatedly by their loyal partisans. At last count the US House of Representatives has passed a bill to repeal Obamacare at least 60 times. Of course, there was no need to say what they wanted as a replacement since with Obama as president, this was little more than throwing red meat to their base voters.
Obamacare has been called almost every derisive word imaginable. But the champion in this category will forever be Dr. Ben Carson who called Obamacare "the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery." At the end of the video was a dire warning about how what he calls socialized medicine will lead to a socialist state. These were the same tired old words uttered by Ronald Reagan warning us about the horrible dangers if Medicare were to become law back in the 60s. The last time I checked, the nation survived this horrible danger.
So it’s fair to say that the Republicans really, really, really hate Obamacare. And while even its strongest supporters acknowledge its many flaws, is their hate justified towards a program that allowed 20 million more Americans to have health insurance, along with benefits nobody wants to give up like no preexisting conditions to buy insurance along with parents being able to keep​ children on their health insurance up to age 26 if needed?
These features are so popular that they were originally part of the proposed replacement offered by the Republicans. But non-partisan overseers like the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) have warned that if this plan were to be implemented, as many as 24 million mostly poorer Americans would lose their health insurance over the next decade. Does anybody care about these people? But there is potential good news for the wealthy who had to help pay for Obamacare. They get what amounts to a healthy tax cut with its repeal. So to review, poor people get screwed out of insurance and the rich get a transfer of wealth coming their way.
But wait, things got worse as the bill went from just being partisan to downright sociopathic. Some of the more moderate (not sociopathic) Republicans backed away from the bill over concerns about some of their constituents losing coverage. This was undoubtedly fueled by the massive, nationwide protest. (Of special note starting at the 7:00 mark of the video are Town Hall participants begging their rep not to take away their Obamacare to save their own lives or the life of a loved one.) But the super hard line conservative Freedom Caucus (aka Tea Partiers) had their own agenda – nothing less than Obamacare’s complete repeal. The leftover benefits like no preexisting conditions were unacceptable to them. Essentially, they wanted to return to the way things were before Obamacare with no replacement, not caring about who would lose insurance or possibly die in the process. If that isn’t sociopathic, I don’t know what is!
But then out of desperation to pass the bill, President Trump and Speaker Ryan sold out by offering the Freedom Caucus a bill that stripped out essential health benefits that are the cornerstone of Obamacare – giving in to their cruel demands. But even a hollowed out shell of Obamacare was more than they would agree to. This was the fatal blow for the bill to repeal and replace. Trump and Ryan folded by cancelling the floor vote to avoid further embarrassment.
Much of candidate Trump’s appeal to his supporters was the “terrific” replacement for Obamacare he said he had. But after taking office, it became obvious he had no plan, instead delegating it to Ryan to work out the details. This along with Trump’s promise to insure everybody were exposed as just additional lies.
Perhaps the biggest Republican sociopath of all is Ayn Rand disciple, Speaker Paul Ryan. Yes, like his fellow Republicans, he is in favor of tax cuts to favor big business and big money. But every one of these handouts to the rich is paid for by extracting a corresponding pound of flesh from the poor – a Reverse Robin Hood if you will.
His most insidious proposed schemes were vouchers for Medicare and proposed block grants for Medicaid. To simplify things, this meant hard caps on federal money for these programs. When the cost of these programs exceeds the hard caps, they become more underfunded each year. This would mean Medicare recipients having to make up the shortfall out of pocket. And for Medicaid recipients, this means some of them losing their insurance as the CBO projected for the recently failed repeal and replace bill. In addition, it needs to be pointed out that Medicaid is not only a lifeline to insurance to the poor, but also is their ultimate safety net to nursing home care if needed.
President Trump with the defeat of the repeal and replace bill has announced his intentions to move on to the next part of his agenda which is tax and budget reform. One can only hope that this mean and vindictive man will not sabotage Obamacare in the meantime to try and get even. For his recently proposed budget, it’s just as bad. Many of the safety net programs that benefit the poor would be slashed or eliminated in favor of increased military and Homeland Security spending. What was left out of this preliminary budget are the tax cuts that candidate Trump promised which would mostly benefit the wealthy and large corporations.
But that is a fight for another day. In the meantime, the Trump administration has a more immediate worry with the announcement of FBI and Congressional investigations into their possible collusion with the Russians in tampering​ with the recent presidential election. Seemingly each day, another tidbit of information is being uncovered. The world will be watching!

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