Monday, September 27, 2010

Pledge to America? 2

Republican Health Care

Star Wars

Because we spend hundreds of billions in two unnecessary wars, have given away billions to Wall Street without demanding real reform, and provide tax give aways to the rich who have gamed the system to their advantage, money for social and education programs have steadily diminished. Arianna Huffington lists a few of those programs in her new book, "Third World America."
California is eliminating CalWORKS, a financial assistance program for families in need, a cut that will affect 1.4 million people, two-thirds of which are children. This plan would also cut state subsidies for child care, affecting 142,000 children.
Minnesota has eliminated a program that provides health care to 21,500 low-income employed adults with no children.
Rhode Island has cut health insurance for 1,000 low-income families.
Maine has cut education grants and funding for homeless shelters.
Utah has cut Medicaid for physical and occupational therapies, as well as for speech and hearing services.
Michigan, Nevada, California, and Utah have eliminated coverage of dental and vision services for those receiving Medicaid.
Alabama has canceled services that allow 1,100 seniors to stay in their homes instead of being sent to nursing facilities.
Georgia has cut $112 million from an initiative designed to reduce the gap in funding between wealthy and poor school districts.
Arizona has cut cash assistance grants for 38,500 low-income families.
Virginia has decreased payments for people with mental retardation, mental health issues, and problems with substance abuse.
Illinois has cut funding for child welfare and youth services programs.
Connecticut has cut programs that help prevent child abuse and provide legal services for foster children.
Massachusetts is making cuts in Head Start, universal pre-K programs, and services to prepare special needs children for school.
Hell, my own library here in Los Angeles is now closed two days a week (Sunday and Monday) due to state budget cuts.
So given the choice of keeping all of these programs alive and funded, and giving money to Wall St. executives and the highest paid 2% of the country, I'll take the social programs almost every time.
The Republicans however are brilliant at framing issues in such ways that their low information constituents actually believe what they're spewing, and vote against their own best interests, hence that 38% who wants to keep those cuts in place.
A favorite gimmick of Fox News "hosts" when talking to guests about the inequality of wealth distribution in the country, and programs that would tax those who make more money proportionally to their income level, is to brand them as trying to stir up "class warfare." That's their defense for not paying their fair share in taxes... some kind of misguided notion of discrimination towards those who have a lot of money. As the second richest man in the country has stated, "There’s class warfare, all right,” Mr. [Warren} Buffett said, “but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning." I agree, and it's high time we fought back!
But I digress. What else does the pledge promise to get rid of?
Health care, specifically, President Obama's new Health Care Reform laws of which many provisions went into effect ironically enough on the same day this pledge was presented. Well the Republicans want to end it. We've already discussed what went into effect on the 23rd, provisions barring insurance companies from denying care to sick children and those with pre-existing conditions, insurers cannot limit annual and lifetime limits on coverage, preventive care,and cracking down on fraud... the Republicans belive these things will ruin the country by... well I'm not sure how it will ruin the country. Republicans say higher taxes will result because of the law, jobs will be lost, and other such nonsense that has no basis in reality but which the Republican base believe in because they are constantly lied to.
So they want to repeal the overhaul of the health care system and replace it with... a lot of the very same elements of Obama's health care reform. Yeah, that's right.
The Affordable Care Act "Allows for the creation of State Health Insurance Compacts – permits states to enter into agreements to allow for the sale of insurance across state lines." The Republican want to repeal, or end that, and replace it with, "We will allow individuals to buy health care coverage outside of the state in which they live." That's right, the very same freaking thing worded a little differently. The ACA: "A health insurer cannot impose lifetime limits and will be prohibited from placing annual limits on plans beginning in 2014." The Pledge: "[E]liminate annual and lifetime spending caps." The ACA: "A health insurance issuer cannot rescind a policy except for in cases of fraud." The Pledge: "[P]revent insurers from dropping your coverage just because you get sick." On and on. One might think the Republicans just want to repeal Obama's plan simply because it's Obama's plan, then replace it with many of the same provisions of Obama's plan and take credit for it when it works.
One might think that.
They cover the nation's energy policy in one sentence: "We will fight to increase access to domestic energy sources and oppose attempts to impose a national “cap and trade” energy tax." Which means they want more drilling of oil and reliance on fossil fuels, give lip service to green technology and clean energy, and ignore environmental concerns. Is that what most Americans want?
Nope. A Rasmussen poll last June shows that 73 percent of Americans believe it's important for the United States to cut its dependency on fossil fuels. That would include our dwindling supply of domestic oil. The same company a month later showed "that Fifty-six percent (56%) of Americans say they are not willing to pay more in taxes and utility costs to generate cleaner energy and fight global warming," which just goes to show how silly our electorate is. They want things, but don't want to pay for them. Like little kids.
What else is in there that the majority of Americans want. Why the rebirth of the Missile Defense Program apparently. What Ronald Reagan called "Star Wars." A program that has never, let me repeat that, never been technically viable, has rarely passed a test successfully (if ever), and is easier then hell to circumnavigate (get around), all the while pumping billions (billions) of tax payer money into the military industrial complex. We've given them billions. They've never given us a system that works. Why bother with the pretense, and just start shoveling cash over to Boeing and Lockheed Martin!
Gosh, by the look of it you'd think the Republican's Pledge to America was written by corporate lobbyists. No, it was just put together under some guy named Brian Wild, who works for Boehner, who until recently worked for the firm the Nickles Group, during which he "was paid $740,000 in lobbying contracts from AIG, the former insurance company at the heart of the financial collapse; $800,000 from energy giant Andarko Petroleum; more than $1.1 million from Comcast, more than $1.3 million from Exxon Mobil; and $625,000 from the pharmaceutical company Pfizer Inc." But he's not a lobbyist now, by golly. He works for John Boehner.
Oh yeah, they also want to cut federal spending to 2008 levels, which Boehner says, "What we intend to do is take first steps, and those first steps would be to reduce spending to 2008 levels, saving $100 billion a year, our commitment to put ourselves on a course to balance the budget and to pay down the debt."
Huumm, 100 billion a year, while extending the tax cuts for the rich which cost 400 billion a year. That's Republican deficit reduction for you.

To be continued.

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