In case you missed the news Tuesday, Senate leader Mitch McConnell admitted to one of his party’s least kept secrets: they plan to pay for those huge tax cuts for the rich that were passed last December by taking money from programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. A person would have to have been stuck in a cave not to see this one coming.
This is a Republican strategy that they have been implementing since Saint Ronald of Reagan – starve the beast. Quit feeding the beast with money and then the “fat” of social programs will be shed. Republicans have been doing it in state after state, including Iowa for decades.
Since the Social Security Act was first passed in 1935, Republicans of all stripes have been dreaming of ending what they see as a program that has fostered dependence on the government. They care not one whit that elderly Americans will quickly become homeless and will be dying in huge numbers much more quickly.
In order to bring their wet dream of ending Social Security and Medicare the conditions had to be fostered that would put the country in a situation where extreme Republicans who would willing let their grandmother die were in elected office and it was nearly impossible to remove them. How did we get here?
The Powell Memo written in 1971 became the road map for achieving the situation that we are in today. Instead of vox populi (the voice of the people) one of Powell’s basic themes was vox pecunia (the voice of money). Over the years there have been revisions and details added to their plan, but the basic has been there from day one: people with money should be in charge.
There have been many prongs to the attack. One prong has been to control the media and thus control the message. The media in the United States today is nearly totally controlled by the right. So-called Public media was very much neutered from its earlier days and now gears its reporting more toward “balance” than truth. The few left leaning newspapers, rode and TV stations are sparse and widely scattered.
As the internet has grown one of the Republican targets has been to come up with a mechanism for controlling the message on the internet. Their preferred solution is to end internet neutrality and eventually make the cost of entry into that market prohibitive such that corporations will eventually control the message there also.
Another prong to their attack has been to suppress voting. You have probably all seen the Paul Weyrich video from 1980 where he laid out in a few sentences the charge to suppress the vote in order for Republicans to win: (1 minute)
In doing this Republicans have been very adaptable to new technology. They have made good use of the internet social media employing Facebook, Twitter and many other web sites to deliver lies and misdirection that confuse and discourage a populace that is not well informed. Coupled with their control of the more traditional media this packs a powerful punch of confusion.
New methods of suppressing the vote have been developed over the years into what is now almost a formula for raising the value of Republican votes while depressing the value of Democratic votes. One of the most reliable has been electronic voting machines. As the old saying goes “It is not who votes that counts, but who counts the votes that counts.”
As that saying illustrates those who control the count actually are the ones that control the outcome. That is especially true in situations where there are no actual ballots to verify electronic votes against. This is often referred to as “black box voting.” A person’s vote goes into a voting machine that then acts as a black hole where all traces of it disappear and it can be manipulated at the direction of some programmer. Without back up paper ballots there is no way to recount or ever know if any ballot was counted correctly or at all.
Of course the most recent attack is too restrict registration to vote in such ways that it restricts voters who would most likely vote for Democrats, thus eliminating huge swaths of voters from the electorate.
Using the above methods Republicans have been able to almost guarantee victories in in certain areas. Once Republicans were able to use the above methods to control state legislatures they could deploy the old tactic of gerrymandering to carve their states into districts that greatly favor their party even if they are the minority party in that state.
With all these mechanisms in place to nearly guarantee Republicans a majority no matter what the actual vote totals are, the time is then ripe to go after their dreams. Giving huge gifts to their donor base (mostly the wealthy is a plus. The number one target for over 80 years has been to end Social Security with Medicare as a close second.
Being able to pay off their donors with the money coming from their two or three of their most hated social programs is the stuff Republican wet dreams are made of. Starving the government of money through tax cuts aimed at their donor base and then proposing to pay for it by taking the money from the poor and elderly is their idea of sheer genius – truly fooling the ignorant unwashed.
I am hoping most Americans will see through their thinly disguised little trick. An overwhelming vote against these thieves is the only thing that will stop them. Your vote is not enough this fall. Make sure your family and neighbors vote also. If you don’t want Grandma and Grandpa moving in with you, vote and vote for Democrats.
Very odd that McConnell would take this time to remind folks that he and his party are ready, willing and able to cut off the elderly, disabled and poor for the sins of becoming old, disabled and poor.
Now we leave you with some prescient words from George Carlin in 1990: