Nel's New Day

October 17, 2013

Congressional Republicans, Abusers

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 8:16 PM
Tags: , ,

For over two weeks, an extremist faction of the GOP held the United States hostage. It’s the sixth time since the Tea Party took a large number of seats in January 2011. The bad behavior of the conservatives in Congress’ budget battles over the last three years have cost the U.S. economy $700 billion—more than this year’s deficit. Congressional spending cuts and sequester have cut annual GDP by 0.7 percent and the equivalent of 1.2 million jobs. Uncertainty increased the cost an additional 0.3 percent, bringing the total cost to 1% of GDP annually.

Paul Krugman said that the unemployment rate would be below 6 percent without the current fiscal policy. In 2012, The Economic Policy Institute said that the fiscal cliff wasn’t about debt. It was about tax hikes coupled with spending cuts causing purchasing power to drain out of our economy.

The entire problem is caused by what Julie Driscoll, a domestic violence hotline counselor, describes as the Republicans abusive behavior. For the past 16 days, the media has shown the tea baggers taking over the U.S. House, ordering around House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), shutting down the government, and high-fiving one another like adolescents who have just broken the law.

Like abusers, Republicans always blame someone else for their actions. For abusive people there is no compromise. The abusive person is never wrong; only the abused must change. Abusers use bullying, fear tactics, threats, and intimidation—anything to get their own way. Abusers are also willing to use anyone else for pawns—in a family, the children, and with the GOP, the World War II veterans. 

Like abusers, Republicans do not negotiate in good faith. Boehner promised a clean continuing resolution in exchange for keeping the sequester cuts, the Democrats agreed, and Boehner backed down on his own agreement. Abusers will renege on any deals that they make; they will not uphold their end of the bargain. When Democrats gave in to the Republicans a year ago, Paul Krugman pointed out that the debt ceiling debacle at that time demonstrated that “raw extortion works and carries no political cost” and that “irresponsible brinksmanship” is now “a proven effective negotiating tactic.”

Like abusers, Republicans must win at all costs. Abusers don’t care who is caught in the crossfire because their desire for control and their irrational, desperate need to be the winner at any cost trumps any concern for others. Republicans raised the debt ceiling more than 25 times under Republican presidents and five times, with no difficulty, under George W. Bush. Now, regardless of any harm to others, the GOP vowed to block the president they hate. In a Catch 22, they claim that both defaulting and invoking the 14th Amendment to direct the Treasury to pay bills are impeachable offenses but gleefully push the president into one of these actions. No cost is too great for Republicans to make President Obama look bad.

Like abusers, Republicans have to be in complete control. They lost the 2012 election for president and Senate. The House has a Republican majority only because Republican states gerrymandered districts: House members received over a million more votes from Democrats than from Republicans. Yet Republicans think that they have the right to get whatever they want. To control the country, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) demanded, “Why don’t we open the parts of government that we agree to?” Republicans could then eliminate food stamps, inspections, regulations, etc. as they tried to do with their piecemeal strategy during the shutdown.

Like abusers, Republicans invalidate everyone else. Abusers use derogatory slurs against the victim as Republicans are using against President Obama in increasing occurrence and intensity.

Like abusers, Republicans wear down their victims. Suffering from abusive hopelessness, fear, and despair, victims give in to ridiculous demands that seem almost reasonable because it stops the emotional, mental, and physical pain—if only temporarily. Every rational plan from the Democrats led to upping the ante—repeal or defunding of Obamacare, a “conscience clause” to eliminate contraception, reducing Social Security, putting in the Keystone Pipeline—ad infinitum.

Like abusers, Republicans don’t care who they hurt. They can bully, threaten, and extort because they have a callous disregard for anyone who stands between them and what they want. Just as an abuser will knock a child out of the way in a rage, the Republicans will knock the country out of their way to get to their goal and then blame others for their behavior, never taking responsibility.

Like abusers, Republicans profess love for their victim. The Republicans say that they love their country, that their behavior is justified to save their country from the scourge of liberals and the devil called the Affordable Care Act, as, at the same time, they abuse the people in the country.

This time, however, the Democrats stood up to the abusers. Last night they said, “No more.” Thanks to their action, 260,000 people in Oregon will qualify for fast-track enrollment in the state health plan, the Medicaid expansion at the core of the health care reform. Young people will be able to stay on their parents’ policies until they are 26 years old, and everyone with pre-existing conditions can get health insurance. All the children in the state can have health insurance, and the insurance exchange will lower rates for people because companies have to be competitive.

After the past 16 days, people found out that they want government. Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD) wants FEMA because her state can’t afford to pay for the cattle lost in the recent blizzard. Both Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Todd Rokita (R-IN) want the National Institutes of Health funded: Rodgers has a child with Down syndrome, and Rokita has a son with a rare neurological disorder. Rokita  believes, however, that the rest of people’s needs could be taken care of by “families, faith communities, associations, and neighbors.” People discovered that they want their national parks and monuments. The salmonella outbreak during the shutdown moved the FDA up to the level of the national parks.

But it’s all personal. Republican control would mean no EPA, Labor Department, IRS, Department of Education, and some other agencies that Texas Gov. Rick Perry can’t remember.

Republicans claim that a government can be run like a family, but their families don’t always pay their bills. Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) said he tells his creditors: “Listen, we’re going to pay you. We’re just not going to pay you today, but we’re going to pay you with interest and we will pay everybody that’s due money.” He claimed that doing this would show the world that the United States was “finally addressing its problem.” Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) has a similar slipshod style: “We have in my household some bills that have to be paid and some bills that we can defer or only pay partially.” [Note: you might not want to lend these people money!]

The U.S. government could have funded at least one of the these programs with the more than $24 billion hit to the economy during the past 16 days:

  • Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP): $24 billion
  • Department of Agriculture’s proposed budget: $22.6 billion
  • NASA’s approved budget: $16.6 billion
  • All air transportation programs, including the Federal Aviation Administration, security, research, and other costs: $21.9 billion
  • Child Tax Credit: $22.1 billion
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program (formally known as welfare): $17.7 billion
  • The cost of Head Start, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and Women Infants and Children (WIC) program combined: $25.2 billion

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said there won’t be any more threats, but Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) won’t rule out another shutdown, adding that he will still “do anything” to stop Obamacare. Rep. John Fleming (R-LA), said, “We’re going to start this all over again.” The Default Caucus—18 GOP senators and 144 GOP House members—will still be in Congress when the next crisis begins in less than three months. These are the people who voted last night to drive the United States into default that threatened to collapse the entire world economy. Several of these Republicans have expressed interest in being the nation’s next president.

At the same time the Senate voted to open, Cruz blocked Tom Wheeler’s confirmation as chair of the FCC because Wheeler wants transparency for political advertising funding. As usual, it’s all about Ted Cruz—and certainly will be the next time that he has a chance to close down the government.

The Default Caucus won’t stop their seditious behavior unless someone stops them. The House GOP leadership’s use of the Hastert Rule and H. Res 368 to shut down the government and threaten the U.S. economy with default is an attempt to extort the United States government into altering or abolishing the Affordable Care Act, and thus, is self-evidently a seditious conspiracy.

You can sign a petition calling on justice for these actions: “I call on the Justice Department of the United States of America to arrest Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Speaker of the House John Boehner, and other decision-making House Republican leaders for the crime of seditious conspiracy against the United States of America.”

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