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The Mahablog

Republicans Still Want Us to Die Sooner

This is the sort of thing I wish got much bigger coverage in news media, especially television. Ronald Brownstein writes at The Atlantic:

House Republicans dramatically sharpened that partisan contrast last week when the Republican Study Committee—a conservative group whose membership includes more than four-fifths of the House Republican Conference’smembers and all of its leadership—issued a budget proposal that would not only repeal the ACA but also fundamentally restructure Medicare, Medicaid, and the federal tax incentive for employers to provide insurance for their workers.

Here’s a list of the members of the House Republican Study Committee. Yeah, there’s a mess of them. All running for re-election. But will the voters in their districts ever hear about this?

The sweep of the House GOP health plans, like similar proposals in the Project 2025 policy blueprint put together by a consortium of conservative groups, “sets up a clear contrast with the direction Democrats have gone,” Larry Levitt, the executive vice president for health policy at KFF, a nonpartisan think tank, told me. “At the root of a lot of these Republican Study Committee proposals is reducing what the federal government spends on health care, and putting the risk back on individuals, employers, and states.” …

… Among other things, the House Republican Study Committee blueprint would: repeal the federal protections the ACA established for people with preexisting conditions and instead allow states to decide whether to retain such reforms, transform Medicare into a “premium support” or voucher system that instead of paying seniors’ health-care bills directly would give them a stipend to purchase private insurance, end the federal entitlement to Medicaid and instead bundle the program into a block grant for states along with a separate federal program that covers children, and rescind the authority Biden won for Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices. (The Project 2025 plan embraces many of these same ideas.)

This is extreme stuff that, I believe, the enormous majority of voters oppose. This includes elderly conservative voters who depend on Medicare, flawed as it is, thank you very much.

This budget was released on about March 30. Here is what the President had to say about it.

My dad had an expression, “Don’t tell me what you value. Show me your budget, and I’ll tell you what you value.” The Republican Study Committee budget shows what Republicans value. This extreme budget will cut Medicare, Social Security, and the Affordable Care Act. It endorses a national abortion ban. The Republican budget will raise housing costs and prescription drugs costs for families. And it will shower giveaways on the wealthy and biggest corporations. Let me be clear: I will stop them.

My budget represents a different future. One where the days of trickle-down economics are over and the wealthy and biggest corporations no longer get all the breaks. A future where we restore the right to choose and protect other freedoms, not take them away. A future where the middle class finally has a fair shot, and we protect Social Security so the working people who built this country can retire with dignity. I see a future for all Americans and I will never stop fighting for that future.

I did some googling to see who did report on this. I realized I had seen something about this budget, at The Intercept:

ON WEDNESDAY, THE Republican Study Committee, of which some three-quarters of House Republicans are members, released its 2025 budget entitled “Fiscal Sanity to Save America.” Tucked away in the 180-page austerity manifesto is a block of text concerned with a crucial priority for the party: ensuring children aren’t being fed at school.

Eight states offer all students, regardless of household income, free school meals — and more states are trending in the direction. But while people across the country move to feed school children, congressional Republicans are looking to stop the cause.

The budget — co-signed by more than 170 House Republicans — calls to eliminate “the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) from the School Lunch Program.” The CEP, the Republicans note, “allows certain schools to provide free school lunches regardless of the individual eligibility of each student.” 

House Republicans rise up to stop us from feeding our children. How noble. They aren’t against school lunches altogether; they just think only the “truly needy” should get it for free. Just feed the kids already. The Intercept discusses other outrages in the budget, such as blocking environmental and gun control initiatives. And they want to raise the retirement age for Social Security, But it doesn’t mention Medicare.

Axios Pro reported on it, but that report is behind a subscription paywall. And the Washington Post published a story under the headline “Democrats seize on a GOP budget proposal that would raise Social Security retirement age.” Why wasn’t it just “GOP budget proposal would raise Social Security retirement age”? But I also see,

The House Majority PAC, an outside political group working to make Democrats the majority party in the House, plans to cite the budget proposal in ads this fall, said CJ Warnke, the group’s communications director.

“House Republicans are writing House Majority PAC’s ads for us,” Warnke said.

Every Republican in the House who signed this thing should be repeatedly called on to answer for it.

In other stupid Republican news, see Greg Sargent in The New Republic, “MAGA’s Ugly, Hateful Response to Bridge Horror Is About to Get Worse.” The horrendous bridge collapse in Baltimore isn’t just an inconvenience for Baltimore. In this case, Sargent writes,

… the horror doesn’t only impact the immediate area. It has hamstrung operations at the Port of Baltimore, whose operations are essential to export traffic that comes from other regions, including storied Trump country.

For instance, billions of dollars in autos, coal, agricultural and construction machinery, soybeans, and many other products pass annually through the Port of Baltimore, according to U.S. Department of Transportation data. A lot of those products come from states like Wisconsin, Iowa, Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania (whose western part abuts northern Appalachia and the industrial Midwest), that data shows.

In other words, this bridge collapse is going to cause problems throughout the nation. But Republicans in Congress are acting as if appropriating money to set the harbor right and replace the bridge is doing Baltimore, and somehow Democrats, a favor.  And that such appropriation is an extraordinary burden that has to be offset with cuts to other programs, or no deal. What, exactly, do they think the federal government is for? Don’t bothering answer that.

In other news: Trump’s rhetoric is getting more and more vicious and violent. He’s been attacking Judge Juan M. Merchan of the hush-money trial, the trial that starts in two weeks, and his daughter. One assumes Trump is doing this because he thinks he can intimidate the judge into going easy on him. Otherwise it’s just insanity. And yesterday he shared a video that showed President Biden bound and gagged in the back of a truck.

Joyce Vance writes, “If you or I did this, the Secret Service would be on our doorstep within hours.”

Donald Trump, by the way, is out on bond ahead of trial in four separate criminal cases. Today, he threatened the President of the United States. It’s time for the people with authority to do so to deal with him. Sure, he’s the Republican Party’s presidential candidate, but they won’t reign him in. And someone is going to get hurt if he isn’t.

He can’t be allowed to get away with this.

6 thoughts on “Republicans Still Want Us to Die Sooner

  1. One assumes Trump is doing this because he thinks he can intimidate the judge into going easy on him.

    Maybe, but I think it's really an attempt to unnerve the judge and get him to screw up, or to contaminate the jury pool so Trump can win on appeal. Merchan's got the toughest assignment of his life, to provide a fair trial for a monster, so it cannot be appealed.

    The intensity will be much higher than his civil trials because Trump has to physically be there for this criminal trial, and will have to quietly sit like a good little boy and do as he's told, including no mouthing off. The stakes are higher: being a convicted felon is a more serious consequence politically than merely losing millions of dollars. It’s going to drive him nuts.

    OT, Teri Kanefield's beat lately has been "The Outrage Machine" – what both left and right "news" channels have turned into, to varying degrees. She uses the Ronna McDaniel story as an example. It's a bit of a long read and worthwhile.

    The clock is ticking down to April 2, the date lawyers are to respond to Aileen Cannon's wackadoodle request for jury instructions. I expect some fireworks early next week from Jack Smith.

  2. Ross Douthat wrote about the budget in his New York Times newsletter. You can read what he wrote free here. He's mostly interested in why Republicans – who, according to polls, want government to make their lives better almost as much as Democrats do – continue to vote for candidates who are so clearly opposed to a government safety net. He doesn't really come to a conclusion, but he thinks the party can't maintain these Paul Ryan policies for much longer without alienating the base. (I wish I believed that.)



  3. How fitting:

    Just what the world needs: a soul cleanse with a grifter Bible, where the profits could well be going to pay legal costs in trials about breaking commandments — bearing false witness to try to steal democracy, coveting a porn star, then paying the star hush money to keep quiet about the sex.

    What could be more Elmer Gantry than that? As Sinclair Lewis wrote about his corrupt, power-hungry, narcissistic, womanizing preacher, “He had, in fact, got everything from the church and Sunday school, except, perhaps, any longing whatever for decency and kindness and reason.”

    The quote is from Maureen Dowd in a piece entitled Donald Trump, Blasphemous Bible Thumper from the NYT.  everything but decency and kindness and reason seems to be the new Trump/republican platform.  Yes, it is a death wish, an ode to the new god of some "monotheists".  Tim Tebow gave us the god of football who has no formal name as I know of, and this one for sale buy the Trump/republican party who resembles the pagan god called Thanatos, the god of death.  

    Would someone tell these people that mono is a prefix for one.  No wonder so many find none a better option.

  4. "One assumes Trump is doing this because he thinks he can intimidate the judge into going easy on him"

    I think he does it because he wants the judge to attack him. It's all part of the martyr strategy. It shows he is worried about his base, he needs the perception that he is being treated unfairly. Headlines about gag orders help accomplish that. Just a theory?

    "they just think only the “truly needy” should get it for free"

    I'm a bit of a fiscal conservative and would generally agree with that notion concerning most government programs, there is abuse in many federal aid programs where people (mostly large corporations) are gaming the system. But these are kids, to me it seems cruel that kids of lessor means are forced to carry some sort of card to get their lunch for free. It's not their fault their parents qualify for aid why should they have to feel discomfort in the lunch line. Like you said "Just feed the kids already".

  5. I have to think the Republican Study Committee had nothing to do with actually writing the budget proposal. I mean, did Republicans ACTUALLY meet over a period of weeks and discuss issues, hammer out details, vote, and pass a budget that reflects the values of the GOP?

    Or did K Street work hard on the issues that are vital to the conservative donor class, write up a "budget" that hits the high points of the corporate donors which they submitted to the Republican Study Committee with the demand that the GOP pass it without changes or the big money may dry up.

    This is ALL about the money from what I can tell. The donor class does not care about democracy one way or the other. They just want monster quarterly profits for shareholders. The element of partisan politics that registers with them at the moment is the expiration of the Trump Tax Cuts. The donor class has probably noticed that the GOP House is at war with itself, and they aren't delivering on donor class priorities.

    K Street collects around six Billion per election cycle for delivering on donor priorities. The GOP is not delivering and IMO K Street is under pressure to get Congress in line or why should the corporate donor class be forking over big bucks. (I'm not suggesting this is more than my opinion.)  SO the leadership responds to K Street cracking the whip by arranging a vote on a meaningless corporate wish list. And I say "meaningless" because not even the House thinks they will be able to pass any of it. The significance is that the GOP is willing to mouth political platitudes to keep the money valve open. And all the crap they endorsed is fair game in political ads but no real danger because issues don't matter to voters – only emotions do. The GOP members are counting on that, too.

    There's the fact that the KKK endorsed Trump. It doesn't prove Trump is a racist but it proves the KKK thinks he is. (I don't recall who said that – I wish I had.) But the budget doesn't prove GOP House members will take action to turn Medicare into a voucher system or strip out pre-existing conditions protection. But it proves the GOP wants the money from the donor class who wants those regressive policies.

    So I'm suggesting the budget from the Republican Study Committee doesn't reflect GOP priorities. It reflects that all members of the committee are lying whores who don't expect they will have to put out, but they want to tease the donor class by moaning, "That's so hot!" to everything corporate America wants to do to the voter class. Assuming I'm not completely delusional here, how do we convey to voters how loathsome the members of the GOP are?

    Voters are almost indifferent to issues. They are responding to emotions. How can this be framed in a way voters can relate emotionally?

  6. The GOP keeps seniors in line by squawking about how Social Security and Medicare will run out of money soon, then claiming that privatizing both programs is the only way to "protect" them.

    I'm still waiting for Democrats to propose amending both programs to eliminate the income cap on the taxes which pay for them.  Well, Bernie has been calling for exactly that for a few decades now, but the rest of the Party continues to ignore him.


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