Muftic: Beware the GOP’s hollow platitudes
Grand County, CO Colorado
You gotta love it. At least that is what Republicans think every time they propose reducing the deficit or lowering taxes. It is like offering chocolate to woo a lover and it is as disingenuous as the old Democratic promise of a chicken in every pot.
It is time we look inside the bon-bon to see what is filling it – a creamy nougat or a shell full of air. So far the “party of no” has left out the filling. They have tempted us with a hollow Easter bunny.
The brevity of a recent letter to the editor is very instructive. After criticizing Democrats for creating “little socialists” who felt they were … entitled to “free” lunches “free” health care, endless unemployment benefits, security in their old age, the writer simply concluded with “No, this doesn’t mean that we can’t help those who truly need it. No, this doesn’t mean that we don’t have alternate solutions to real problem.” This leaves you wondering where are the alternate solutions and what did he consider “real problems,” anyway?
I lost count the number of times Republican congressional leaders waived a folder with their alternative “plan,” only to find it is a vague outline of principles or of proposals already incorporated in some form in Democrat-sponsored legislation. Newt Gingrich promised a new contract for America a month ago but nada so far. On a recent Sunday talk House Minority Leader John Boehner promised us some alternatives after Labor Day. I am not holding my breath.
The reason? Somebody’s ox might feel gored if Republicans get specific. Republicans cannot be let off the hook with the chocolate shells of lower taxes, smaller government and lower debt. Hot air of some fine-sounding promises and principles just will not do. The challenge this fall is for voters and journalists to demand specifics. Let us have a real debate about the devil of the details.
Here is the agenda for the midterms and a check list of what to look for in any Republican “alternatives:”
Bush tax cut extension. The Obama administration proposes extending it for the middle class, returning to the Clinton era levels for the top 2 percent. Estimated cost to the deficit: $700 billion over 10 years. Bush tax cuts for the rich did not increase revenue to cover revenue loss. Where would Republicans find another $700 billion?
Immigration: How about the 10 million illegals here? We do not have the resources to find and deport them all. We cannot hope somehow the heat is turned up enough so that all go south voluntarily because there are too many businesses depending on immigrant labor, there is too much poverty south of the border, and too many states without the political will. Changing the 14th amendment would take 10 years, devastating future Republican appeal to a growing Hispanic vote. Before then we will have workable reform including guest workers and some resolution of resident status, anyway.
Small business: The SBA estimates 64 percent of new jobs are created by small business. Obama is proposing $30 billion funneled to community banks to help small business expand. Industry and bankers support it. Will Republicans say “no” or promote Bush type tax cuts that failed to stop a 10-year decline in growth of private sector jobs?
Repeal Obama care? Would Republicans replace it with anything that will make health care affordable for the 30 million uninsured? Or is it back to emergency room charity medicine that costs families an extra $1,000 more in premiums a year? Which consumer protections from denial for pre-existing conditions and others would they remove? Would they reinstate the donut hole in seniors’ prescriptions plans?
Repeal Wall Street reform? Which disclosures of derivatives and other exotic investments would Republicans like to deregulate? How do they propose to handle failing big banks? Which consumer protections would they like to scrap?
Voters should not settle for air filled, sweet looking platitudes.
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