At Christmas time there are few children who receive everything they wanted regardless of the mountains of gifts sitting under their family Christmas tree. For many children in America, this Christmas will find them wanting a meal or some type of warm shelter and the notion of gifts is a fantasy reserved for those privileged to have parents who can find work. In August, House Speaker John Boehner told an interviewer that he got 98% of what he wanted and it was still four months until Christmas. The implication of Boehner’s joy at getting nearly everything he wanted is evidence that the more harm Republicans can inflict on the economy and Americans who are not wealthy, the happier men like Boehner are. Americans though, should feel horrible that poor Boehner had to go through the devastating disappointment of not getting 100% of what he wanted.
Republicans have made it through the entire year without creating one job like they promised during the 2010 midterm elections, and apparently that is part of the 98% of what Boehner wanted all along. The 2% that Boehner did not get this year is unknown, but one can make some assumptions based on Republican complaints about their precious job creators still having to pay taxes. Most likely, the 2% includes making the wealthy’s Bush-era tax cuts permanent or eliminating their tax liability altogether, eliminating regulations, or sending 99% of the American people below the federal poverty level. However, instead of contemplating what Boehner did not get that he wanted, it is easier to see what he did get that makes him so happy.
The debt deal Boehner was so proud of did get America its first credit downgrade because Republicans failed to include revenue increases in what should have been a balanced approach to deficit reduction. S&P’s report detailing why they downgraded America’s credit rating specifically mentioned Republicans’ rejection of tax increases on the wealthy. Boehner and his Republican cohorts did not learn their lesson, and last month were looking for further tax cuts (7%) for the wealthy in the super committee budget negotiations. Maybe that is part of the 2% Boehner did not get this year.
A report released yesterday from the National Center on Homelessness said that 1.6 million children are homeless and, although a travesty in the richest nation on Earth, is certainly something Boehner received with great joy. Led by Boehner, Republicans have killed millions of jobs and made Draconian cuts to programs that help the poor find housing so the Speaker must be thrilled that more children are homeless. Boehner said “There are Americans who are poor, and I think it’s the responsibility of the rest of us to ensure that they have food in their stomachs and they have a roof over their head.” In true hypocritical fashion, Boehner then led Republicans in voting to cut programs like food stamps, housing subsidies, heating assistance, Medicaid and other low-income safety nets. With one-in-three Americans living near, at, or below the federal poverty level, those deplorable statistics must be part of the 98% of what Boehner wanted and is thrilled about.
The Speaker also must be happy he got Republicans to wage an all-out war on women’s rights this year because it dominated a major portion of the GOP’s work load this session of Congress. However, perhaps Boehner’s 2% disappointment stems from failing to ban contraceptives, criminalize miscarriages, and redefine rape that would please Boehner and his evangelical supporters. There are so many ruthless attacks on women that it is difficult to pigeon-hole any one aspect as failing to please Speaker Boehner. It is most likely that part of Boehner’s disappointing 2% stems from failing to put an end to Planned Parenthood that millions of poor and lower-income women depend on for family planning, cancer screenings, and birth control.
However, it is the state of the economy that must give John Boehner the greatest satisfaction and certainly contributed to giving him 98% of what he wanted. Boehner-led Republicans obstructed every part of President Obama’s jobs plan from being implemented because it was funded with 0.5% and 0.7% tax increases on Americans making in excess of a million dollars annually. Boehner has presided over a House that has held the economy hostage numerous times to protect the wealthy, and this week will mark the fourth time Republicans risk bringing the government to a screeching halt because they are holding the payroll tax cut and unemployment extension hostage in order to enrich the oil industry as well as cut billions from healthcare. One can only imagine the amount of satisfaction Boehner must feel knowing that to get 98% of what he wants, he is willing to raise taxes on 160 million working Americans to prevent Americans making over a million dollars from paying a surtax of 3.25%.
It is obvious that John Boehner and Republicans got nearly everything they wanted so far this past year. They wanted to kill jobs, slash spending for safety nets, impoverish a third of the population, send 1.6 million children into the ranks of the homeless, deprive women of their right to choose their own reproductive health, bring the government to a halt, provoke credit rating agencies to downgrade the nation’s credit ranking, and keep the economy in a recession. Of course Boehner is pleased to get 98% of what he wanted because what he wants is to inflict maximum damage on America and 99% of the population. He should be happy except for that elusive 2%.
One has to wonder if Boehner and Republicans would be happiest if they caused a depression because they have given every indication that their goal is destroying the economy to portray President Obama as an ineffective leader. It is sad though, that elected representatives who are tasked with creating jobs and a stable economy are satisfied that 98% of what they wanted did the opposite of helping Americans who need jobs, food and shelter, affordable healthcare, and a semblance of economic security. In that sense, Republicans have failed miserably; especially in light of their campaign promises to create jobs, jobs, jobs.
The American people are not going to forget that for the past year, Republicans have made every possible attempt to keep the economy in a recession by killing jobs and blocking prospective jobs to protect the wealthy. They will also remember that when Republicans had an opportunity to pass a clean payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits extension, they attached unrelated measures to cut billions from healthcare and help the oil industry. Americans are not thrilled that John Boehner got 98% of what he wanted because the cost was 100% damage to 99% of the population. So, Merry Christmas Boehner, the millions of Americans who are living in poverty, out of work, tortured women, and homeless children all are not going to forget that you got 98% of what you wanted and they got nothing but damage and despair from you and the Republican Party.