Senate Republicans Plan to Shut Down the Government Unless Obamacare is Defunded

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In the recording industry it is fairly common knowledge that regardless which artist, producer, arranger or record label puts out a bad song, it
was destined to fail because it was a bad idea. A highly-regarded, big-name artist can re-record the song, use a different arrangement, and record label, but they will not have any more success than the original artist because the song itself was a bad idea. In 2008, then-Senator Barack Obama likened John McCain’s alleged “change” to the same failed Bush-Republican ideas and said “You can put lipstick on a pig. It’s still a pig,” and the same principle applies to Republicans today who claim they are a changed party after their defeat in November, but are still adhering to the same bad ideas and strategies with enhancements that make them worse.

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For four years, Republicans obstructed and attempted to block every effort by the Obama Administration and Democrats to jumpstart the economy, and held recovery hostage to achieve more tax cuts for the rich, eviscerate the public sector workforce, and slash spending to keep the private sector in a perpetual hiring slump. However, President Obama and Democrats foiled Republican’s strategy with the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (stimulus) and payroll tax reduction that bore fruit the economy is still benefitting from. Republicans began the 113th Congress with the same agenda and tactics they used throughout the last session, and their goal is the same; halt recovery, kill jobs, and resort to hostage taking to fulfill their anti-government austerity mission as the economy is improving.

The GOP message coming out of their post-election defeat was a friendlier group not beholden to the richest one-percent of income earners, and strong advocates for the middle class, but regardless cosmetic changes, they are the same Republicans. Thus far, instead of growing the economy and creating jobs, John Boehner pledged the GOP’s primary mission in 2013 is ending abortion, Senate Republicans plan to withhold funding to keep the government running as hostage for a ransom of defunding the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare), and House Republicans for ending the contraception coverage mandate to satisfy religious extremists promoting theocracy. Paul Ryan is expected to reveal a House budget proposal that gives the wealthy tax cuts, privatizes Medicare, and enacts severe austerity measures to impact hiring and create deeper poverty among already struggling Americans. Last week, Republicans celebrated the Koch brothers’ sequestration cuts that guarantee to slow growth, kill jobs, and take food out of the mouths of children, seniors, and the working poor that repeats the entire agenda of the 112th Republican Congress.

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There was good news yesterday when the government reported that unemployment fell to a four-year low of 7.7% with better-than-expected gains in the private sector courtesy of the President’s stimulus, payroll tax reduction, and low tax rates for businesses that Republicans opposed because they knew consumer’s having additional money to spend would spur private sector hiring and create new jobs. The report also put to rest the absurd Republican notion that the only way to create jobs was through deep spending cuts that takes money out of the economy. However, the good news was tempered with a warning that the improved jobs numbers would be short-lived because the Republican sequester cuts will impact hiring and kill anywhere from 400,000 to one million jobs later in the year as a result of the abridged first year of sequestration. The next nine years of sequester cuts will increase by approximately 20% and have a profound effect on jobs and economic growth.

Economists expect the sequestration’s effects to begin in the April jobs report as businesses will be discouraged from hiring in expectation of reduced consumer spending, and warn that the full effects of reduced hiring will be manifest later in the year once austerity cuts have had time to contract economic growth, but Republicans were well aware that enacting austerity during a tepid recovery would kill jobs and retard growth.

The report was good news for the private sector, but public jobs are still decreasing as Republicans have cut federal and state government middle class jobs that drive real economic prosperity and growth. In fact, if public sector jobs like teachers, law enforcement, and federal employees were maintained at the same levels as at the end of 2008, last month’s jobless rate would be 7.2 percent. The public sector workforce has been ravaged over the past four years, and last month 10,000 more jobs were eliminated as spending declined in the never-ending debt and deficit reduction crusade to cut the government.

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In the Senate, teabagger hero Ted Cruz promised to shut down the government unless the Affordable Care Act is defunded, and Republican savior Marco Rubio concurred with Cruz that unless the health law is eliminated by defunding, he too will vote against any continuing resolution to keep the government running. House Republicans have their own ransom to keep the government operational to satisfy evangelicals desperate to end contraception coverage in conjunction with Paul Ryan’s Sanctity for Human Life Act that grants personhood to a single-celled organism. It is the same Republican agenda that Americans suffered through for the past two years and it is predicated on wasting time on issues unrelated to growing the economy and creating jobs, and shutting down the government unless the healthcare law and contraception are eliminated.

Republicans have failed at governance at epic proportions, and are repeating every foul tactic to subvert the economy and kill economic growth they used during the 112th Congress. Defunding the ACA will not create one job any more than criminalizing contraception, privatizing Medicare, or deliberately killing hundreds-of-thousands of jobs through sequestration cuts, but creating jobs was never a Republican priority and they have made it clear that during the 113th Congress their plans and despicable tactics remain unchanged. Republicans can tell Americans they are nicer, working for the middle class, and working to grow the economy, but regardless their self-portrayal as altruists toiling to change their image, they are still pigs, hostage takers, job killers, anti-government religious fanatics, and devout woman-haters and no amount of phony makeup will change who they continue proving they are; enemies of the people.

 

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