No-one likes to have pain exacted on them for an offense or a fault regardless they are guilty or not, but punishment can serve as a form of discipline when it inflicts pain to correct bad behavior and train the offender to abide by the rules. Indiscriminate punishment serves no useful purpose because it does not correct bad behavior that never existed, or train the innocent to abandon fallacious crimes, but nonetheless, there are people who seem to enjoy inflicting pain for the purpose of inflicting pain. Republicans have imposed a world of pain on the American people over the past four years, and they have never designated whether it is to train the people or correct some egregious sin leaving even semi-intelligent people to surmise they just enjoy meting out pain on the people they are elected to serve.
Republicans are wont to claim their Draconian austerity is, first and foremost, necessary to address their own deficit the Iraq war, tax cuts for the rich, and prescription plan burdened the country’s economy with, and yet they have waged a ferocious battle to cut the wealthy’s taxes more under the guise of job creation and various other baseless excuses. Republicans in the House will vote again to punish the American people with the third iteration of Paul Ryan’s Path to Prosperity budget that cuts spending by $4.6 trillion Ryan argues is necessary because Democrats have not given Republicans any spending cuts in exchange for $1.6 trillion in new revenue Republicans accepted with grace and dignity. Ryan is lying, as usual, to justify inflicting more pain on the American people for the sheer joy of giving the richest 1% nearly 15% in tax cuts, killing more jobs, and sending more Americans into poverty.
It is unclear where, or how, Ryan came up with the $1.6 trillion in new taxes, but the real figure is $600 billion President Obama had to fight and claw out of Republicans in the fiscal cliff deal in December by raising the tax rate 4.9% on the richest Americans. However, as long as he is going to lie, Ryan may as well tack on an extra trillion dollars of new revenue to belabor Republicans’ tired assertion that the President overtaxes the American people. The tax increase is the first new revenue the country has had since 2001 when Bush cut the wealthy’s taxes and squandered a budget surplus prior to taking the country into two unfunded and unnecessary wars. Ryan’s budget will remedy new fiscal cliff revenue by giving it back to the rich, and adding an extra 10% cut while the middle class and working poor contribute more with tax reform that eliminates tax deductions and credits for families.
The real mystery though, is how Ryan can say with a straight face that the poor Republicans have not received the spending cuts they claim will create jobs and save the economy. Ryan was a major player in reaping $2.1 trillion in cuts during the debt ceiling hostage situation in 2011, and he championed the sequestration cuts that add another $1.2 trillion as it kills close to one million jobs in the first year of a ten year austerity assault. The sequestration cuts have already garnered layoffs, pink slips, furlough days, and cutbacks nationwide as it begins eliminating middle class jobs so Republicans can boast they are creating jobs by killing jobs and taking money out of the economy their dysfunctional supporters will rally behind. However, some conservatives are not thrilled about the level of austerity and cuts in Ryan’s budget.
The American Enterprise Institute, Heritage Foundation, and other conservative belief tanks are condemning Ryan’s austerity bomb because it does not rape and pillage Medicare and Social Security; privatization and voucher scams do not inflict enough pain on seniors to count for a good pillaging. One Republican member of the House, Paul Broun, is upset Ryan is not eliminating the Departments of Energy and Education, or slashing Medicare and Social Security and said, “It fails to seriously address runaway government spending, the most pressing problem facing our nation. I cannot vote for something that would trick the American people into thinking that Congress is fixing Washington’s spending problem, when in actuality we’d just be allowing it to continue without end.” It is too bad fiscal geniuses like Broun and conservative belief tanks are unaware spending is at its lowest point since demobilization after World War II, but that knowledge would ruin the canard that spending growth is at historically high levels. Broun’s outrage represents a growing number of conservatives who believe that until the government is completely defunded and Americans really suffer, Washington will have a spending problem.
Americans can hardly take any more Republican punitive discipline just to reward the rich. The level of spending cuts they have levied on the people has already taken food and healthcare away from the least fortunate Americans to give the richest 1% more entitlements – for being rich, and the people suffered job-killing cuts that took money out of the economy and slowed GDP growth in the fourth quarter of 2012. Maybe Americans could accept, and appreciate, Republicans’ severe austerity, job losses, and more poverty if Republicans would tell them what they did to deserve such severe punishment, because Americans are good people who take responsibility when they break the rules and fail to correct their bad behavior. However, without any good reasons for their harsh austerity, it appears they are just punishing the people to benefit the rich, break the government, and inflict pain for sheer enjoyment, and there is nothing the President or Democrats can do but stand firm for a trillion dollars more in deficit reduction starting with those pesky Medicare and Social Security entitlements.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.