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Republican Refusal to Fix the Sequester Has Created a Death Panel For the Poor

Throughout history, human beings have debated, and decided that the power of life and death is not within the purview of human beings except in times of war and in countries that cling to the barbaric practice of capital punishment. It is certainly true that no population would willingly give a government arbitrary power of life and death over its own citizens, and yet it became a popular claim shortly after Barack Obama became President. In 2009, the immutable American idiot, Sarah Palin, propagated what was deemed the “Lie of the Year” when she went around the country declaring the Affordable Care Act would impose a panel of bureaucrats who would hold the power of life and death over Americans.

Republicans however, have assumed the power of life and death over Americans in need of basic sustenance, shelter, and healthcare over the past two years in their pursuit of trickle down fiscal purity, austerity for austerity sake, and Draconian spending cuts targeting safety nets.  Despite warnings the sequester would arbitrarily cut access to food, housing assistance, and healthcare for the elderly, children, and Veterans, Republicans proudly imposed the sequester on the nation as a necessary step to abridge the phony debt crisis they manufactured with valuable assistance from ignorant Democrats anxious to join the austerity frenzy.

For four years, Republicans prevented the government from operating through obstructionism that effectively shut down normal government processes, and yet when their sequester inconvenienced affluent Americans with the horrid prospect of an hour-long flight delay, they jumped into action and passed legislation within a week to unburden their favorite Americans from sharing in the sacrifice the rest of the nation will suffer for over nine more years. However, their quick action did not go unnoticed by other Americans who face hunger, homelessness, and slow painful death as a result of sequestration cuts that are, for all intents and purposes, their version of death panels.

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On Friday, several different cancer clinic doctors lashed out at Congress for making flight delays for the affluent a higher priority than treatment for people dying of cancer. A doctor at a Utah cancer clinic said, “I would invite anyone in Washington to come look my patients in the eye and tell them that waiting for a flight is a bigger problem than waiting longer for chemotherapy,” and although he thinks Republicans may feel some guilt for deliberately withholding life-saving cancer treatment, he is deluded thinking Republicans have a conscience or a modicum of empathy for people dying. Quite the contrary; they have demonstrated a propensity for creating life-threatening conditions for Americans for over four years, and boasted their successes were “common sense” and “good for America.”

As the sequester damage begins taking its toll on Americans, and Republicans gloated over their handiwork of creating life-threatening hardship for the poor, the idea of prioritizing an inconvenience over the survival of American citizens reveals the true inhumanity inherent in Republicans. For elderly and disabled shut-ins who depend on the Meals on Wheels program for basic nutritional survival, going without food is not an inconvenience, it is an existential threat. For poor children thrown out of the Head Start program, or lose access to free school lunches and their family’s pitiful food stamp allotment, the sequester is not an inconvenience, it is the difference between going through the day hungry or having at least one nutritional meal for five days a week while school is in session; as reported in this column on several occasions, many poor  Americans struggle to adequately feed their children when school is not in session, and instead of a handout, they want jobs Republicans are loathe to help create. In fact, the Republicans’ sequester is taking its toll on Americans’ jobs, and instead of quickly passing simple legislation to end sequester cuts and save nearly a million jobs in the first year of the ten year crusade, they halted the affluents’ inconvenience of waiting an hour for a flight.

It is possible Republicans have never witnessed an American ravaged with cancer, or elderly people subsisting on one meal a day courtesy of Meals on Wheels. The sequester savagely cuts housing assistance for senior citizens and poverty-level Americans who will join over a million school-aged children who are homeless and living in cars or tents that Republicans refuse to stop, but can act quickly when the affluent face an hour wait to catch their flights, but will not create one job. They cannot claim ignorance of the job losses their sequester is causing because they aided corporate defense industry facing the prospect of laying off their workforce that had nothing to do with preserving jobs and everything to do with corporate profits. It is important to remember the mindset expressed by House Speaker John Boehner when he was told Republican spending cuts would destroy over a million jobs; he replied so be it, and when the GOP learned their sequestration cuts would kill nearly a million more, they celebrated their victory and boasted that they won an important battle in their economic war; on Americans.

There are no words harsh enough to describe the blatant inhumanity inherent in Republicans, and they cannot claim their Draconian death panels are because America is broke or to corral out-of-control spending. It was recently revealed that although the Defense Department did not request, and does not want or need, an increased number of Abrams tanks, Republicans in Congress are forging ahead and appropriating funds for more because the GOP does not want to inconvenience the corporate defense industry with fewer orders and less profits. The price tag for one tank would feed thousands of senior citizens, homeless Veterans, and hungry school children, but in their never-ending corporate favoritism, Republicans will sacrifice a hundred thousand children and seniors to prevent corporate profits from falling.

President Obama should not sign the Republican legislation to unburden affluent Americans waiting an hour to catch their flights to send a message to Republicans and the rest of the country that every citizen gets to share the sacrifice of the GOP’s sequester cuts. In fact, John Boehner had the audacity to accuse the President of forcing the FAA sequester cuts to impose hardship on the affluent for political expediency just prior to assembling Republicans make sure there would be a rapid resolution and relief for overburdened air travelers. Boehner and other Republicans also slammed the President’s budget proposal because among other things like spending on Veterans, infrastructure, and education, the budget replaced the sequester with balanced cuts to relieve all Americans from the ten-year sequester Republicans celebrated with great aplomb. One thing is certain, as the sequester inconveniences more of the GOP’s affluent supporters, they will, without hesitation, quickly pass legislation to guarantee that the only Americans suffering inhumane sequester cuts will be the sick, hungry, and homeless until they make the ultimate sacrifice and succumb to the sequester death panels.


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