In a purely generic sense, theft is the name for any crime in which a person intentionally and fraudulently takes something from another person without permission or consent; often with the intent of converting it for the “taker’s use;” including potentially to sell. Theft is different from larceny because it encompasses many forms of deceitful taking of something including swindling, embezzling, or using false pretenses to steal something. It is difficult to imagine that very many Americans actually approve of thievery, or thieves, and yet a fair number of Americans vote for politicians to rob Americans of everything they have. For the past six years, Republicans have attempted to steal everything from the people, regardless of what it is, to fulfill the Koch brothers’ vision for America.
Anyone who has been following politics over the past 20 years, at least, is aware that Republicans have not passed or supported one piece of legislation that did not entail stealing something from the people. Oh it is true that Republicans are generous to a fault to their wealthy supporters, but part-and-parcel of their gifts to the rich and corporations are that their gifts and largesse are made-up of what Republicans robbed from the American people. The Constitution is clear that Congress is empowered to collect taxes to fund legislation Congress passes “for the general welfare of the people,” and yet anti-government Republicans pride themselves in using the legislative process to take from the people.
Last year, Speaker of the House John Boehner admitted that Republicans should be proud of, and be judged positively for, “how many laws benefitting the people we eliminated.” Boehner said Republicans just “don’t do all that nonsense” of passing laws for the people. “Unpopular? Yes. Why? Because we’re fighting for what we believe in.” What Republicans believe in according to their first week in control of Congress is that the Koch brothers bought both legislative chambers to allow Republicans to begin a string of robberies that affect the entire population; save the wealthy elite.
It is amazing that Republicans who could not pass any legislation last year, spent the first four days of the 114th Congress stealing from women, retired and disabled Americas, large corporations’ employees, and various government departments and the Executive Branch. It is noteworthy that none of the legislation or rule changes enacted by Republicans provide anything for the population, but then again that is not why they wanted control of Congress. They already pledged to their wealthy donors that their intent was to take from the people and the federal government to give to the rich and powerful and they kept their promise.
It is impossible to account for everything Republicans intend on stealing from the people in their first week’s activities, but there are a few specific groups who stand to lose something major. Due to their inclination to pander to the religious right, Republicans followed up their 2011 crusade to rob women of their healthcare rights with another theft of their right to reproductive health care. This week Republicans introduced a ridiculous proposal to ban abortions because evangelicals assert (falsely) that fetuses experience pain at 20 weeks; even though at 20 weeks a fetus’s nervous system is undeveloped. Although Republicans are “taking” a woman’s legal right to choose her own reproductive health, there is no material reward for religious fanatics who elected Republicans to take women’s rights away. Evangelicals will gain nothing except a greater measure of control over women that is as important to the righteous and Catholic bishops as tangible property or money; it is precisely why the Founding Fathers did not create America as a Christian theocracy.
Republicans also passed a rule banning the transfer of funds within the Social Security Trust to rob beneficiaries of their rightful due, and to hasten a GOP-created crisis to privatize Social Security. Wall Street, the Koch brothers, ALEC and the Heritage Foundation have lusted to get their hands on Americans’ retirement accounts, not just Social Security either, that Republicans are ready to hand over to Wall Street. The Koch brothers have tasked ALEC and its sister organization, the State Policy Network, to create legislation in the states to rob retirement funds and transform the money into tax cuts for the rich; it is exactly what Sam Brownback is doing in Kansas.
Although not legislation, Republicans did create some drastic new rule to facilitate stealing from the masses to enrich the wealthy. The rule change to how the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) scores tax cuts for the rich and tax hikes on the poor and middle class is theft of the CBO’s economists’ ability to objectively assess tax and program cuts. Paul Ryan and Republicans devised the CBO rule change in part to justify what they call “expanding the tax base” to steal more from the poor and middle class in the form of tax hikes to pay for tax cuts for the rich and corporations.
To be fair to thieving Republicans, they were in a giving mood, but it entailed theft of the President’s authority as head of the Executive Branch that is effectively theft of America’s constitutional rule of law. The gift resulting from robbing the President of his authority is passing legislation to approve the construction permit for a foreign entity’s pipeline crossing America’s border. American people will gain nothing from the Keystone legislation, but the Kochs, TransCanada, and Speaker John Boehner will profit handsomely.
What may be one of the greatest thefts this past week by Republicans was a House bill withholding funding for immigration enforcement within a Department of Homeland Security funding measure. Not only is there is no gain for any American except for conservatives’ glee at taking Presidential authority away from Barack Obama, Republicans are robbing Americans of their security in even threatening immigration enforcement or Homeland Security funding. Republicans have been on a tear to rob the President of Executive Branch authority since January 2009, but the latest attempted theft is not because the President did anything about immigration enforcement that every Republican president has not already done multiple times, but because he is Black.
It is certain that there are other Republican machinations in the very near future to steal more from the people, including a functioning federal government according to the Constitution. It is a very bad sign indeed that Republicans spent their first week in control of Congress passing and proposing legislation, and making rule changes, that are founded on how much they can steal from the American people to give to the rich and religious. However, there was, or is, no reason to assume they would do anything different than they have done in the past and it is why they are no better than criminals prone to recidivism. Until Republicans are convicted and punished for stealing from the American people, they will repeat their crimes with increasing frequency because they have just enough support from criminally inhumane voters who are too stupid to realize they are being robbed and ignorant enough to think they will share in the stolen bounty.
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.