Traditional Republican policies do not put country over party but rather turn back the clock on the American Revolution.
Over the last July 4 holiday, in an infamous moment inspiring public outrage, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was captured on film enjoying a public beach with his family. His family were the only ones on the beach, as the beach had been closed to the public because the state, due largely to a Christie veto, had failed to pass a budget, preventing funds from being disbursed to public parks.
So, Christie was able to enjoy a private family day on the beach at the expense of New Jersey citizens, who had been given no reprieve from their state tax obligations but who, nonetheless, could not access the supposedly public services their taxes were funding.
While some have interpreted this scene as evidence of Christie’s simply no longer caring, we really need to understand it as more than an isolated political scandal. Rather, we need to understand this moment as emblematic of a larger GOP strategy evident not only in the current tax bill but also in other policies, such as healthcare, that involve government spending. And it’s not new to this Presidential administration but rather than an ongoing Republican project this administration adopted.
The dynamic we see at work might best be characterized as a “feed the beast, starve the people” strategy.
It is important to name this dynamic to recognize that the once dominant mantra of Americans for Tax Reform czar Grover Norquist, “Starve the beast,” is no longer the order of the day in conservative politics. Norquist was simply an anti-tax zealot who advocated for withering the state by starving it of revenues.
Now the order of the day is for congressional leaders to use government to enrich themselves while effectively feeding off the people who, as we see in Christie’s beach episode, continue to pay taxes for services they longer receive.
Sometimes this dynamic is masked by seductive tax cuts which actually end up leaving less in taxpayer’s wallets than if their taxes hadn’t been cut, as vital services their taxes used to pay for, working collectively with others’ taxes, get cut.
More obscenely, though, yet more characteristic of contemporary dynamics, is that we the taxpayer to continue paying taxes for fewer and fewer services, as those funds are going to feed the greed of a political class and wealthy elite working hand in hand.
Those of us living in the state of Illinois can explain this dynamic well, having lived it. We have fed the beast and been starved.
Up until last July when Republican legislators finally rebelled against Republican Governor Bruce Rauner and passed a budget, the state had been without a budget for two years and was beyond being on the verge of disaster; the state was and is a disaster, still reeling from a near total crumbling. Social services were gutted at great human expense to seniors, children, and families; and public educational institutions, particularly public universities and colleges, were not receiving their typical allocations, leading to thousands of layoffs and, by extension, higher tuitions and less programs and services.
Keep in mind that all of this happened not because the state didn’t have money. Illinois workers continued to have state taxes deducted from their paychecks, so the state had incoming revenue. Rather, because a budget had not been passed, monies could not be disbursed.
So, Illinois workers continued to pay the same taxes but received far less in public services such as education, healthcare, childcare services, and more, also leading to the unemployment of many state workers, worsening the situation.
Meanwhile, the bills the state wasn’t paying, not because it didn’t have money but because it didn’t have budget, were accruing hundreds of millions of dollars in late fees and interest, for which the taxpayers were on the hook but for which they were receiving no goods and services in return.
Taxpayers are feeding the beast but not getting what they’re paying for. The intensified deficit spending, fueled by recent tax cuts to those least in need, will create a similar dynamic on the national level.
Following in Rauner’s footsteps, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez last April abused her veto power similarly, denying funding to higher education. Though later restored, the loss of funding would have resulted in higher tuitions and less programs across the board in public education.
On the national level, we can see this dynamic in the way the Federal Government has managed the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.
Well before Donald Trump announced last October he would completely stop paying the Obamacare subsidies, which helped keep health insurance premiums down and allowed companies to stay in the exchanges, Congress, according to former health insurance CEO J.B. Silvers, had already reneged on its promises to pay subsidies, having paid only 12% of its pledge. The result of Congress not disbursing the taxpayer money allotted for these subsidies, according to Silvers, was severe market de-stabilization that generated higher premiums and drove companies—and thus competition—out of the exchanges.
Again, taxpayers fulfilled their obligations, feeding the beast, but the beastly herd of politicians did not disburse those funds as promised, as they were allocated. Taxpayers feed the beast, and are starved in return.
Even the modest tax cuts the recent Tax Cut and Jobs Act offers to ordinary people—and for the some taxes will increase—promise to result, finally, in a debit. According to the
Tax Policy Center
Paul Krugman dismantled 35 years of failed Republican economic policy in two minutes during a debate with Grover Norquist.
Rauner is falling in with the strategy we have seen from Sam Brownback in Kansas, Scott Walker in Wisconsin, and Rick Snyder in Michigan
The Kochs are ready to outspend the Republican Party in putting forth candidates THEY approve of in 2016, like Rand Paul and Ted Cruz
Even though most Republican governors are wary of going all-in on tax cuts for the rich and corporations like trickle-down failure Kansas governor Sam Brownback, they are going all in to raise taxes on their poor and middle class residents to avoid putting any "financial strain" on their wealthiest donors and their corporations.
By blocking the workforce's efforts at creating a works council at the Chattanooga plant, Republicans also blocked VW expansion for Tennessee and the entire southern United States.
Republicans resorted to treachery and trickery to avoid having a Chattanooga Volkswagen plant become the first unionized foreign carmaker in the South.
Besides a clarion call for confederate rebels to oppose Northern invaders, the Republican interference in a private business is sheer hypocrisy when they claim to be champions of free enterprise and oppose government interference with business.
The Founding Fathers were well aware that America could not survive without revenue to fund the government, but that is not the long term goal of the Koch brothers, Rafael Cruz, and Grover Norquist.
Beck says he will reveal the "background and workings" of Norquist and this is "just the beginning." Oooooh. Beckian ominous with icing on top
The current Republican government shutdown is what teabaggers came to Washington to do; "break the government of the United States."
One would think that the idea of deliberately crashing the economy would not garner much support, but an overwhelming majority of Republicans want their party to cause an economic catastrophe.
The conservative movement has called for war on government to transform the nation to fit their vision, and they have used extortion to induce Republicans to use extortion to achieve their goals.
It is high time to demand an investigation into Republicans in Congress and take appropriate action to remove them from office.
Republicans have made no secret underfunding the IRS is punitive for what they cite as inappropriate actions over the phony scandal when IRS employees scrutinizing political groups.
Cathie Adams' stunning conclusion that Grover Norquist is a Muslim because he has a beard, left me speechless despite five years of Tea Party stupidity
Grover Norquist tried to defend his pet congressmen and women while simultaneously branding President Obama as an enemy of liberty
The Republicans' love affair with an anti-tax agenda goes back to before the Reagan era, and has persisted as the GOP embraced the lunacy of supply-side economics.
Grover Norquist made a fool out himself by demanding a return to the Reagan era tax rates, which were higher than taxes are under President Obama.