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Two weeks ago, I finally created a Twitter account for the blog: @MugsysRapSheet. When you first create your account, you are given the opportunity to add people based upon your interests. As a self-described Conservative watchdog, I decided @KarlRove was among the people I should follow. The first “tweet” I received from “Turd Blossom” was:

Did Obama forget the 700,000 seniors who lost their #Medicare Advantage when he said “Granny is safe?” http://on.wsj.com/gFYENO – 3 Feb

I wanted to reply: “Medicare ‘Advantage’ is not ‘Medicare’, Turd Blossom”, but I knew it would be pointless. The subject of Republican adoration for “Medicare Advantage” while showing nothing but disdain for “Medicare” has become a pet-peeve of mine since those teanut “Health Care Town Hall” riots in 2009.

On Monday, President Obama released his 2012 Federal Budget, which includes a $2.5 billion cut to LIHEAP (Heating Oil cost assistance), $300 million from community-development grants, and Pell Grants (college tuition for the poor) for Summer classes is to be cut by $100 billion over 10 years. On the positive side, the Obama Administration proposed no cuts to Medicare or Social Security (to the consternation of Republicans) and freezes Defense spending, saving $78 Billion over the next five years, doable by winding down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

After (literally) years of whining about the size of the Deficit that they created, Republicans suddenly found their inner deficit-hawk AFTER a Democrat took the White House, demanding that we cut spending and start “living within our means” in order to get the Debt/Deficit down. Of course, when a Republican becomes president (I almost said “elected”), suddenly we have Dick Cheney telling us “Reagan proved Deficits don’t really matter” (to which Fed Chairman Greenspan responded: “On the contrary, deficits very much DO matter.” – July 15, 2003) to defend the Bush Tax Cuts. Did you hear Republicans saying “deficits don’t matter” when defending extending the Bush Tax Cuts last December? Did you hear anyone on Fox repeat that quote of Cheney’s during their “100th Birthday Reagan-palooza”?

So, how do we get the deficit down? Ask any Conservative and they start talking about “cutting Medicare & Medicaid“. They want to slash food stamps, cut education, oh, and while we’re at it, how ’bout we raise the retirement age (like millions aren’t ALREADY working well past retirement just to make ends meet?)

Meanwhile, the GOP threatens to shutdown the government if they don’t get $858 BILLION in tax cuts over two years for the richest people in the country. (Nine Pictures of the Extreme Income/Wealth Gap).

While demanding massive cuts to every social program and government service that aids the poor, the real hypocrisy is Republican support for businesses that couldn’t survive without BILLIONS in government largess, all the while calling President Obama a “Socialist” and attacking people on unemployment and welfare as “freeloaders” lounging away in… what Rep. Paul Ryan… in his State of the Union Response… described as the “hammock” of government entitlements.

Republican despise the poor. Period. I can’t say it any plainer than that. In his 1984 re-election bid, Ronald Reagan decried the fictitious “welfare queen”… some mysterious woman, claiming to be poor, receiving a welfare check and food stamps, while living in a mansion and driving a Cadillac. No such person was ever found, but that doesn’t stop Conservatives from citing “her” to this very day. Myself, I’ve challenged Conservatives FOR YEARS to name ONE GOP “policy” in the last 30 years that benefited the “poor” or “middle class” more than the “rich”? They can’t. They can’t because Republicans don’t do ANYTHING for the poor and working-class without catering to the “rich” first and promising it will eventually “trickle down” to the rest of us. Radio host Thom Hartmann likes to say that “trickle down economics creates a nation of ‘pee-ons’.”

Last weekend on Fox “news” Sunday, host Chris Wallace asked his guest Rep. Paul Ryan:

“You keep saying we need to cut the deficit, but all the cuts you’ve mentioned up to now are to Discretionary spending which make up only 15% of the Federal Budget [actually it’s 12%]. What about ‘Entitlements’? Medicare & Medicaid make up 40% of the Federal Budget. Because, as (famous old West bank robber) Willie Sutton once said, ‘that’s where the money is’.”

The Right loves to quote “Willie Sutton” in this very context ALL. THE. TIME. when it comes to slashing entitlements. The irony of quoting a bank robber when talking about “entitlement reform” is lost on them. Ryan hemmed and hawed, talked about what the GOP has “always done in the past”, but never really answered the question.

But make no mistake. The same Party that actually campaigned on “saving (the wildly successful government-funded health insurance program created by Democrats, which the GOP has sought to destroy for decades) Medicare from the Democrats” were actually referring to… as Turd Blossom clearly pointed out… “Medicare Advantage“: the privatized HMO-based alternative that double-bills the Federal Government for hundreds of billions of dollars each year. If it weren’t for all those Federal tax dollars being poured into these HMO’s, they’ve have to raise their rates for everyone else.

Former Senator Alan Simpson, now co-chairing President Obama’s “Deficit Commission”, referred to Americas entitlements as “a cow with 300 Million tits”. And “the only way to bring the deficit under control” is to slash entitlements like Medicare & Medicaid… programs that millions of seniors and the disabled depend upon to survive. (ie: Target the poor.) And if that weren’t bad enough, the Obama White House… pandering to the Right… has actually shown consideration for Simpson’s cuts to Social Security.

A fellow blogger (I forget who exactly) recently mentioned attending a NASCAR event for the first time in his life. He noticed that just about everywhere he looked, he saw people riding around in those motorized scooters. When he asked a local about them, he was told about how everyone was getting them for free through Medicare. It’s an entire industry that would otherwise barely exist if it weren’t for all these companies billing Medicare… “sucking off the government tit” as it were.

And it’s not just the Scooter makers, there’s the Diabetes-maintenance crowd. It’s Wilford Brimley selling those “glucose meters” and “test strips” you see advertised on TV every day “all at no cost to you”. Even “free home delivery”. It’s a (costly) symptom of the obesity epidemic in this country, and tackling that problem… which could not only save lives but save the government BILLIONS in Medicare payments to doctors for treatment as well as from having to pay for all these scooters and diabetes products… has been the focus of the First Lady. The Republican response? “Pedestrian deaths are up thanks to Michelle Obama telling people to walk more.”

(It bears mentioning here that one of the reasons Republicans say this nonsense that they’d defend if a Republican did it, is because they know it presses Democrats buttons. Republicans are “provocateurs”, and they’ll frequently say things they can’t defend or don’t entirely believe themselves simply to get a rise out of weenie Democrats that never learned how to push back. I push back. – Mugsy)

In Arizona, Republican governor Jan Brewer came under severe criticism for cutting one million dollars from the states’ Medicaid fund for organ transplants. You want a “Death Panel”? 98 people were suddenly told they would have to find tens of thousands of dollars to pay for their transplants themselves. Meanwhile, the state was paying $6 million for a new privately run prison system. Not only do these “businesses” cost WAY more than a State-run system, but the companies then lobby the government to pass more and more laws that increase chances of imprisonment, and as a result increase their revenues. The increased costs of pursuing, arresting, prosecuting and then imprisoning all these new “offenders” also costs the government millions in tax dollars. But it all goes to “private industry”, so Republicans love it. All hail Privatization!

But “scooters”, “glucose meters”, even privately run prisons, are nothing when it comes to the grand-daddy of all corporate welfare queens… the Defense Industry… which wouldn’t exist without Billions in federal tax dollars that… until recently… no one on the Right has been willing to cut. Republicans LOVE to call the Stimulus “a failure”, and complain bitterly about the government “spending money to create jobs”. “Socialism!” they cry. But talk to them about slashing Defense Spending, and they’ll tell you about how many “JOBS” it would cost their state… not a one of which would exist if it weren’t for the Federal Government. Last week, despite his own call for a ban on Earmarks, House Majority Leader Boehner demanded (but failed to get) a pork-barrel Defense project that the Pentagon didn’t even want, which benefits his home state: $450 million for the construction of a Joint Strike Fighter jet engine. Excuse me, but I thought that using government money to create jobs was “Socialism”? Of course, as soon as it was obvious Congress was going to can his pork like generic Spam, the Boehner quickly found religion on job-creating pork, telling reporters Tuesday, “If government jobs are lost due to spending cuts, so be it.” Ah, nothing like “Compassionate Conservatism” at work.

Recently, Republicans nearly derailed ratification of the “START Treaty” with Russia to reduce our nuclear stockpiles because it didn’t provide funding for updating our aging nuclear missile stockpiles.

We all know Blackwater (now called “Xe”), the military contractor that sent armed thugs answerable to no one into war zones to play soldier. And don’t forget Halliburton, another government contractor that provided contaminated food, tainted drinking water, and faulty construction projects in Iraq. Kellogg, Brown & Root (KBR), a subsidiary of Halliburton, built showers with faulty wiring that electrocuted a soldier in January, 2008. Yet, both companies remain on the government payroll to this day.

In his State of the Union address, President Obama remarked that maybe it was time to consider we stop paying billions in subsides to oil companies. What a novel thought. Exxon/Mobile reported the highest profits of any corporation in history last year. And not only did they not pay one dime in Federal income taxes thanks to tax cuts, credits & loopholes, WE PAID THEM billions in subsidies for drilling & research. Talk about your “welfare queens”.

(UPDATE: Bloomberg reported on Feb.23 that, in response to President Obama’s suggestion that we stop stop giving massive tax payer subsidies to THE MOST PROFITABLE INDUSTRY ON THE FACE OF THE PLANET, the American Petroleum Institute (API) is going to step up giving tens of millions in political donations to Republicans and oil-friendly Democrats to stop the White House from cutting off their Welfare checks.)

ThinkProgress recommends the White House consider getting rid of “farm” subsidies for “Big Agribusiness”. The Federal government “paid out a quarter of a trillion dollars in federal farm subsidies between 1995 and 2009. […] Just ten percent of America’s largest and richest farms collect almost three-fourths of these subsidies.”

The fiscal crisis on Wall Street resulted in President Bush’s Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson to ask Congress for $700 Billion to bail out the banks and the brokerage firms, and he got it (and now, Republicans blame Obama for it). But when the auto industry needed less than 1/500th that amount to save a million jobs, the GOP accused President Obama of “taking over the auto industry”.

Welfare, Unemployment insurance, Food Stamps, Medicaid, Medicare, Pell Grants, Head Start, LIHEAP… if it helps the poor, it’s a “hammock” for free-loaders while suckling from the “tit” of the American Taxpayer, according to the GOP. But hundreds of billions in “tax cuts”, “subsidies”, “government contracts” and corporate welfare… which could fund those other services hundreds of times over… are “verboten” when it comes to things Conservatives are willing to cut to reduce the Deficit they claim to be so worried about. Because to them, giving money to the most profitable corporation in the history of the planet is a worthwhile investment.

Meanwhile, Republicans accuse President Obama of seeking to “redistribute the wealth”, when in fact, it is The GOP “redistributing the wealth”… UP… from the poor to the very rich.
 


 
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