07.20.11

Dewhurst announces for Senate, commits to gutting Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.

Posted in 2012 Primary, Around The Nation, Around The State, Had Enough Yet?, Right Wing Lies, Taxes, The Budget, The Economy, US Senate Race at 1:35 pm by wcnews

Here’s part of what GOP Texas Lt. Governor David Dewhurst had to say yesterday when he announced he was running for US Senate.

Now there’s one issue we need to discuss right now. The current debate in Washington over raising our debt limit. Washington is addicted to debt. It’s maxed-out all of our credit cards, and it’s asking for more with no strings attached. And I’m not gonna go along with that. This past session we passed out of the legislature a resolution requiring Congress to pass a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution. And my first act as a candidate for the Senate I’m going to sign the Cut, Cap, and Balance pledge. Committing to vote to cut federal spending, cap the growth of government, and support a strong balanced budget amendment to our constitution. It’s conservative, it’s common sense, and it’s in keeping with the way we’ve been governing our great state of Texas. Because what we really need to do is run the federal government like we run Texas.

There’s a whole lot of non-sense in there.  And there’s also a whole lot of market tested BS, that “sounds good”, but will in reality only do what it is that Republicans do  – enrich themselves and their wealthy/corporate donors, and bring a whole lot of pain to poor, working, and middle class Americans.

Lt. Gov. Dewhurst wants to inflict on our nation what he, Gov. Rick Perry, and his party have already inflicted on Texas.  Anyone not familiar with what they have done should read this, Texas on the Brink.

In Texas today, the American dream is distant. Texas has the highest percentage of uninsured children in the nation. Texas is dead last in the percentage of residents with their high school diploma and near last in SAT scores. Texas has America’s dirtiest air. If we do not change course, for the first time in our history, the Texas generation of tomorrow will be less prosperous than the generation of today.

Without the courage to invest in the minds of our children and steadfast support for great schools, we face a daunting prospect. Those who value tax cuts over children and budget cuts over college have put Texas at risk in her ability to compete and succeed.

That was written in February 2011. Those numbers, as bad as they are, are only going to get worse because of the budget that Dewhurst helped pass this session. He doesn’t mind because his taxes and those of his wealthy/corporate donors will not go up. The only thing that will rise is the pain of poor, working, and middle class Texans.

As Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) stated, Balanced Budget Amendment is a backward step, the GOP scheme that Dewhurst has signed onto will also hurt Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

[A balanced budget] amendment would impose arbitrary, reckless budget caps that would – without a doubt – force massive cuts to Medicare, Social Security and other crucial benefits. At the same time, it would constitutionally protect wasteful loopholes and tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires. [Emphasis added]

To meet an arbitrary spending cap frozen at 18 percent of Gross Domestic Product, it would shrink benefits and services back to levels not seen since 1966. In 1966, Medicare was one year old and there were 100 million fewer people in this country.

For those who think rewinding 45 years is a good thing, consider how much America has changed since 1966. For example, life expectancy is 9 years longer today than it was 45 years ago.

Medicare has allowed Americans to live longer, healthier lives. This legislation would roll back that progress.

And it would enshrine in the Constitution a set of priorities so backward, even Republican advisors to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush have called it unwise.

In the first decade alone, it would mean more than $3,000 a year in cuts to each senior’s Social Security check. It would slash our social safety net, decimating Medicaid and cutting Medicare benefits by $2,500 for every senior.

In fact, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office says that within 25 years, it will slash government benefits and services in half. That includes Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, veterans’ benefits and every other government service, no matter how essential.

Yet it would make it almost impossible to end even the most wasteful tax breaks and loopholes already in place, such as handouts to oil companies making record profits, corporations that ship jobs overseas, and rich people who buy yachts or and private jets. It would require a two-thirds majority in both houses of Congress to raise even a penny of new revenue.

The sad part is many Texans, who normally vote for Republicans and in the GOP primary, will not see this as the phony political ploy that it is.

As we’ve noted before, a balanced budget amendment would force the government to make economic downturns worse, by slashing spending when the economy needs support. Under a balanced budget amendment, the radical House Republican budget authored by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) would be unconstitutional, as it doesn’t cut spending fast enough.

Bill Hoagland, a budget adviser to Republican leaders from 1982 to 2007, called the amendment “a political cheap shot,” while Scott Galupo, a former staffer for Boeher, has called the idea “quite simply, insane.”

Bruce Bartlett, a former economic adviser for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, noted that the amendment is a phony solution to the budget mess that allows Republicans to support a balanced budget while not having to “support anything politically unpopular.” Indeed, as the Republicans quoted above make clear, they really have no idea how they’d balance the budget; they just want it to magically balance itself.

But as we all know in Texas right now, if a candidate wants to win the GOP Primary, the more insane the better. This is just one more thing that highlights how the politics and the economic debate, in our state and nation, have been turned upside down. At this point it’s hard to see how things get turned right-side up again without a total economic meltdown.

The problem with our economy is not that deficits are too high.  The reality is that the federal government, during an economic downturn, should be spending more putting people to work, creating demand.  Just listen to the economists, Dearth of Demand Seen Behind Weak Hiring.

The main reason US companies are reluctant to step up hiring was scant demand, rather than uncertainty over government policies, according to a majority of economists in a new survey published Monday in the Wall Street Journal.

“There is no demand,” Paul Ashworth of Capital Economics said. “Businesses aren’t confident enough, and the longer this goes on the harder it is to convince them that they should be.”

Here’s a simple explanation of what is currently happening with our economy. People can’t buy stuff if they don’t have jobs. Businesses won’t hire until people start buying stuff. That means the only way to get money to people to buy things, so businesses will hire, is for the government to do it. By paying people to fix our crumbling infrastructure, teach our children, protect our cities and counties, etc..

But passing another phony GOP scheme, by bringing Texas austerity to the federal government, and gutting Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, like Dewhurst wants to, is only going to make our economy much worse.

Further Reading:
Starving the Beast: Cut, Cap and Balance.
Republican ‘Cut, Cap, And Balance’ Plan Would Require A 25 Percent Cut In Every Government Program.
Now What?! House Passes DOA ‘Cut, Cap, Balance’ Bill — Now About That Debt Limit…

2 Comments »

  1. Texas Progressive Alliance Weekly Round Up « Doing My Part for the Left said,

    July 25, 2011 at 10:06 am

    [...] WCNews at Eye On Williamson posts on the Lt. Gov.’s latest move, Dewhurst announces for Senate, commits to gutting Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. [...]

  2. Eye on Williamson » Texas Blog Round Up (July 25, 2011) said,

    July 25, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    [...] WCNews at Eye On Williamson posts on the Lt. Gov.’s latest move, Dewhurst announces for Senate, commits to gutting Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. [...]

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