It’s Still An “F”
In fourteen years of teaching I never had a student re-type and resubmit a paper that I had given an “F” expecting me not only to fail to recognize it, but to give a better grade for exactly the same work. That’s what Congressional Republicans did yesterday when they came to the steps of the Capital for a rally and then with great flourish unveiled the same old ideas that they have been pushing for 30 years. If a student had tried that with me, I would have not only required them to come to my office for a conference on the matter, I would have given them a worse grade the second time around. I guess that would not be a lofty “F,” but a Zero!
How can the GOP be so dense, not to mention stubborn? Not only do they still not get it, they are now exhibiting a level of stubbornness that would make George W. Bush look downright flexible. Bush repeatedly said that he didn’t listen to polls of Americans, nor did he follow them. But there is one poll that actually counts in this nation, and that is the official election-day poll that the American voters participate in every other November.
That’s when we, the bosses of our government, give our grade on how things are going and what we want in the way of change and improvement. This past November, the voters of the United States of America sent a clear message to their elected leaders that they were absolutely and completely disgusted with the direction that Republicans were taking our country. The response of the Republican Party has been one of stubborn deafness. They have repeatedly demonstrated since November that they not only disagree with the verdict of the people of the US, but are absolutely unwilling to respond to the will of the people.
What was the message coming from the Republicans in Congress on Wednesday? It was, simply put, “Stay the course!” That was the maddening motto of the Bush Administration over the past eight years. No matter how bad things got, George W. Bush kept doing exactly the same thing that led us down the path we were struggling on.
The war in Iraq not going well? “Stay the course.” The unemployment picture going badly? “Stay the course.” Jobs disappearing overseas? “That’s free enterprise in a global economy, baby! Stay the course!” FEMA botching rescue and recovery operations in New Orleans? “You’re doing a heckuva job, Brownie. Stay the course!” Sweetheart-deal contractors using their no-bid contracts to rob the US Treasury with no oversight? “Stay the course!” No access to affordable health care for uninsured citizens and their children? “Stay the course!” Schools crumbling and teaching “religious fundamentalism” as science? “Stay the course!” Global warming becoming not a myth but a scientific reality? “Drill, baby, drill! Stay the course!”
Whatever problems the everyday people of the United States have now or had over the past eight years, the Republicans have sat back and done nothing, “staying the course” as we spiraled towards a financial meltdown brought on by their failure to utilize the laws on the books to regulate the banks and financial institutions of Wall Street.
Preaching a mantra of low taxes for the wealthiest individuals and corporations among us, the Republicans in Congress and the Bush Administration facilitated an unprecedented transfer of wealth to the top of the social heap, claiming that to be the only road to prosperity for Average Joe out here in the workforce. The idea was that once the rich and powerful had their fill, they would trickle the excess down onto the rest of us, and magically we, too, could join in the prosperity.
The problem, of course, is now plain to see. The rich and powerful had an insatiable appetite for even more. So they used their influence and power to further rig the system so that they could profit at the expense of the American People and escape a great many of the taxes that they would have had to pay before the Republicans gave them a fat tax cut. And the so-called trickle never came down on the workers and average people of our nation. While the rich and powerful lined their pockets and increased their net worth, the working man of middle America saw his paycheck unchanged and his net worth go down.
So Wednesday the Republican Party sent a new face, Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, out to release an old plan, hoping that we, the American People, wouldn’t notice that it was the same old idea they have been espousing for the past 30 years. Tax cuts for the rich – they say to create jobs – and a moratorium on social spending. Another plea to “privatize” Social Security, and reform Medicaid and Medicare – except they didn’t use those words, they used the more clandestine term “entitlement programs.” And let us not forget that they also want to further deregulate the financial sector in the pursuit of the “core values” of our Founding Fathers. In other words, the Republican Budget proposal should have been titled, “STAY THE COURSE FOREVER!”
Thankfully, a poll released on Tuesday clearly shows that when asked who they trust to handle the budget, President Obama or the Republicans in Congress, the response was overwhelmingly pro-Obama and anti-Congressional Republicans. I am glad to see that the American People have awakened, and are unwilling to “stay the course” on a failed economic policy.
The Republicans seem only to be muttering to themselves these days, as they hearken back to the good old days of the rich getting richer while everybody else was getting poorer. They continue to expose themselves as the party of the rich and powerful every time they step to the microphones. They continue to follow the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin and Dick Cheney over the cliff to obsolescence. They just keep running headlong into their “principles” even though they know the American People have awakened to the truth of “supply-side economics,” and “trickle-down economics” and unfettered capitalism in a free-market economy.
The Republicans stubbornly refuse to admit that it is human nature to get greedy when allowed to do so, and that rich and powerful people cannot be counted on to “trickle down” economic prosperity on those who serve them. They continue in their delusional fantasy that the American People didn’t reject their ideas in the last two national elections. If they do not take stock and learn the lessons of their recent failures, the party will be over.
So I return their bogus budget plan to the recalcitrant Republicans with a big fat red zero plastered to the top and a word of warning: Don’t try that again!