Saturday, February 04, 2006

Bush Prepares to Launch New Front on War Against Middle Class via Medicare Cuts

The Bush administration's war against the Middle Class is about to open on a new front, according to the New York Times. The new front will come through cuts and changes in Medicare, the program geared for those over 65.

While the cuts themselves don't seem large on their face, taken together with the gutting of privately funded retirement programs that are becoming the rule rather than the exception in the current era, and what you're confronted with is an across-the-board roll-back of the social contract which has governed social relations in this country since the Great Depression (recall that this started with Bush's attack on Social Security last year).

Hey! He's a Big Picture guy! He doesn't care which piece of the social contract he repeals, so long as it was initiated by a Democrat!

You might recall that Bush's Tax Reform Commission recommended doing away with the Home Mortgage Tax Deduction (PDF). Yep! Let's make home ownership available only to those who can afford to pay cash for them! This is the way the world looks from the desk of a man who inherited his money.

The fact is that the Republican Party is in the thrall of the monied financial interests of this country. That's why the pharmaceutical industry thinks the Medicare Prescription Drug Program (Medicare Part D) is working out so well for the drug companies while seniors (you remember them? They were the program this 'benefit' was intended for) are finding the program tremendously complex. The program was never really intended to work for seniors; it was intended as a give away for the drug companies.

Then, there is the cost of the War Against Iraq, which the Bush administration just asked for another $70 Billion to fund. Once again, corruption is rife.

And, while it's easy to beat upon our hapless president for these corporate give-aways masquerading as policy, the fact is that none of this would have been possible without a compliant Republican Congress that has abandoned its fundamental Constitutional responsibility to provide oversight to the activities of the Executive Branch.

It is in this way that the corruption of the legislative process under Republicans dating back to the first days of Newt Gingrich's revolution of 1994-1995 comes to bear in the lives of ordinary Americans and of regular Louisianians. Programs designed to benefit the middle class and the working poor have been distorted in ways that drive the bulk of the benefits away from the targeted beneficiaries but toward those who can figure out how to profit from the delivery of those benefits.

Corruption replaces the idea of 'one citizen, one vote' with the idea of 'one dollar, one vote.' This is the basis upon which the Republicans created their now-infamous K Street Project. While many are trying to distance themselves from this effort now (Hi, Charlie Boustany!), the fact remains that it was under Republican control of the Congress and the White House that people like Jack Abramoff had the ethical and legal leeway to run what is now recognized as an illegal operation among the inner circles of the Washington leadership; that is, Republican leadership.

Whatever corruption Republicans want to dredge up against Democrats pails in comparison to what has taken place under the Republicans' watch in Washington, particularly the decade of Republican leadership in the House of Representatives. There has been a systematic effort to corrupt the political process in Washington led by the likes of Tom DeLay, Bob Ney, Rick Santorum, Randy 'Duke' Cunningham, and, yes, even new House Majority Leader John Boehner.

Want to know why government isn't working for regular Louisianians? Look no further than the money being given by special interests groups to campaigns at all levels. Those dollars buy more loyalty than your votes do.

That is the sum of the problem in a nutshell.

Nothing will change until we level the playing field between incumbents and challengers and make those races about ideas, rather than how much corporate money the candidates can raise. Public campaign financing is the REAL cure for the corruption that grips our national government today.

Accept no substitutes!

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