Have you ever put the border of a jigsaw puzzle together only to feel like all those left over pieces couldn’t possibly fit? For the first month of the new Administration the craziness and chaos felt like it didn’t fit. Irrational tweets, illegal bans, unqualified cabinet picks, unsubstantiated claims, and a GOP leadership who couldn’t or wouldn’t rein in their guy. Day after day we faced an all too real Saturday Night Live skit.
From The Wall Street Journal to the Huffington Post, print media tried to explain the phenomenon that hit the White House. Talking heads predicted, commentators surmised, and bloggers from coast to coast offered their two cents. Yet the madness continued. Anyone who dared to point out the plethora of lies pouring from the Administration were berated and labeled fake. Conway, Spicer, and Miller defended the defenseless and most of the press left their blather unchallenged.
Even more frightening, the enablers in the Republican dominated Congress happily fly under the radar which is POTUS. We seem to be watching a race to see who can inflict the most damage the fasted–45 or GOP leadership. The President’s unprecedented behavior and irrational accusations have pulled so much focus that the wrecking ball legislation in Congress has floated along relatively unchecked. BUT BE AWARE! While the President may have more power to harm the American people in the short term, the harm inflicted on the people by Congress is far greater and will last much longer. Unless 45 manages to get the US into a nuclear war (which may not be too far fetched) the betrayal from Congress could also be more costly.
Key benefits and safe guards for the American people are already on Congress’ chopping block. The first step to deregulating corporations and subsequently making re-regulating them more difficult was the passage of the Midnight Rules Relief Act. Basically congress can bundle regulations established in the last year of an administration, vote them all down together and require Congressional approval of each one separately before it could be enforced. Not only does this legislation impact environmental regulations which would be damaging enough, it also affects paid sick leave, school lunch programs, and most importantly–the rights of individuals to form class action law suits. Make no mistake government in the hand of the current GOP leadership is not a friend of the people. The current power in Washington has no intention of representing OUR wishes.
Ready for some additional bills Congress hopes to pass or already has while Americans aren’t looking. The 115th wants to withdraw from the United Nations. It made an initial attack against Dodd-Frank by by passing a law that ends the requirement for gas and oil companies to disclose payments made to the US and foreign governments which allow commercial development. Congress has also begun the process of defunding Planned Parenthood which may make cold hearted conservatives cheer but will leave hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of women and children without affordable healthcare. This includes prenatal care, STD tests, and cancer screening.
Evidently, leaving millions without healthcare is not a problem Republicans find too disturbing. Along these lines, they actually have a plan now to repeal the ACA (Obamacare). While their plan does away with mandatory coverage, it allows insurance companies to charge a 30% penalty for those with gaps in their coverage. Translated this means, if you can’t afford healthcare now it will become even more costly to get it later. The GOP also plans to cover cost with tax credits but, “Estimates from congressional budget analysts and the White House’s Office of Management and Budget kept showing that the credits would be both too small to provide enough help to lower-income people and too expensive overall for a GOP determined to slash federal spending that the ACA has required.” Additionally, Money Magazine and Rolling Stone explain that while pre-existing conditions can’t be denied they will be a reason for more costly insurance, older consumers will pay more under the GOP plan, and medicaid expansion will be phased out. Finally, premium support will be capped at the rate of the Consumer Price Index plus 1 percent. In 2016 this was 3.1%. Meanwhile premiums rose by 25% in the same time period. Thus, the poor and much of the middle class will again be without insurance.
Oh well, perhaps we’ll save money by letting private investors (foreign and domestic) rebuild our infrastructure. Though this idea originated with 45, Congress is sure to catch on. We have just one small catch, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao insists the federal government can’t pay for it all. Normally this means taxpayers need help from wealthy corporations which also benefit from a strong infrastructure. This time however, wealthy corporations that might initially foot part of the bill will be allowed to charge tolls for the use of the roads and bridges they help build. In other words, the corporations (not government) will get their money back through tolls while the people not only pay their portion of the cost through taxes but then again every time they drive. It works like this: “I’ll loan you some of the money to build,” says the private investor. “You then pay (possibly my company) to do the building. Then I’ll charge a toll from everyone who uses what I’ve built (even though taxpayers have also helped via taxes). Finally, I get to increase the toll whenever I need a little extra cash.” Sound fair? Yeah, not to me either.
People like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders represent the first line of defense against the fleecing of America by the wealthy elite and their puppet Congress–both morally and economically. Red flags, like the resurgence of for profit prisons coupled with rounding up undocumented immigrants, bring the picture of our puzzle into focus. And, it isn’t pretty. Resisters–protest is important, but it isn’t enough. Get organized. Find intelligent, compassionate people willing to step up. Then, get them elected! The world needs Americans willing and ready to fight.