Welcome to 2015; the 114th Congress is gearing up for the new year, and with it, brand new assaults women, the elderly, the disabled, math, science, history, and reality in general.
The Republican method of solving a problem is attempting to square a circle outside of a Gauss-Bolyai-Lobachevskian space, and in many ways reminds me of the 1897 Indian Pi Bill; a bill that, through legislative fiat, ruled that using regular Euclidean (that is, flat surface) geometries, it was possible to square a circle (spoiler: it’s not).
They didn’t waste any time, either: the Tuesday kick-off saw the Republicans hop back on their hobby-horse and dredge up Benghazi; they extended the select committee, and this time without little restrictions or limits like the budget (because small government). They also went after abortion, since they were trying to be especially productive that day. The charge continued into Wednesday, when they started hammer Social Security.
Now, there’s this stupid Libertarian idea that your future is safe with a bunch of bankers and Wall Street investors who drove the country into the dirt gambling with people’s futures. Ergo, everything should be privatized. The GOP has clung this economic Lysenkoism for as long as I can remember — I blame Reagan — and this renewed assault is entirely expected. They want the entire $1.7 billion handed over for “investment” purposes, because we’ve all seen how well 401ks have done. Nancy Altman, the co-founder of Social Security Works, and Eric Kingson, a professor of Social Work at Syracuse University, described it as a “stealth assault” on the working families in the United States.
A rule preventing reallocation of Social Security funds to men, women, and children who receive disability insurance was one of the first orders of business for the House Republicans, who are holding these people ransom unless these reallocations are offset by either benefit cuts or tax increases. Now, that latter is never going to happen, since you know as well as I do that they’d shoot down a tax increase even if that tax increase directly lead to a larger part of American children having a better future. So what this means is that the GOP is setting up benefit cuts to 11 million people over the next two years.
There’s nothing wrong with Social Security — yet. If the GOP keeps it up, however, there almost certainly will be. In fact, the GOP approach to Social Security is identical their approach to all other aspects of government: break it, claim it never worked, and idiots vote for them because they believe it. The GOP proceeds to break it even more, claim that it needs to be cut because it still doesn’t work, and idiots eat it up. It’s a positive feedback loop, just like death, powered by the Unbridled Stupid. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) noticed this as well, saying that “…detractors working to privatize Social Security will do anything to manufacture a crisis out of a routine administrative function.”
Next on the chopping block was the Volcker Rule, as part of an opening salvo against Dodd-Frank. According to the Huffington Post:
The Volcker Rule was adopted after the 2008 Wall Street meltdown and it bans banks from gambling with taxpayer money. The GOP is proposing legislation that would grant banks another two years to unload their toxic holdings in the form of Collateralized Loan Obligations — complex contracts similar to the mortgage-backed securities that caused the meltdown in 2008.
You know, Wall Street is not your friend. You’d be hard pressed to find a decent human being there; most of the Iscariots up there are backstabbing Mammonites. In keeping with my insult theme this paragraph, they’re a little better than sociopathic sicarii, their daggers aimed at the heart American economy. And Republicans worship the grounds that these people walk on.
After more than fifty attempts, the Republican zoophytes are lining up for another shot at Obamacare as well; like Glass-Steagall, their goal is to make it harder for Americans to gain coverage by exposing the bill to the political version of lingchi. They’re pushing the 40-hour full time again, to make it easier for employers to avoid giving healthcare. It’s a move that could end up depriving 1.5 million people who are currently receiving healthcare through the mandate and, ultimately, add another $53 billion to the deficit.
All in the name of reducing the deficit and helping the economy, of course. And if you correctly guessed that the Republicans would take credit for the improving economy despite being roadblocks, you were right. Mitch McConnell, taking his cues from Grover “Strangle the Government in the Bathtub” Norquist, made this absolutely delusional statement on Wednesday on the economy:
After so many years of sluggish growth, we’re finally starting to see some economic data that can provide a glimmer of hope; the uptick appears to coincide with the biggest political change of the Obama administration’s long tenure in Washington: the expectation of a new Republican Congress. So this is precisely the right time to advance a positive, pro-growth agenda.
Of course, the best response to this comes from DNC Communications Director Mo Elleithee:
Hahahahahahahahahahaha. That Mitch McConnell is one funny guy. He likes to remind people all the time that he’s not a scientist. Now we know he’s not a mathematician or an economist either.
And speaking of math, as if all this weren’t enough, we’re right back to where we started — the Indiana Pi Bill of 1897, and their determination to square that circle:
But look at this way: thanks to the 2014 elections and the GOP takeover of Congress, we’re poised to see math do battle with Republican math.
As we discussed a couple of weeks ago, when the Congressional Budget Office publishes a “score,” it offers an official price tag of sorts, hoping to make clear what a proposal will cost, how it will affect the deficit, how it will affect revenues, how will it shift unemployment, etc. Sometimes the CBO is correct and sometimes it’s not – especially over the long term, we’re dealing with projections that are subject to considerable change – but the scores are at least based on verifiable data.
Republicans, however, don’t like the way the CBO comes up with its scores because, as the right sees it, non-partisan economists don’t realize the magical, macroeconomic benefits of tax cuts. The CBO looks at a tax cut and determines its cost, but Republicans insist that those price tags are misleading – conservatives want the CBO to assume that tax cuts necessarily produce greater economic growth, which in turn generates more revenue, which in return reduces the real-world cost of the tax cut, possibly even to $0.
That’s right, they’re gearing up to wage war on math.
The Republicans have declared a War on Reality, and this last week is little more than a peak at the grim future that they have in store for us.