Archived Story

What do the Republicans really believe?

Published 10:00am Friday, April 8, 2011

What do the items on the following list all have in common?

Medicare. Medicaid. Social Security. Tax increases on the top 2 percent of earners. The post office. Food stamps. Family planning. Environmental protection. NPR.

These are all programs that Americans support in poll after poll.

These programs are also all programs Republicans dislike and would cut, amend or end.

Conversely, Republicans would not only prefer to make the Bush tax cuts all permanent, but lower corporate taxes and reduce the top tax rate to 25 percent, granting a significant tax cut to the top 2 percent of earners.

A majority of Americans disagree with these plans by Republicans.

But Republican Representative Ryan’s new 10-year budget proposal, presented earlier this week, advances most of these ideas and tables others (Social Security reductions/privatization and reduction of top tax rates) only for a later introduction.

Why would Republicans seek to implement policies that most Americans disagree with? Perhaps for three reasons:

First, because the nation is in a serious fiscal crisis that requires spending cuts as a part of any long term solution. And the spending cuts in the Ryan proposal are consistent with Republican views held for many years.

For the most part Republicans not only do not trust government, they do not believe in government. Consequently, cutting, mending or ending all the popular programs above is consistent with their view that, successful or not, they do not want government providing these services.

Second, in politics no action is ever free of political motivation in terms of vote counting. Republicans believe that voters who support social programs tend to vote Democratic, so there will not be a high price paid in the voting booth for these cuts.

And Republican financial supporters, particularly those in large industry or top earning brackets, tend to be untouched by the elimination of social support programs.

Finally, Republicans tend to be more ideologically motivated than Democrats, and their anti-government bias is situated not only in the pragmatics noted above, but in their underlying belief that a constitutional federal government is minimalist in nature and subordinate to states rights in most cases.

The problem is … they are wrong.

They are wrong that these programs do not work; they are wrong that tax cuts do not destroy revenues needed; and they are wrong to help the strongest and harm the weakest in our society.

Social Security works with an administrative cost far below its for-profit competitors in health insurance or in benefits administration. Seventy-seven percent of Americans polled said they would rather end the cap on income deductions than cut Social Security. Sixty-four percent said they want no reductions in Social Security.

Medicare has similar support with 56 percent insisting on no reductions to the program; Medicaid has 47 percent support for zero reductions in its provisions.

In application the non-partisan CBO reports that the Ryan plan for Medicare would result in seniors paying 68 percent of their health care costs by 2030 compared to 25 percent under the current structure.

Is that a reasonable burden to expect our seniors to bear?

Should our seniors bear this cost while the richest Americans are granted yet another tax cut and our international corporations find their taxes reduced?

Rep. Ryan cites the fiscal crisis as the rationale for these difficult program cuts.

But what are Ryan’s credentials?

Ryan voted for the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003. Ryan voted for Medicare Part D, unfunded and deficit creating from its inception. Ryan voted for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars paid for by debt.

In fact, Ryan helped create the very debt he now bemoans as unsustainable.

And even now Ryan could propose to reduce the current deficit by half if only we allowed the tax cuts that created this mess to expire. He will not, and any proposal that ignores the need for some tax increases cannot be taken seriously.

Jim Crawford is retired educator and political enthusiast living here in the Tri-State.

  • 51rebememer2riaffa

    There is such a thing as freedom of speech. This is apparently why the Tribune allows those of you who have called Mr. Crawford names to continue to do so and comment on articles. The name calling of Mr. Crawford is disrespectful even if one disagrees with his political views. It may be beneficial for those who post comments to read the policy about the use of the website. Personal attacks, which name calling can be a part of, are allegeldy not tolerated. In addiciton, the immature name calling takes is an attempt to deflect from the issues raised. Belittle the issues not the person.

    (Report comment)

    • mikehaney

      I agree that name calling adds nothing to a discussion.

      (Report comment)

  • Noesis

    Mic: “In unity, there is strength.”

    That is correct Mic and the American people are coming together to reject the exorbitant health benefits and retirement packages that public workers get.

    I see that you weren’t following the Wisconsin Supreme Court election. Basically in a nutshell, the Wisconsin Supreme court leans conservative 4-3. Democrats stated that if they could get MaryAnn Koppenburg a extreme liberal elected over David Prosser a conservative leaning independent who is expected to back Scott Walker’s union busting law, the court challange would have gone the democrat’s way.

    Democrats flooded the airwaves and made this a referendum on Scott Walker. In a state that went to Obama over McCain by a 56 to 43% margin, the people elected Prosser over his liberal opponent.

    (Report comment)

  • mickakers

    Noesis; Yes, I am “afraid, very afraid” and concerned for the well being of the working men and women of this country. I would like to offer this quote from the Los Angeles Times taken from an article, entitled; Anti-Union Push Gains Steam Nationwide. “Now that the governors of Ohio and Wisconsin have signed bills to limit public workers’ collective bargaining rights, their fellow Republicans in other states are expected to gain momentum in their efforts to take on unions”. In unity, there is strength. Now is the time for all Working Men And Women to come together and preserve the rights our predecessors have gained for us.

    (Report comment)

  • Noesis

    Jon, as the November election showed, the tide has already turned and has become a tsunami. Even this weeks election in Wisconsin showed that people are tired of democrats. Wisconsin’s election for Supreme Court justice was to be a referendum on Scott Walker’s actions against the unions in this historically democratic state. In 2008, Obama beat McCain 56% to 43% and yet the liberal Kloppenburg who was supposed to be a nail in the coffin for Walker’s policies looks to have been defeated by her “republican” opponent.

    For those that think a referendum on SB-5 will reverse it, just look to Wisconsin and be afraid, be very afraid.

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  • jonferguson

    I wonder if the same people who cry about the government trying to take their guns, are now crying about the government trying to take their jobs, or their welfare, or their various other government assistance.
    No, they are probably sitting at home praying that the senate figures out a way to make sure those rich people get to keep a little more money.
    People are starting to see through the rhetoric, because it’s beginning to hit their wallets. This is going to be fun to watch. I’m predicting a serious turn of the tides. You can’t do things that are unpopular, no matter your purpose. November always comes.

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  • mickakers

    old_new_englander; I found a great deal of truth in your comment “Today’s Republicans are like Winston Churchill’s description of British prime minister, Stanley Baldwin: “Baldwin occasionally stumbles over the truth, but he picks himself up, dusts himself off and hurries on as though nothing had happened.” Also, your comment “The Republicans have had some success by talking with great confidence, as if smooth words and loud voices can change reality. But that cannot last.” My compliments.

    (Report comment)

    • Noesis

      The Republicans have had some success by talking with great confidence, as if smooth words and loud voices can change reality.

      You mean like “Hope and Change” did with the democrats?

      (Report comment)

  • mickakers

    Professor Crawford; An excellent synopsis of Republicanism and it’s basis philosophy. It is obvious, the truth hurts, from the responses you have received. My compliments, Sir. I particularly found insight in your comment “And Republican financial supporters, particularly those in large industry or top earning brackets, tend to be untouched by the elimination of social support programs”.

    (Report comment)

    • Noesis

      Maybe that’s because they worked hard all their life and saved up money.

      (Report comment)

  • Noesis

    Facts are, as has been said, inconvenient things, but the fact is that the overwhelming majority of Americans reject the programs advocated by the Rebuplican Party.

    Really? That must explain the historic *ss kicking the democrats received in November. The American people are waking up to the fact that we have unsustainable deficits. At least the republicans are trying to do something about it.

    The only way we can recover is by putting people to work. High tax rates and excessive regulations aren’t good for job creation.

    Higher taxes on rich aren’t going to help either. Our deficit this year is $1,400 billion. Getting rid of the Bush Tax cuts for the “rich” would only reduce that amount by $69 billion a year. Getting rid of the overseas tax havens would bring in only $30 billion a year.

    Democrats and Obama have increased federal spending in 2011 by $650 billion over the 2008 budget.

    We MUST cut entitlement spending to get rid of our deficit and our debt.

    (Report comment)

  • carmenuchi

    Wow. How is it that I asked google for top news stories on my android and this crap is what I get? Ticked me off bad enough that I took the time to register for this rag, whatever it is, just to comment. I thought it was the Huffington post or something…

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  • lazydog

    It’s east to let Crawford get you riled up but the man is such a buffoon and left-wing hack that no one pays any attention to him.

    (Report comment)

  • rambo

    To the person that wants to know why this paper continues to allow such trash as Crawford’s it is my understanding that this is the best they can come up with. As to why republicans really believe don’t think that some right wing liberal like him would have any idea except to continue with half lies to dupe most that seem to love this kind of rhetoric that so many here seem to follow like this person who is not even one with a doctorate but is a so called professor from Ohio University but have noticed that title has been dropped. Seems many are catching on he is not the scholar he wants many to believe he is.
    “The Path to Prosperity,” by all counts a bold proposal, comes as the first significant Republican alternative to the health reform model enshrined in the Affordable Care Act. Though highly unlikely to pass through the Democrat-controlled Senate and a certain presidential veto, this bill can be a starting point for much needed broader discussion on deficit reduction and entitlement reform.
    This is from the Ryan doctrine and of course many are opposed to it. It cuts into the entitlement program that so many hold so dear to there hearts. I am not against entitlements for those that have worked so many years for but for the kind that this liberal wants and that is to give it to anyone with a claim without proper justification for there benefits that have taxed the system to the limit and has hurt those that that have rightfully paid the price for it. This liberal would give benefits to anyone kind of like himself that wants people to believe he is something he is not.

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    • old_new_englander

      Do you have ANY facts to support what you say? I thought not.

      (Report comment)

  • old_new_englander

    I read a lot of commentary and analysis and this is THE BEST I have seen. Facts are, as has been said, inconvenient things, but the fact is that the overwhelming majority of Americans reject the programs advocated by the Rebuplican Party. That those programs will benefit the rich and large corporations at the expense of middle- and working-class Americans and small businesses has been demonstrated time after time. That the programs that Rebuplicans claim will revive the economy will, in fact, make things much worse is also clear; if you have any doubt of that, look at the policies set forth in the Rebuplican platform and compare them to those that Herbert Hoover followed from 1929 until he was mercifully driven from office. Why would the results be any different today? Today’s Rebuplicans are like Winston Churchill’s description of the British prime minister, Stanley Baldwin: “Baldwin occasionally stumbles over the truth, but he picks himself up,dusts himself off and hurries on as though nothing had happened.”

    The Rebuplicans have had some success by talking with great confidence, as if smooth words and loud voices can change reality. But that cannot last. At some point–by November 2012, I suspect, we shall see that an early member of the Republican party was right: You can’t fool all of the people all of the time.

    (Report comment)

    • 79Tiger

      Being the socialist that you obviously are have you ever questioned why socialism has never been successful? Are you one of those who believe that America has enough to make socialism work and that it just hasn’t been tried correctly before? Communism and socialism destroys wealth. That is why it fails miserably. The only reason socialism hasn’t destroyed this country at this point is because of the free market capitalist system we have. Government is destructive to everything it touches. That is why the framers of our constitution feared a large centralized. If the U.S. tanks, there will be nobody else to left to fund your socialist utopia.

      (Report comment)

  • bzzben

    I’m always amazed at the people that “hate” the rich. Why? Just because they have something you do not? Shame on them for working hard and realizing the American Dream. lol The fact is that those rich people you hate so much, are the ones that own companies that EMPLOY other people. I say keep them as happy as necessary so that they can create more jobs, and employ more people.

    (Report comment)

  • 79Tiger

    Why in the world does the Tribune continue to allow such lies and innenuendo to be published in their paper under the guise of journalism? Jane Fonda is to the right of Crawford.

    (Report comment)

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