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First step should be ‘to do no harm’

If Republicans could just make this much progress, the nation would be far better for the effort. Unfortunately, it seems not only implausible before the 2012 elections, but afterward.

Our current problems include too few jobs and far too few good jobs. Our middle class has faced falling income, with only the top 1 percent of earners increasing their income over the last decade.

Our houses are all worth less, taking from many Americans what was their single investment. Our retirement plans are in jeopardy and our investments seem stalled in value.

We have more problems, but these should certainly be enough to get the attention of our elected officials.

But Republicans in Congress are immune from these interests and have either committed to doing absolutely nothing or in plotting how to make our problems worsen through their “solutions.”

The President assembled a Jobs Bill, designed not to solve the economic problems of the nation, but to soften those problems while repairing roads and bridges and helping veterans and the unemployed through tough economic times.

All of it paid for by a small surtax on those who earn more than $1 million annually. But Republicans, in their plan to ignore real needs until the 2012 elections, en mass decided that even ideas they had previously supported were not worth their vote now.

What is worthy of Republican votes to help fuel the jobs market?

Nothing.

Running on “Where are the jobs in 2010, victorious Republicans took their seats in Congress and promptly did — nothing, absolutely nothing — about jobs. And when the President proposed his jobs solution they showed no interest at all.

And of course Republicans could not, would not, consider the small surtax on those most able to pay, the 1 percent of Americans whose incomes have increased, not decreased over the last decade. The same 1 percent of Americans whose taxes average 18 percent while most taxpayers pay a higher percentage of their income annually.

No, that was just impossible.

After all a hedge fund manager pays only 15 percent on earnings that can top $100 million annually…but even correcting that is a reach too far for Republicans.

Lest you think Republicans will become more responsive to ordinary Americans after the 2012 elections, you can dash those hopes now … it won’t happen based upon the campaign rhetoric of the current presidential candidates.

The current front runner, Herman Cain has as his cornerstone idea a new tax plan he calls “9-9-9.”

The plan raises the taxes on the poor and the middle class and cuts taxes on the richest Americans.

All the Republican candidates have embraced Representative Paul Ryan’s economic plan which ends Medicare as we know it by increasing the cost burden of the retired on fixed incomes to cut the federal commitment to the program. So don’t look for help there from your Republican friends.

And even as we speak Republicans on the Super Committee in Congress are advancing ideas on how they might carve up your Social Security to save a buck and keep taxes at their lowest levels in 60 years.

Still holding out hope for Republicans improving our nation?

Try asking a Republican about their growth plan for America. Ask about their vision for our national future and you will hear about cutting spending, reducing the social safety net, eliminating all of government until it is, in Rick Perry terms, inconsequential.

Can’t find the vision in those priorities? There is no vision for a stronger America, only a vision for a smaller, meaner America whose national priority is to save the poor rich from the rest of us.

First do no harm would be a wonderful concept for Republicans to adopt, but don’t count on it, it is a road too far.

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