Monday, May 28, 2012

The horror of a Romney victory

In a recent post, Ezra Klein gave us a preview of what to expect should Romney win the White House.

Because it’s difficult to imagine a scenario in which Romney is elected and Republicans don’t hold the House and win control of the Senate, Republicans wouldn’t be stymied by Democratic opposition. They would have the votes to pass their agenda. True, they won’t get a filibuster-proof majority of 60 in the upper chamber, but Ryan’s budget is, well, a budget, which means it could be passed through the budget reconciliation process -- and couldn’t be filibustered. To enact a radical change of direction, Republicans need only a simple majority of votes.

So, what kind of radical change of direction would we likely see?  Klein says:

We don’t have to pore over every decision Romney made in Massachusetts to discern what he would do in Washington if elected. Romney and the Republicans in Congress have explained exactly what they intend to accomplish -- and their plans are remarkably in sync.

The budget prepared by Paul Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman, and the Romney campaign’s general-election platform look quite similar. Both would cut taxes while flattening the tax code. Their Medicare-reform plans look similar; Ryan even modified his original draft to make it look more like Romney’s, which allows seniors to choose between traditional fee-for-service Medicare and private options. Their plans to increase defense spending are alike, as are their plans to cut domestic spending and to turn Medicaid, food stamps and other safety-net programs over to the states.

In other words, a Romney victory will mean the end of the progressive income tax with even more tax breaks going to the super rich; the end of Medicare as we have known it; the end of Medicaid, food stamps and other safety-net programs; and drastic cuts in domestic spending in a host of other programs that would have a significant impact on just about every American whose family income placed them among the bottom 99%. 

A Romney victory is a horror story of the first order.  A Romney in the White House will mean that Republicans, Libertarians, Tea Party and extreme Right nut cases will have the freedom to dismantle more than 100 years of socially responsible public policy.  We would be returned to the pre-and early1900 years where labor was exploited and the aged and infirm were cast aside so that a very few could become extremely rich.  Our country would be set on a dangerous course. 

Working and living conditions for most Americans in the closing years of the 19th century and first years of the 20th century were so bad Americans increasingly considered abandoning Capitalism altogether and embracing Socialism, Communism, or something even more radical.  The Progressive Movement of the early 20th Century saved Capitalism by offering Americans relief from the most severe hardships free market Capitalism brought and the hope of sharing in the prosperity regulated Capitalism could bring.  Legislation adopted from the early 1900s through the 1930s made it possible for Americans at all income levels to enjoy unprecedented prosperity and a steadily rising standard of living.  With the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980, the hopes and dreams of average Americans began to fade as Republicans gained increasing power and equity and equal opportunity gradual gave way to inequality and most favored status for a few.  The election of Romney will bring an end to any hope of 90% of Americans for a future.  We will see a revival of the conditions of the early 20th century.  And, this time, there be no Progressive Movement strong enough to save us.

 Read Ezra Klein's post here:

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