Punishing the innocent, and also enriching the guilty 


A recent e-mail to me pretty well sums up the big budget hullaballoo being pushed by tea party Republicans. As the writer put it: "Remember when teachers, public employees, Planned Parenthood, NPR and PBS crashed the stock market, wiped out half of our 401ks, took trillions in bailout money, spilled oil in the Gulf of Mexico, gave themselves billions in bonuses, and paid no taxes?" Then he added, "Yeah, me neither."

Yet, it's teachers, the middle class, the poor, the elderly, the environment, and the idea of public service that GOP Congress critters and governors want to punish for the destructive deeds of Wall Street banksters and corporate elites. For example, the GOP's widely ballyhooed budget plan doesn't just "end Medicare as we know it" — it ends it, period. Instead of extending this efficient and effective health care program, they would toss the elderly under the bus of insurance profiteers. Goodbye and good luck.

How's this for bitter irony? Last year, tea party Republicans got elected to Congress by falsely claiming that Obama's universal health care program would require "massive Medicare cuts." And now, those same tea partiers are not merely voting to cut Medicare, they're killing it.

They're also trying to gut Medicaid, taking three-quarters of a trillion dollars out of this essential health care program for poor families. Would this "savings" help reduce the deficit, as they claim? No. It would merely be redistributed to the super-rich in the form of a trillion dollars in new tax giveaways.

The GOP budget plan shows who they are and whom they serve. As one observer says, "It's a measure of just how far off the deep end Republicans have gone." That's former President Ronald Reagan's budget director speaking.

And we all remember what a lefty Reagan was.

Jim Hightower is the best-selling author of Swim Against the Current: Even a Dead Fish Can Go With the Flow, on sale now from Wiley Publishing. For more information, visit jimhightower.com.


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