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Monday, 05 November 2012 10:41

Five Sordid GOP Attacks on the Middle Class and Poor

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The Republicans have repeatedly turned against middle-class and low-income Americans in their legislative proposals over the past two years. Here are some of the sordid details.
1. Jobs
In 2011 Republicans killed a jobs bill that was supported by two-thirds of the public. At about the same time, they devised a new action that would support outsourcing of jobs and anti-union efforts. House Resolution 2587 was apparently written in response to Boeing's attempt to relocate its production facility because of strike threats. In the words of the resolution, "The National Labor Relations Board...shall have no power to order an employer...to rescind any relocation, transfer, subcontracting, outsourcing, or other change.."
2. Housing
In March of 2011 the FHA Refinance Program Termination Act was passed by the House. The bill proposed to stop the funding allocated for people who owe more on their mortgages than the value of their homes. Thus the victims of the banking collapse would not get the relief promised by the Refinance Act. The Republican bill, according to Democratic Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, would have the effect of "terminating programs that will literally help people stay in their homes."
3. Taxes
Republicans fought the proposed middle-class tax cut because it would only apply to the first quarter-million of income. Then, in an outrageous show of circumlocution, they voted for the "Job Protection and Recession Prevention Act of 2012" to extend the tax cuts for the rich.
They also found time to prepare a "flat tax" proposal that, in their own words, "protects taxpayers by creating a fairer, simpler, flatter tax code for individuals and families." In reality, a flat tax would cut taxes for the richest 5% while raising taxes for everyone else.
4. Health Care
No other middle class program has been attacked as much as health care. Republicans have tried more than thirty times to repeal Obamacare, and to cut related initiatives. Here are some of the attempts:
-- (a) January, 2011: The House passes a repeal of the Health Care Law Act. Republicans officially called the resolution "Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act, even though, according to the Huffington Post, the effect on jobs would be small, impacting mostly "people who no longer have to work, or can downshift to less demanding employment, because insurance will be available outside the job."
-- (b) April, 2011: The House voted to repeal the Prevention and Public Health Fund, which was used to "fight obesity, curb tobacco use, increase access to preventive care services, as well as to help state and local government respond to public health threats and outbreaks."
-- (c) March, 2012: With another euphemistic title, "Protecting Access to Healthcare," the House voted to deny punitive damages to any victim of a faulty medical product (which was approved by the FDA). According to the Congressional Budget Office, the resolution "would impose limits on medical malpractice litigation in state and federal courts by capping awards and attorney fees.."
-- (d) May, 2012: The House voted to replace military budget cuts with cutbacks to Medicaid and the food stamp program.
5. Environment
With a series of resolutions passed in 2011, the House voted to amend (weaken) the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the safeguards against offshore drilling.
It doesn't end there...
In the last two years Republicans rejected a bill to disclose information about big campaign donors. They disrupted the routine process of increasing the debt ceiling, thus triggering the first-ever downgrading of the U.S. credit rating. They found time to obstruct other bills that conflicted with their 'austerity' mentality: a Pay Equity Bill that would have provided greater pay equality for women; a bill to limit student loan rates; a transportation bill that would fund road repairs and mass transit.
While dismantling the protections provided by government, Republicans support the subsidies and tax breaks for the rich that could easily pay off the nation's deficit. They choose to impose austerity measures rather than address greed and corruption in the financial industry.
Paul Buchheit is the founder and developer of social justice and educational websites (UsAgainstGreed.org, PayUpNow.org, RappingHistory.org), and the editor and main author of "American Wars: Illusions and Realities" (Clarity Press). He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..