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Republicans move in for the kill

I suspected that they had a reason for enabling Donald. Now, we may find out what it is. And the first clue comes from that original Great Depression state – Oklahoma.

WaPo has a piece today about the unemployed in Oklahoma. Many have applied for unemployment benefits that they paid into for years. Many of those unemployment benefits are stalled while the applicants exhaust their savings, lose their cars and sell their houses. They get up in the middle of the night to get a ticket for an appointment with a state bureaucrat. There’s a limit on the number of tickets. If you miss that limit, you have to come back the next day.

Let’s put aside for a moment that this inadequate system is by design. The red states have shown themselves to be deliberately and intentionally unresponsive to the plight of the unemployed. In normal times, the idea is for the applicant to just give up and take any job even if it results in long term negative consequences for the worker. For example, if you have to take a low minimum wage job to exist, you can’t spend your time on a real job search for something more appropriate. But it doesn’t matter. In this country, not being self sufficient even for a few months is tantamount to a cardinal sin.

So, states like Florida, North Carolina and Oklahoma have made getting the benefits the worker paid for very difficult and time consuming. Eventually, desperation sets in and you go work at McDonald’s or some meat processing plant without any osha protections or benefits. Ta-da!

But what if there actually aren’t any jobs because of a pandemic? Then what do you do? Then you’re not getting unemployment AND there are no other jobs. Back in the 30s, Okies loaded up the truck and headed for California. But what if that’s not an option any more? What if there is literally nothing left to fall back on?

I think this is the moment Mitch McConnell has been waiting for. Because there is a fall back. It’s your social security benefits. Yep, why not make it easier for people to tap into their social security accounts? It’s a giant pool of money. Just take a loan. Heck, we won’t even make you pay it back when the crisis is over. You just agree to take a cut when retirement age rolls along.

Plus, we’ll cut your payroll taxes. Nevermind that the payroll tax cut doesn’t benefit you if you aren’t on a payroll. OTHER people can use the money. So what if the congressional budget office says it will have minimal impact on spending now. That’s not really the point is it? It just means that the social security trust fund that has been struggling because we won’t raise the payroll tax on higher income workers is going to be a lot less reliable.

Then, when retirements start happening in earnest, there won’t be enough money to go along. Then we can institute a means test. And there goes the whole thing.

Well, it’s about time, say their ultra wealthy backers. None of us signed on to Social Security back in 1935. Most of us weren’t even born, say the owners of the ownership society.

They’ve been so effective about eliminating pensions they didn’t sign on to when they bought the companies. Or the benefits they didn’t sign on to. Or the salaries. Social Security and Medicare are the final frontiers. They are so close to shrugging off the weight of the world they were burdened with during much of the 20th century. This pandemic was timed perfectly for them to clean up and make their exit.

No more unions. No more pensions. No more health care benefits. No more social security. And they’ve stacked the courts with the judges appointed by one of their own. A guy whose never met a tax or obligation he’s felt a duty to pay. They’re finally free! Liberty! Is this country great or what??

Too bad for you, you clueless whipkisser who bought their con for 4 decades. Too bad for you who didn’t. They don’t care about you. They got theirs and they got yours.

Bye-bye, suckers.

That’s why Mitch has stood by and done nothing. We just weren’t desperate enough. And now, we are.

3 Responses

  1. Very unsettling, but true. The Republicans, aided by all their wealth, and the media they own, have been running a scam on the voters for many decades/ They distract through invented social issues or character assassinations (Dukakis is not against flag burning; his parole board let out a man who terrorized a family; Clinton had an affair or two; Hillary did whatever they made up about her}, but their major goal i is another Gilded Age, with even less opportunity for someone to escape by going West, or working 20 hours a day. A permanent ruling class and a permanent underclass. And yes, the voters fell for it, kept electing Reagans and Bushes and now Trumps, plus many reflexively right-wing Republicans who are contemptuous of working people.

    We might win this election on the presidential ballot, we will see about the Senate, which we have to win to make any meaningful change. But the thing which has upset me for decades is that our side does not manage to gain control of the arguments, the framing of the larger issues. We won that argument in 1932 and held it until 1968. Bill Clinton, much underrated, was able to create a new framing, somewhat more conservative than FDR’s, but still worker-centered and empathic. That is one of the reasons why the Republicans despised him and Hillary, not the other trumped up stuff they railed about. Now they are somewhat worried, so they are screaming about socialism. What the Democrats are not able to do is to meet those arguments head-on, and explain to the people what the Republicans are trying to do. For example, the Republicans even admit that they are trying to get rid of ACA, but we hear little about it We could win the White House, but like under Obama, do little to change the narrative,, or get through to people for more than one cycle, exactly what the differences are between the parties. Watch the Republicans talk about everything but their pernicious economic plans for this country, and watch the media go along with whatever distraction issues they focus on.

    • Permanent ruling class?

      Oh, permanent like the French aristocracy? 😈

      But as Saruman said, that will not be my doing. I merely foretell.

  2. Excellent post RD
    and excellent follow up William.

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