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Yesterday, the Senate voted 51-48 to extend the Bush era tax cuts for one more year for all households making less than $250,000 per year. A bill in the Senate extending all Bush tax cuts for another year was defeated 45-54. The House will vote on the issue next week. The GOP controlled House is expected to pass an extension for all taxpayers, and more than likely, defeat any proposal which ends Bush era tax cuts for America's richest citizens.
While these votes are primarily for theatrical, election-year posturing purposes, Republicans are making it crystal clear that they will defend to the death the rights of our richest few to never again pay more in taxes. For perspective, I must remind readers that America's richest haven't paid lower tax rates since Harry Truman was president.
Meanwhile, redstate governors are lining up to opt out of expanding Medicaid as outlined in Obamacare. Here in Ohio, GOP leaders Gov. John Kasich and his Lt.Gov. Mary Taylor are planning to opt out of participating in any Medicaid expansion. As the New York Times reported yesterday, that will mean that more Ohioans.....more poor citizens in other GOP-controlled states, will die prematurely.
Medicaid expansions were associated with a decline of 6.1 percent in deaths, or about 2,840 per year for every 500,000 adults added.
It's the contrast here that I want to address today.
Modern conservatives say they are deficit and debt hawks, oh-so-worried about wrestling budget deficits down to manageable levels....as well as working on that $15 trillion national debt. That's what modern conservatives tell us....repeatedly. Yet, not one Senate Republican voted to find $80 billion per year in new revenue through ending the Bush rates for the top 2%. The top 2%, who have done fabulously well in the last decade....and want for absolutely nothing.
At the same time that federal GOP representatives are catering to the wishes of the top 2%.....state GOP leaders are working hard to deprive their state's poorer citizens of Medicaid coverage provided for in the Affordable Care Act. For the first few years, states do not have to place one dime into the expanded Medicaid program. And after that, only 10%. But GOP state leaders will have none of it. As a result, for every 500,000 citizens a resistant redstate has.....2840 of them will die prematurely from lack of medical coverage.
Apparently, that's perfectly fine with Kasich in Ohio, Scott in Florida, Walker in Wisconsin....and the rest of the redstate GOP governors. To these nullification conspirators, the "uncertainty" of future state budgets is much more important than the preventable, premature deaths of thousands of poor redstate citizens. To me, it's monstrous....to conservatives, it's fiscal responsibility.
And so I must ask: When was it, exactly....that we decided as a people that low tax rates for the richest 2% took precedence over the lives of thousands and thousands of poor Americans? How did the conservative right become so calloused and jaded that they could cheer for continuing tax giveaways to the filthiest of rich among us, while simultaneously, enthusiastically denying poor Americans access to health care coverage?
If this isn't enough to dishearten you about the future of our hopelessly divided country, consider that the entire GOP, including the GOP presidential candidate.....plan on cutting the tax rates of our wealthiest citizens by another ONE THIRD, should Republicans retake control of the reins of the federal government.
In Ohio, GOP Governor Kasich......the same guy who says that the "uncertainty" over future state budgets prevents him from saving the lives of thousands of could-be Medicaid participants....is working overtime to find a way to reward his rich buddies by eliminating the Ohio state income tax altogether.
Again, to me, this is unfathomable, cruel and unusual, despicable, and reprehensible.
To conservatives....it's the way forward.