With the 2010 lame duck session finally over, Republicans are gearing up for their new austerity program. They will ask the American people to take dramatic cuts in government services, including in housing, education, unemployment, health care, police services and tax deductions for the middle class. The austerity program follows a Republican “No Vote Pact” in which the senate GOP refused to vote for the Repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the Dream Act and the Start Treaty for national security until the passage of unfunded tax breaks for millionaires.
Dream Army Camp In Front of Senator McCain’s Office
The GOP used newly elected Republican Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire to announce their mandate for austerity. In a message from Ayotte on January 01, 2011 in the L.A. Times, it was announced:
“The American people sent us to Congress with clear instructions: make … government smaller, not bigger. And stop spending money we don’t have on programs that aren’t working.”
Ayotte made no mention of the Republican Party’s insistence on putting an extra $139,000 of unfunded tax cut money into the pockets of every person who already has $1,000,000 in net income at their disposal. These millionaires were not satisfied with the proposed tax cuts on the first $250,000 in income. Nor did Ayotte mention the billions of dollars the unfunded tax cut will cost the American people.
“This isn’t a Republican problem or a Democrat problem – it’s an American problem that will require tough decision-making from both parties. Republicans are ready to lead that fight.”
Ayotte is half right. This isn’t a Republican problem. They already stuffed their pockets with every dime of tax payer money possible in a greedy grab for even more. The balancing of the budget will come out of what is left to the middle class and the poor, by raising the age to qualify for social security, college scholarships, refusing to fund organ transplants, repealing the mortgage interest deduction, all on the backs of the poor and the middle class to pay for the millionaires’ tax cut.
Meanwhile, during the lame duck session, Republicans finally dolled out crumbs to those waiting for social change. Even so, while they finally agreed to the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, clearing the way for gays to openly serve in the military, no progress has been made for gay couples to legitimize their relationships through marriage. The immigration system remains manifestly unjust as gays involved in long term committed relationships still cannot petition for their spouses to live in the US with them, unlike straight couples. No solution has been presented to secure the borders and naturalize 11 million undocumented workers in the U.S. under comprehensive immigration reform (CIR).
The Ayotte message spoke of the need for a strong military. Yet, she remained silent about the Republican role to kill the Dream Act. Children of undocumented workers who were brought here before they could even form memories asked to be allowed to go to college or serve in the military.
Under the Dream Act, if the students obtained degrees or performed their military service, they could petition to become permanent residents after 10 years. Several years after that they could petition to become citizens. In the meantime, the students had to pass a background check, pay fines which when tolled could add three billion to the treasury, agree to pay out-of-state tuition, and agree to pay the cost of medical care during the 10-year period.
Even after a study showed the students would add jobs and billions to the economy, Republicans refused to give anything to the poorest in society. Five Democratic senators joined the with conservative Republicans in sealing the fate of the Dream Act in 2010.
The Republican “instructions to make government smaller” means increasing the debt to give wealthy people tax breaks while reducing government services to the poor. In the case of the poorest, their “instructions” mean giving nothing at all, especially to Latino immigrants. The U.S. has become a land in which a few who have more than they could ever need demand even more, while the masses clamor to feed and clothe themselves while fighting for basic civil rights.