Monday, November 01, 2010

Republicans HATE Americans!!!

This is from today's Progress Report:

ELECTION

An Extreme Makeover

During the current campaign season, many Republican candidates have pushed to revive failed and unpopular policies from the GOP past, such as eliminating the Department of Education or privatizing Social Security. "We need to get back to transferring many of the powers of the federal government to the states," said Alaska's Republican Senate nominee Joe Miller, calling for the abolition of Social Security as we know it. "I'd start by eliminating the U.S. Department of Education at a cost of $50 billion and then move on to Housing and Urban Development," said Utah Republican Senate nominee Mike Lee. Lee's call was echoed by Nevada's Republi can Senate nominee Sharron Angle, who said, "I would like to go through to the elimination. I think we start by defunding it, and the reason that we should eliminate it is because its not the federal government's job to provide education for our children." And these newcomers to the national political stage may find many sympathetic ears in the incumbent Congress, as the GOP's shift to the right and embrace of the Tea Party has caused it to espouse an extreme anti-government zeal. These ideas -- and others becoming part of the mainstream right wing, like ending the 14th amendment's guarantee of birthright citizenship -- highlight the extreme policy positions that have come to define the modern-day conservative movement and the candidates that it has adopted.

PRIVATIZING SOCIAL SECURITY : In 2005, President George W. Bush attempted to privatize Social Security, but the effort fell flat in the face of wide public opposition. Bush now says his greatest failure was not privatizing Social Security, and many Republicans are attempting to succeed where Bush did not. According to a Center for American Progress Action Fund review, 104 Republicans in Congress have, at one point or another, supported privatizing Social Security. In all, 47 percent of House Republicans and 49 percent of Senate Republicans are on record in support of the idea. Many Republican candidates for the Senate -- including Pat Toomey (PA), Ken Buck (CO), John Boozman (AR), and Rob Portman (OH) -- have also proposed some form of privatization. This push comes despite the 2008 turmoil in the stock market, which would have cost an October 2008 retiree almost $30,000 in lost savings. In the end, creating private Social Security accounts would impose new risks on seniors , create new administrative costs and benefit reductions, and wouldn't even set the Social Security system on a path to solvency. In fact, such a move would force the federal government into trillions of dollars of new borrowing, as money that should have gone into the general Social Security system gets diverted into the creation of personal accounts. This is an unnecessary risk, as more than 13 million seniors (and 20 million people in all ) are kept out of poverty only because of Social Security.

ABOLISHING THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION : As recently as 1996, the Republican Party platform declared, "The Federal government has no constitutional authority to be involved in school curricula or to control jobs in the market place. This is why we will abolish the Department of Education." However, multiple bills attempting to do so were stymied in Congress. As ThinkProgress' Scott Keyes pointed out, "The last time the Republicans made a concerted effort to eliminate the Department of Education in 1995, they ran into a strong public backlash. Polling conducted by Hart Research Associates found that 80 percent of respondents in June 1995 wanted the Department of Education to be maintained, while just 17% wanted it eliminated." And evidently not much has changed, as a new New York Times/CBS poll found that education funding is the last area in which respondents would like to see spending cuts. But that hasn't stopped plenty of GOP candidates -- 36 in all -- from advocating for the Department's abolition. And those candidates would find plenty of like-minded colleagues in Congress, as 75 incumbents have also supported the idea in the past. The Department of Education is currently responsible for the federal student loan program, Pell Grants, and education reform programs like the Teacher Incentive Fund and Race to the Top.

ENDING BIRTHRIGHT CITIZENSHIP : In April, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), after previously working with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on crafting an immigration reform package, proposed that the 14th amendment's guarantee of birthright citizenship should be overturned. "I'm looking at the laws that exist and see if it makes sense today," Graham said. "Birthright citizenship doesn't make so much sense when you understand the world as it is." While Graham's declaration was challenged by conservatives outside of Congress -- Mark McKinnon, a former Republican adviser to President Bush, said, " ;The 14th Amendment is a great legacy of the Republican party. It is a shame and an embarrassment that the GOP now wants to amend it for starkly political reasons" -- Graham's idea received a very different reception on Capitol Hill, with Sens. John McCain (R-AZ), Jon Kyl (R-AZ), and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) all saying Congress should at least hold hearings on the issue. In all, 130 Republicans in Congress want to consider ending the 14th amendment's citizenship guarantee, which amounts to nearly 60 percent of the Republicans in Congress. As Keyes put it, "Ending birthright citizenship is no idle belief in the GOP caucus. Rather, Republicans have been pushing this idea for n early two decades, introducing 28 separate bills to eliminate birthright citizenship since 1995."

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