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President Obama has finally begun to fight back on behalf of his party’s agenda and against the assumption that Americans just can’t wait to put the Republican Party back in power.
In two speeches last week, the president laid out his agenda and assailed the proposals of the GOP and its House “Speaker-to-be,” John Boehner.
Boehner, you remember, is the genius who declared that “Armageddon” would ensue if the health care reform bill passed. Well, it passed and the great, final battle for the world did not occur. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse have not appeared since its passage.
What happened was this: insurance companies can no longer deny coverage because of a “pre-existing condition.” Young people can remain on their parents’ insurance coverage until they’re 26, and smaller businesses of a certain size are required to offer health insurance to their employees.
Armageddon? Hardly. No one should let Boehner forget his remark, and voters everywhere should remember it before they hand him any more power.
Indeed, the philosophy of the Republican Party and the “conservative movement” that holds it hostage should be fully understood before anyone votes this fall. The current debate over tax cuts illustrates who the party wants to help.
Boehner and other GOP leaders want to keep George W. Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy and even make them permanent. Obama and the Democrats want tax cuts for those who make less than $250,000, but not for those who make more than that.
I read somewhere (though I can’t remember the source) that 97 percent of Americans make less than $250,000 a year. We know, logically, that a great number of that percentage don’t even make $40,000 or $50,000 a year.
We know, too, in this recession that many people are unemployed and many others underemployed. The capitalist phenomenon of “the working poor” has never more evident in modern times than now.
Who are they? Well, how many recognize this way of life? You’re so strapped for money that almost all your bills are paid late; when you finally can pay them, you choose the latest one, especially if it has a “cutoff notice” attached to it.
Each weekly or bi-weekly check is basically spent before you ever get it. When everything is paid, you feel like a rich man if you have a $20 bill or two in your pocket. Sound familiar?
Now, Republicans say they’re not against tax cuts for such people, they just want to include their wealthy friends at the top. But, honestly, do millionaires and billionaires need a tax cut? Do they need any help?
As the week began, Boehner appeared to be softening his stance, admitting that he might just be willing to vote for a bill that didn’t include the tax cuts for the wealthy.
He may be fearing that all voters will figure out what most other astute observers of history and politics have always known: The Republican Party is the party of the rich; it will always prefer to help those at the top before it lifts a finger for anyone else.
This is just as true in 2010 as it was in 1932 and beyond, when FDR stood up for the unemployed and “the working poor” of his day.
If you’re struggling economically - and most of us are - you have no business voting to put Republicans back in power. They’ll simply do what they always do best: help the wealthy and the ignore the rest of us.
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Rick Howell, a Bedford native, can be reached by e-mail at NewCenHowell@aol.com.