Last Stand of the White Men in Suits

HOUSE REPUBLICAN LEADERS. AP photo, 02-09-11

Not to belabor the obvious, but does the above photo look like the last stand of Republican white men in suits?

REP. PAUL RYAN. AP photo by J. Scott Applewhite

This morning, Rep. Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, presented the Republican budget for 2012. Joining him were a TV screen full of his Republican colleagues on the House Budget Committee. Everyone present, from what I could see on TV, was a white man. With a few exceptions, they are from the Red States, the heartland of America.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but the Republican budget would cut government spending by $6.2 trillion over a decade, and sharply cut taxes for the wealthy. The top income tax rate would be reduced from 35 percent to 25 percent. Is the U.S. really broke, or is the U.S. wealthy? You decide.

Here is a list of Republican members of the House Budget Committee. White men in suits from the heartland. Only one female name is on the list.

Many believe the Republican budget is so draconian that it's dead on arrival. I hope so, but the hard line on Medicare, especially, is ominous.

NOT TO IGNORE THE REPUBLICANS IN THE SENATE. Roger L. Wollenberg photo, 03-31-11

Umm, the photos above, of Republican leaders in the House and Senate, and the list of Republicans on the House Budget Committee . . . Is this what democracy looks like in America, in 2011? (Disclaimer: Many of my friends and relatives are white men. Come to think of it, I am a white man. Hey, I even own two winter suits AND two summer suits, so I am prepared to attend weddings, funerals, and job interviews in all seasons.)

The name of the Republican budget is “Path to Prosperity.” Rep. Ryan says these words, “Path to Prosperity,” with a straight face, without a hint of irony.

Here’s an early analysis of the Republican budget numbers, from the Huffington Post.

Here’s another analysis by Ezra Klein in the Washington Post.

The “Path to Prosperity” runs right over Medicare and Medicaid. At this moment, it appears to me that the Path to Prosperity would effectively destroy Medicare and Medicaid. Maybe that is a  good thing. Sometimes, I think, the only way to reform a program or a bureaucracy is to destroy it and start over. But I don’t think that’s what Republicans have in mind. I think Republicans intend to privatize health care for the elderly and the poor. In the name of paying off the debt. (For an earlier post on Republican strategy regarding Social Security, see “Divide and Conquer.”)

Also on the Republican chopping block: education, from Head Start to Pell Grants.

I think Republicans are focused entirely on two things: paying off the public debt, and reducing taxes. Two contradictory goals, but possibly both can be accomplished at the same time, by grinding the middle class and the poor — and the elderly — into the dirt. (Go ahead, accuse me of class warfare. Doesn’t this look like a scorched-earth policy to benefit wealthy America and corporate America?)

Rep. Paul Ryan says the Republican budget will “create jobs.”

SHOW ME THE JOBS. How exactly do you create jobs by slashing spending to the bone, on everything except the Department of Defense?

How do you create jobs when Toyota is shutting down 13 factories in the U.S., and food and gasoline inflation is vacuuming up every spare dollar of discretionary spending? AND the U.S. is fighting three wars in the Middle East.

Oh, yeah. And to show their power, or something, Republicans intend to shut down the U.S. government at the end of the week. Will that create jobs?

— John Hayden

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4 Comments

Filed under Democracy, Health

4 responses to “Last Stand of the White Men in Suits

  1. Things look bad.

    I do not understand why Medicare is being targeted like it is. Am I missing something? I hear about Medicare overspending, yet I can’t get certain prescriptions I need because they cost too much. I think the pharmaceutical companies ought to be made to cut back on the cost of their drugs. There are many changes we need to make in this country, but poor people getting poorer and sick or elderly people not having access to good medical care makes no sense at all in America. Absolutely none!

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  2. I would go further and question the whole paradigm that says medical “care” consists of prescribing drugs which make pharmaceutical companies, and their well paid executives and representatives, rich at the expense of taxpayers and medical “consumers” alike.

    Some drugs, like statins, are obscenely oversold and marketed as critical to maintaining health when in fact their usefulness and/or safety is in grave question. Taking the example of statins, these drugs compromise liver function and deplete the body’s supply of an essential enzyme (ubiquinol); at least other countries where statins are routinely prescribed supplement the medication with replacement ubiquinol. The US drug companies don’t. People suffer muscle weakness and memory impairment while Big Pharma swears up and down its drug is safe and necessary.

    The statistics on how many people would have to take statins, at expense and risk, for how long, to prevent (possibly) one heart attack are grotesque.
    http://www.healthy.net/scr/News.aspx?Id=8950
    But your tax dollars and mine pay for these drugs, directly enriching drug companies who have colluded with or greased doctors to keep patients scared to NOT take them.

    And that’s just one drug. Eliminate unnecessary prescription of solutions in search of a problem like this one, and there would be money for drugs that serve a genuine purpose. But the drug company people would have to resign themselves to merely earning an honest living.

    The fox watches the hen house. Doctors take drug company money and then turn around and set health policy, because everyone is afraid to dispute the opinion of the godlike doctor. Medical doctors who don’t toe the party line are ostracized and lose their licenses; I know, I was operated on by one. I later heard a roster of malpractice accusations that were wildly at odds with my experience.

    Meanwhile, the FDA has plenty of time to crack down on people selling safe and healthy foods if they are so reckless as to mention why the foods are healthy.
    http://www.anh-usa.org/tell-the-fda-that-cherries%E2%80%94and-now-walnuts%E2%80%94are-not-illegal-drugs/

    Until we overcome this credulous attitude that health care means the medicalization of every phase of human life, with a drug to fit, it will keep on bankrupting us, at the special expense of people who really are sick.

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    • Thank you Sledpress, for an excellent essay. You’ve provided a service by explaining clearly the corrupted relationships among the drug sellers, doctors, and the FDA. You would be a great journalist (if newspapers still existed).

      I’m increasingly persuaded that blatant CORRUPTION in the business and corporate sectors is a more serious problem than corruption in government. Corporate corruption and collusion with regulators is so bad (and so greedy) that it threatens to fracture modern America beyond repair.

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