What Happened To The Anti-Death Panel Tea Partiers?

Image of an angry mob
The Tea Party Death Panel

The last two cheap labor Republican debates have attracted a crowd that is part ugly and douchebaggery in the extreme. In the debate last week the largest cheer was when it was pointed out that Governor Rick Perry oversaw 234 executions. Monday night Ron Paul got applause and someone shouted out “Yes” when he was asked if someone without health insurance should be allowed to die, and Michelle Bachmann tried to claim a cancer vaccine caused brain damage. Is this what we have become? Really? 

Teapublicans cheer death for uninsured (09/12/2011)

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Debt ceiling deal: A solution in search of a problem

Clipart of a hand shake

Just like during the budget fight last December, the ruling oligarchy took it to the last moment to agree on a deal on raising the debt ceiling. “Good” for them. The deal though is a solution looking for a problem.

As I have written before, cutting the budget now is stupid. It was stupid when it was done back at the end of last year.

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Debt ceiling “crisis” is actually a tyranny of the money majority

Image of a bounced check

As the Republicans drive us closer to the cliff of financial ruin, the fact is that the debt ceiling needs to be raised to pay for what has already been budgeted. Remember the government shut down crisis in December? Not only is this crisis a Tea Party wet dream, but the Democrats don’t get off the hook. Who’s bright idea came up with the need to cut the deficit while the economy wobbles after the gut punch in 2008 that led to 9%+ unemployment, tanked the housing market, and the largest income gap since 1928. What we are seeing isn’t just a GOP vs. Democrat battle, it’s the tyranny of the money majority.

The debt ceiling has to be raised to pay for the budget that was passed in December. This is similar to paying your credit car bill a month after using it to buy something. If you don’t pay your credit card bill on time or at all you get socked with a massive interest rate increase. That will happen for a start if the ceiling isn’t raised. It could also lead to grandma not getting her social security check and the weak recovery we have been under will bottom out. Then 9% unemployment would be seen as the good old days.

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No Public Option No Campaign Funds Period

As we come down to the end of the debate on health care reform, I made a personal decision that I hope others will adopt who support a strong public option. It’s pretty simple – if there is no Public Option in the final bill then I will not donate or support any political campaign for anyone who voted to either water it down or keep it out. I made up a graphic that breaks this idea into a sound bite.

Defending government is easier today

The one thing about current political debate or any kind of debate is the need for “talking points”. These are buzzwords or short phrases that quickly make a point and say more than the number of words used. Usually the person or group who come up with the quickest talking points can frame the debate. It is kind of like a gun fight – the quickest draw wins. Some of my conservative friends have told me during the current health care reform debate that “Obamcare is socialized medicine” or “Medicare is clogged with waste and fraud”. I needed some place to go to rebut some of the classic “government is bad” arguments from the right and I think I found it.

Some years ago on an e-mail list I use to be on, a guy came on spouting Libertarian arguments hard and fast. Many times I didn’t have a quick way of refuting the classic arguments even though I knew he was wrong. Then I found the A Non-Libertarian FAQ which allowed me in some cases to cut and paste answers to his arguments like “Social Contract? I never signed no steenking social contract. ” etc….

With the right media bias currently, the political arguments today get framed by conservative talking heads with little to no counter arguments from people on the left side of the spectrum. Most times the host – like David Gregory of Meet the Press – just lets the conservative spew their talking points like it was a press conference rather than a political show.

I needed a place that had some good rebuttals I could use when I had my own debates with friends who like to parrot talk radio.

Government is Good is recent addition to my bookmarks as it offers a quick way to answer the arguments from the right about how bad government is. For example:

When the Republicans took over Congress in the mid-1990s, one of their first priorities was to “reform welfare” along these lines. In a landmark 1996 bill, welfare was declared to be no longer an entitlement, and strict time limits and work requirements were imposed on recipients – all designed to discourage people from staying on welfare and forcing them onto the job market. This legislation has come to be celebrated by conservatives as one of the most successful policies coming out of that period. They point out that between 1996 and 2003, the number of people on the welfare rolls dropped by over 60%.

This is pretty impressive. But unfortunately, the effect of this reduction of the welfare rolls on the poverty level was not what Republicans had predicted. If welfare was actually a major cause of persistent poverty, then we should have also seen a dramatic decrease in poverty as millions of people were forced off welfare and onto the job market. But this is precisely what did not happen. The poverty rate did not fall by 60% or 50%. Not even by 40% or 30%. Not by 20%, nor even by 10%. It fell by a measly 8% — from 13.7% to 12.5% from 1996 to 2003.

How can this be explained? It is simple. Conservatives were wrong about poverty being largely caused by government welfare programs. First, they ignored the fact that most poor people aren’t even on welfare – and that many of them work already. Second, as many scholars of poverty have pointed out, the major causes of poverty in this country are mostly in the economic system. Most people are poor for two reasons: (1) there is a chronic lack of jobs, and (2) many low-level jobs pay wages below the poverty level. 

Why Government Becomes the Scapegoat

So if you are looking for some backup in your own debates with people who claim government is bad for us then check out the website.