By Steve Rohosky
A parade of rightist extremist surrogates and sycophants, as well as Donald “Despicable He” Trump, have stampeded across a multitude of media outlets this presidential campaign. Each deflects pointed criticism of the GOP nominee, then fires back increasingly harsh verbal grenades, meant to minimize potential damage done The Donald while at the same time hoping to blast gaping holes in voter perceptions concerning the accomplishments of Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration.
All while every last Republican talking head worth their worship of Ronald Reagan has resolutely refined a rather bizarre, deeply seated party-wide delusion: that the eight torturous, fractious and near financially catastrophic years of the George W Bush administrations NEVER ACTUALLY HAPPENED.
This seems to have been developed to serve as a key campaign strategy for Republicans, one deployed straight out of their convention and it will surely hold heading toward Election Day: take the calamity Dubya wrought on 99% of Americans and lay it all at the feet of the sitting president and his first Secretary of State.
According to these purveyors of political prevarication, the Bill Clinton presidency bumped right into that of Barak Obama, nothing but a transition team in between. And just like that, eight years of GWB…gone.
Trump has lately taken to blaming the wreckage in Iraq and difficulties of Afghanistan on Obama, trying to sell some increasingly gullible and incredibly low information individuals on the fantasy the president and Hillary Clinton “founded” ISIS. Other right wing proxies spiritedly savage the slow, steady economic improvement and job growth triggered by Obama’s policies.
Done while completely ignoring all the frightfully inept decisions Bush and congressional Republicans implemented which nearly caused what would have been a devastating worldwide depression and did bring about a severe domestic recession.
In support, Trump hammers the idea to his lemming-like supporters that Obama is the worst president in history: Warren G Harding, James Buchanan and Andrew Johnson aside. The reality, of course, is he’s light years away from the worst between the last TWO men to sit in the White House, much less all 42 prior to Dubya.
Fierce to expand beyond the knuckle-dragging white male demographic already locked up, Trump hankers to improve upon his pitiful 1% share of the black vote, his 15% of Latinos. At recent rallies, he burbles to predominantly pasty crowds, white-speaking old stereotypes as to how ALL African-Americans live in poverty, attend horrible schools, get shot walking the street in inner cities, received terrible educations. Like all on the über right, he relishes making twisted statistics his mantra: 58% of blacks being unemployed.
What Republicans tend to conveniently overlook is while the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates only 41% of blacks are in the labor force, Trump refuses to recognize the 58% figure is for ALL those between the ages of 16 and 65. Which includes HS and college students, stay-at-home moms and dads, the retired, disabled, those unable and/or not desirous to work. BIG difference, that.
The reality outside Trumpworld: according to The Atlantic magazine, 12/21/15: “Unemployment among blacks was 9.5 percent during the third quarter of 2015 compared to only 4.5 percent for whites.”
Another much favored, albeit equally misleading statement made during a party primary debate in an attempt to cast aspersions on President Obama’s efforts: the unemployment rate for young blacks is 51% and 36% for youthful Latinos.
Politifact.com debunked it. “Using the standard method for determining the jobless rate, the figure for African-American youths is 31.5 percent and for Hispanic youths it’s 18.6 percent. While those rates are still disproportionately high, they are not nearly as high as” the candidate said.
Certainly, the numbers are disproportionately high when compared to those of whites. No one disputes much improvement is needed in order to equalize employment opportunities among all, including older folks who still want to work, as well as young people. No matter, Republican presidents and GOP members of congress have consistently made comfortable livings by attacking public schools and by stifling the creation of jobs for the working and middle classes since the days when Nancy Reagan’s astrologers were considered nearly cabinet level policy advisers within the administration of The Great (Ex)Communicator.
Over the past nearly eight years, those very same GOP Congresspersons have BLOCKED every single jobs program Obama submitted. They have continuously CUT funding for public education, pre-and-after school programs, for school lunches. All in an attempt to cripple the National Education Association and other teacher unions. Unions which are traditionally very large contributors to the Democratic Party and Dem candidates.
THEN Republicans have had the unmitigated gaul to blame Obama for the generally declining quality of education–especially when compared to that of the more affluent mostly white suburbs–received by students attending inner city schools and the unbalanced educational and employment opportunities open to minority youth. Done while gleefully pretending Reagan, Daddy Bush and Bush the Idiot played NO part.
It seems Trump and his boot lickers take great joy in practicing selective amnesia. All ignore the extensive damage done by Dubya to public schools, the economy, the upwards to 750K jobs lost PER month–MILLIONS of jobs lost overall–during his administration. Republicans want to forget about the two wars waged on the national credit card, the 5,000 American DEAD in Iraq and Afghanistan.
They try their damnedest to overlook the trillions of dollars the Bush White House added to the national debt, the dramatic increase to the budget deficit, in part due to the tens of thousands of governmental workers added between January 2001 and Obama’s ’09 inauguration.
While delivering one of his suddenly scripted speeches recently, The Donald has begun to implore of all minorities, but specifically blacks, “What the hell do you have to lose?” by voting for him. Really?? What people of color have to lose is all the gains made under Obama in trying to repair the damage done by the deplorable policies practiced by Republicans under Bush.
All Americans, other than the Top One Percent, have a tremendous amount to lose were President Trump to adopt the budget House Speaker Paul Ryan has been trying to implement for the past five years: deep cuts to Social Security, including raising the age of eligibility to 70. Consider, too, Ryan’s ultimate goal is to completely privatize the program, to have a for-profit company administer it.
Don’t like that? How about the elimination of Medicare, to be replaced by $5,000 “healthcare” vouchers? Exceed the amount of the voucher in a years time and you’re on your own, sorry.
Ryan wants to eliminate the Department of Education and the Environmental Protection Agencies. Imagine how much worse would be the quality of schools without ANY oversight. Think our rivers, steams, lakes and other waterways would still be the same without the ability to monitor gross polluters? Or for the DOJ to haul them into court to prosecute, seeking penalties for their actions and superfunds to facilitate clean up operations??
NOT a pretty sight.
By and by, the GOP has long tried to turn public education into a voucher system, too–in lieu of governmental subsidies–thus forcing schools to compete with each other for students. A system which would take away even more precious funding in order be to put toward educating students, as a portion of each schools budget will need to be redirected toward competing with others for students and those vouchers.
Too, if a years attendance for your child to attend the school of your choice exceeds the amount of the voucher, YOU pay the difference. Can’t afford it? Looks like Junior or Janie is heading right back to one of those poorly performing schools the voucher program was supposedly meant to improve or eliminate. So much for a parents ability to choose what school their child will attend. Sorry.
Let’s not forget, too, under a President Trump and the Ryan budget you could say goodbye to the US Postal Service, another long-time Republican scapegoat. Seems they just can’t stomach the idea of all those subsidies going to any governmental agency, especially when they’d vastly prefer all that $$$$$ be redirected to private businesses (i.e. BIG GOP campaign contributors.)
Efforts have been underway for several years to cripple the USPS by forcing it to put money for 75 YEARS worth of healthcare benefits away right now, to cover the costs of aging for all employees. A requirement which has left the postal service operating very much in the red ever since, something rightists deceitfully leaped upon to proclaim as “proof” government subsidized mail service is obsolete and a huge drain on the taxpayers. One which would be better served by, you guessed it, privatization, as if ya didn’t know.
“What the hell do you have to lose?” Ever take a look at Trump’s tax plans?? Potentially eight more years of tax policies geared toward the top one percent, for a start. Under his plan, the highest maximum personal rate would be lowered from 39.6% to 25%. He would eliminate the Estate Tax (which currently applies only to inheritances in excess of $5 million, effecting just 0.5% of Americans), the Alternative Minimum Tax and the Gift Tax.
The top federal tax rate on long-term capital gains (income derived from investments, for instance) is currently 23.8%. Trump’s plan would cap that at 20%.
The maximum rate of taxation for businesses would be lowered from the current 35% to just 15%, as if any now pay that high a rate to begin with. According to the GAO, Jul 1, 2013: “Large, profitable U.S. corporations paid an average effective federal tax rate of 12.6% in 2010, the Government Accountability Office said Monday. The federal corporate tax rate stands at 35%, and jumps to 39.2% when state rates are taken into account.”
Trump wants black and brown voters to believe 60 years of Democratic policies and programs have only made their lives worse. Of course he and his surrogates ignore the failings of Nixon, the refusal of Reagan to do anything helpful for minorities, the reading of Bush the Elder’s lips concerning new taxes and the continuation of the failed Trickle Down economic theory–which Bill Clinton had to rectify–the near collapse of the world’s economy brought on by Bush the Younger, leaving a fractured economy once again in dire need of repair and improving by a Democratic president more than up to the task.
Yes, Trump wants voters, especially those of color, to believe reinstating the same policies implemented by recent Republican presidents which have failed time after time after time will somehow miraculously work, this time. He wants Americans to accept isolating the nation from friends and allies, refusing to honor long-standing treaties, a Berlin-like wall erected between Mexico and the US, the backing out of trade agreements and cutting the country off from the rest of the world. Trump moronically crows how these will be good things.
Yet less foreign trade means reduced demand for American goods and services, leading to REDUCED job opportunities, not more as it restricts the market for American products to our own 350 million residents, rather than the 7 BILLION folks comprising the rest of the world.
Refusing to honor treaties and agreements means countries and foreign corporations will no longer trust the word of the US. As a result, they might well no longer invest here, build no new assembly plants to employ American workers, conceivably going so far as to shut existing facilities already standing, possibly including plants which make Honda, Volkswagen, Nissan, BMW, Hyundai, Kia and Mercedes vehicles right here in the US of A. The potential loss of jobs could be more devastating even than that under Dubya.
So when Donald Trump next blithely asks as to what you have to lose, consider fully the ramifications of he and his brood working out of the Oval Office, setting foreign policy, having access to the nuclear codes, potentially choosing several more extreme rightist Scalia-clone justices to sit for several decades on the US Supreme Court.
Consider coordinated legal and congressional attempts to reverse marriage equality and the gains made in civil rights for the LGBTQ community, think about what it would mean to further soften the Second Amendment to the point where instead of a chicken in every pot, it will be a couple of handguns and enough ammo to shoot up the OK Coral.
Contemplate the impact another Republican presidency would have on attempts to severely restrict abortion rights affirmed by Roe v Wade, how religious zealots WILL push for a ruling to limit its scope, too. A new über retrograde SCOTUS might well affirm preventing statewide automatic voter registration for those turning 18 years of age, could severely limit early voting days as well as the hours polls could be open on election days.
Conceptualize how Trump could push for legal approval to restrict voting by the poor, college students and minorities–including the establishment of a national form of ID, one required to be shown in order to vote–and the crown jewel of GOP reactionaries: finalizing efforts to repeal Obamacare, replacing it with nothing.
Now, think of how much better this country could have been under Bill Clinton and Barak Obama had they not been forced to first fix the disasters left them by right wing predecessors. Then contrast it with the devastation to be wrought by any Republican elected president, Trump in particular.
It’s easy to see the risk of yet another is simply too great. And THAT’S what we in the 99% have to lose; far, far more than the overwhelming majority of we Democrats care to relinquish.