Conservative justices on the U.S. Supreme Court are attempting to remake the United States with their states’ rights agenda, particularly Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito. Striking down Roe v. Wade and eliminating the constitutional right to an abortion is just one of their numerous decisions that limit the rights of we the people. And they aren’t finished yet.
The vast majority of Republicans have been clamoring for the end of Roe for decades and now they’ve finally succeeded. I’ve frequently opined, however, that one of the major reasons the GOP has been able to remain a viable political party is that Republicans have failed to get their policies enacted into law. I know, that seems counter intuitive – but allow me to explain.
Recent polls indicate that most voters opposed overturning Roe. Even in his concurrence, Chief Justice Roberts stated that the Court was going too far with this decision. As a result, pundits who were certain that Republicans would easily take control of both the U.S. House and the Senate in November began hedging their bets and here’s a good indication of why.
Fearful Republican candidates are suddenly moderating their previously strong pro-life positions. In a recent Twitter ad, for example, far-right Arizona Senate candidate Blake Masters backtracked on his earlier tough anti-abortion rhetoric. He also rewrote, or scrubbed five of the six positions opposing abortion on his website. Gone are “I am 100% pro-life” and his support for a “federal personhood law (ideally a Constitutional amendment),” according to an NBC News article.
Masters has also changed his position on Social Security. During a candidate forum in June, he stated, “[M]aybe we should privatize Social Security. Get the government out of it,” according to an article in the Arizona Republic. Then, after he won the primary, he did a total about face, claiming, “I do not want to privatize Social Security.” Masters even suggested that payments under the current system should be increased.
Believe it or not, at least two incumbent Republican senators have also attacked the Social Security system, which for decades has been considered the “third rail of politics.” You know, like the power source of some electric railroad systems, if you touch it, you’re dead. That hasn’t deterred GOP Sens. Ron Johnson (Wis.) and Rick Scott (Fla.).
Johnson has advocated for making both Social Security and Medicare discretionary programs, meaning they would be subject to yearly congressional appropriations, instead of guaranteed benefits as they are today.
Scott’s 11 Point Plan to Rescue America proposes that all federal legislation, including Social Security and Medicare, sunset in five years. He states, “If a law is worth keeping, Congress can pass it again.” Oh, how Republicans would love an opportunity to rework and weaken these critical programs for seniors.
But folks, reproductive rights, Social Security and Medicare are just several of the many issues where the GOP is on the wrong side of voter sentiment. This has been true for decades but, curiously, the party never seems to be able to pass the legislation that would implement their major policies, except for tax cuts, mainly for corporations and the wealthy.
To see what the GOP is proposing currently, I reviewed the 112-page, 2023-2032 budget proposal – Blueprint to Save America – from the House Republican Study Committee (RSC), an organization to which most GOP House members belong. Here are its most significant legislative goals, as compared to the Congressional Budget Office 10-year projection of revenues and expenditures under current law.
The RSC Budget proposes:
- Cutting tax revenue by $3.9 trillion and requiring a supermajority vote in the House to raise taxes.
- Repealing the estate tax (which only applies to the wealthiest taxpayers).
- Declaring that human life begins at conception.
- Abolishing most gun controls and prohibiting the keeping of records on gun sales.
- Allowing tax exempt religious organizations to participate in politics.
- Finishing Trump’s border wall.
- Privatizing Medicare by providing insurance premium support subsidies to seniors.
- Providing block grants to states to cover Medicaid, food stamps and other social safety net programs.
- Adopting a federal balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.
I always get some grumbles when I include too many number details, so, I’ll just summarize that the RSC budget would slash federal spending by almost $17 trillion (23%) over the next 10 fiscal years. The lion’s share of this would significantly reduce spending on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other mandatory spending programs, virtually decimating these benefits.
Actually though, there’s nothing new about Republican desires to cut taxes and slash federal spending; it’s been their stated agenda since before Ronald Reagan’s presidency. But here’s the thing. Even with a Republican president and control of Congress they’ve only seriously tried to accomplish a small fraction of it.
Why? Well, I believe GOP election fears after they were successful in getting Roe overturned gives us the answer. Republicans know that if they even attempted to get a few main items of their radical policy positions enacted, they would be removed from office in droves come the next election.
Their “carrot on a stick” budget proposals, however, keep hopeful conservatives eagerly voting for them. Ah, but their failures to get them enacted keeps millions of moderates from voting against them. That enables Republicans to employ their main strategy for winning – spreading misinformation and outright lies about the Democrats and their agenda. Clever, huh?