In the 2016 presidential campaign, we heard constantly about stupid foreign wars, how foreign countries like China and Mexico were killing us on trade, how we needed to build a big, beautiful border wall, how the drug dealers and rapists were pouring across the Mexican border, how the Heartland had been deindustrialized and the forgotten man had been left behind in America.
It was that winning message which pushed President Donald Trump past his rivals in the Republican primaries and past Hillary Clinton and into the White House. We were sick and tired of hearing the same old True Cons bullshit from the 1980s. The “America First” agenda we voted for was secure the border, end these globalist free trade deals and mind our own business in this world.
A year later, we have spent the political capital of the 2016 election on the healthcare fiasco and the corporate tax cut. There is no Wall. There is no Kate’s Law. The sanctuary cities continue to harbor illegal aliens. The travel ban has been implemented, but applies to countries like Iran and Venezuela which don’t produce terrorists. We’re working on a legislative rescue for DACA recipients. The trade deficit has reached a new high as China and Mexico continue to kill us in international trade.
After pushing through the highly unpopular tax reform bill, the GOP Congress has now decided that even more wildly unpopular “entitlement reform” is their next priority:
“Top officials in the Republican Party have suggested in recent days that they will pursue major entitlement reform following the likely passage of massive tax cuts in the near future.
Those officials, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), have been egged on by their party’s grassroots, which is seeking to capitalize on the party’s legislative momentum in an attempt to alter Medicare and Social Security.
“Many, including Speaker Ryan, realize that this is a challenge that has to be addressed sooner rather than later,” Jason Pye, Vice President of Legislative Affairs at FreedomWorks told The Daily Beast. “Cuts to discretionary spending are always welcome, but this represents around 25 percent of outlays over the next ten years. Mandatory spending, including entitlements and earned entitlements, is around 65 percent of outlays.” …
“I have not the slightest doubt as I have said before, that after the Republicans pass this huge tax giveaway to the wealthy and large corporations, they will be back on the floor of the Senate,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said on the Senate floor last week. “And when they come back, they’ll say, ‘oh, my goodness, the deficit is too high. We have got to cut social security, Medicare, Medicaid, education, and nutritional programs.”
I agree. This is incredible.
After pushing through the $1.5 trillion dollar tax cut and the $700 billion dollar defense spending bill, Ryan and McConnell now want to argue we have no choice but to cut entitlements:
“Now Republicans seem poised to enact much of that very agenda. With corporate tax cuts nearly out the door—pending some ironing out in conference between the House and Senate—Republicans are turning their attention to the welfare system, arguing that neither the deficit nor the economy can afford current programs that help the sick or poor. In a recent radio interview, Ryan told radio host Ross Kaminsky that Republicans will try to reduce spending on Medicare, Medicaid, and anti-poverty programs in 2018, despite the absence of a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. “We’re going to have to get back next year at entitlement reform, which is how you tackle the debt and the deficit,” he said. Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post report that the GOP might start by targeting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (also known as SNAP, or food stamps), the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program (TANF), Social Security Disability Insurance, or Medicaid. …”
They want to give the Pentagon over $60 billion to fund wars in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. Presumably, this money will be spent elsewhere since Russia and Iran defeated ISIS. You can rest assured though that the “fiscal conservatives” will blanch at the idea of funding the border wall. They are already balking at the idea of spending just $1.6 billion to build even a token part of it.
While they hide behind a smokescreen of social issues they don’t really care about (see their reaction to Roy Moore), everything that Ryan and McConnell have done for a year now – American Health Care Act (healthcare), the Financial CHOICE Act (banking reform), the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (tax reform) – has shown their true agenda is to reward large donors, employers and corporate lobbyists at the expense of working class voters. Why aren’t the deficit hawks sounding the alarm about military spending? Do we have the money to finance a $705 million dollar missile defense program for Israel?
This should prove to be another interesting test of Candidate Trump vs. President Trump. We had been told that tax reform would include a border tax and eliminate the carried interest loophole. Candidate Trump was adamant that he was going to “take care of everybody” and not touch entitlements. He also wanted a new relationship with Russia and to stay out of Syria. We were going to BUILD THE WALL and get rid of all these awful trade deals and do all this other really cool stuff.
President Trump can’t do that while being a rubber stamp for the Ryan agenda. If this continues, the Republicans in Congress are going to get wiped out in the 2018 midterms for doing this unpopular shit and that will be end of any hope of passing the MAGA agenda for the next two years.