It's Spring Break for Congress, and Republican lawmakers, fresh from slashing billions from citizen services, bringing the government to the brink of shutdown, and passing through the House Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-WI) budget to give the richest Americans another 10% tax break while eliminating Medicare in favor of a voucher system marched triumphantly home to tout their victories, only to be greeted like an unsightly rash on prom night.
All around the land, Republicans who strode smugly into town hall meetings for a relaxed meet-and-greet with the little folks who made it all possible were greeted by jeers and sneers. What were supposed to be photo-ops for toothy grins in sharp suits pressing the flesh with adoring sycophants turned into nasty Question Time in the House of Commons fencing with rowdy back-benchers.
The natives, along with 84% of the American people, loudly pronounced they didn't want Medicare abolished so the money could be handed directly to private insurers while pawning off future seniors with discount coupons that wouldn't cover a third of their premiums, deductibles, co-pays and other expenses. The natives, along with three-quarters of the American people, figured the top 20% of Americans who owned 85% of everything in America ought to kick in a little more to pay off the debts and budget shortfalls their tax subsidies had run up.
Luckily for the GOP pols, Fox News cameras weren't rolling as they had during the 2009 Health Care tantrums. Fox surely didn't want to show their precious Stepford Legislators getting creamed on national TV. To be fair, Fox couldn't have known the outbursts were going to happen, as they hadn't bused in their Jerry Springeroids, and hadn't set up their make-up wagons, catering trucks, and equipment vans.
A brief recap of the fun fests around the country:
- Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-PA) sparred with a woman who wanted to know why he voted to "abolish Medicare," to which Meehan stumbled around saying he didn't vote to abolish Medicare, but voted for a blueprint to abolish Medicare.
- Rep. Charlie Bass (R-NH) got drilled with question after question about voting for Ryan's budget. "It's important to speak with people who disagree with me," Bass said, presumably because, otherwise, he wouldn't have anyone to talk to at all.
- Rep. Robert Dold (R-IL), after failing to make it through his opening remarks and parrying broadsides aimed at his Medicare couponization stance, retreated to the GOP's tried-and-true tax cut pitch. He told the crowd if corporations didn't get ever larger tax subsidies they'd say, "Fine, I'll take my jobs overseas." The crowd responded by yelling "Let them leave!"
- Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) found out getting by on his measly $174,000-a-year was getting harder all the time with constituents yelling at him about supporting Medicare couponization. Duffy tried to say Ryan's coupon plan wasn't a coupon plan, but rather "premium support." The crowd wasn't buying what he was selling.
- Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA) told folks in Carbon County he wanted to let people get things off their chests, and quickly discovered the crowd had plenty on their chests to get off. The townfolk accused Barletta of voting to destroy Medicare, to which Barletta replied, "I won't destroy Medicare. Medicare is going to be destroyed by itself." The scene degenerated into a shouting match.
- Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the grand poohbah of Medicare couponization and tax cuts for the rich, ran into a bit of a buzz saw from folks who took exception to being condemned to death should they, as seniors, be unable to come up with upwards of 70% of their health care costs while Ryan's plutocrat overlords sipped champagne and nibbled caviar.
After thirty years of buying into the GOP's mantras "More Tax Cuts for the Wealthy," and "More Service Cuts for Everyone Else," some of the locals seemed to be catching onto the notion that the rich had become super-duper-hyper rich while nothing had trickled down toward their own general direction.
The locals seemed aware of a dawning realization that the whole Right-Wing Tea Party Paul Ryan-Ayn Rand, "We're entitled to everything we get and there's no civil or religious morality except to indulge our every selfish whim" credo was a tad anti-social with their's being the society being antied.
Paul Ryan and his nipped, tucked, coiffed and tanned Objectivist paragons of perfection might believe they and their plutocrats overlords' were entitled to their massive horde however they came to get it and everybody else was SOL, but for a couple of hours, they had to sit through that everybody else's vehement objections. They might believe they'd earned all those billions, instead of stolen it from the nation and the society that had created all that wealth. They might believe the nation and the people that had fed them, that had cleared the land and tilled the soil and brought in irrigation and grown the food and brought it to market, that had clothed them, that had raised the fibers and weaved the cloth and stitched the garments, that had cured their illnesses and injuries, that had developed the vaccines and antibiotics and provided the bandages and built the hospitals and provided and trained the doctors and nurses and physical therapists, that had kept them safe from hazards household to environmental, that had brought in the cops and firefighters and EMTs, and had built the roads and electric grids and computer networks was all just so much useless incidental effluence compared to the transcendent pinnacles of entitled perfection that was themselves, but they were in fact nothing more than raving narcissistic sociopaths. If Ryan and every one of the objectionable Objectivists had been born naked on a desert isle and rose to wealth and fame from there without any society around them, they'd still owe the rest of us for a million years of fighting off sabre-toothed tigers and inventing the wheel and questing for fire.
The real issue is that 20% of the people have horded 85% of a nation's wealth they hadn't earned and didn't deserve, and the rest of us just need to sit down with a pencil and a piece of paper to figure out exactly how much of that 85% of stuff we need to pay off all our debts and give ourselves a bit of a future. If anybody says that would make the rich leave, as the folks in Illinois told Dold, "Let them leave." It would create room for a new generation of entrepreneurs, and there aren't that many countries not run by dictators or juntas to run off too anyway. Besides, we could always send collectors armed with an airborne division or two to get our money back.
As the country is lousy with Republican Diebold machines, Republicans seem to show little concern for any sort of election backlash. The GOP's legislative tapeworms are well entrenched and will probably require more than the ordinary, garden-variety plebiscite to root them out.
How's that pitchforky-torchy thing workin' out fer ya?