How Can the GOP Run American Government If They Hate It?

The coal country state of West Virginia is in the middle of a special legislative session to deal with a $270 million budget shortfall, and it's setting the stage for Republicans to completely gut the state's government.

It's the same playbook we've seen the right-wing carry out in Wisconsin, in Kansas, in Michigan, and in Ohio.

West Virginia is facing a massive budget deficit because of the collapsing coal industry and rising unemployment, and despite the recommendations of the Democratic governor, the Republican controlled legislature refuses to consider any new revenue sources.

The state is reeling right now, after House Democrats shot down a tobacco tax paired with a 1 percent sales tax increase that would disproportionately hurt low-income residents.

The Democrats wanted to see a higher tobacco tax and a lower sales tax increase, and the Republicans joined with them just because they simply hate any taxes that might be used to support poor people or improve the quality of life for working people.

So, what is the Republican answer to the budget shortfall?

Cut spending and gut the state government, of course!

West Virginia Republican Delegate Patrick Lane is one leader in the anti-American-government crusade in that state, and he's claiming that he can generate up to $150 million in savings by raiding the state's "rainy day fund," by cutting education at the regional and state level, and by privatizing highway "courtesy patrols," among other budget cuts.

If that sounds familiar, it should: it's "Reaganomics" at the state level.

For years now, Republican governors and legislatures have been using Reagan's tactics to destroy their state's economies while creating massive profits for large corporations and the super-wealthy.

Take Wisconsin, where Scott Walker cut taxes for the wealthy, went on an all-out assault on the University of Wisconsin system, and privatized everything from criminal justice to transportation in the state.

Walker's hate-American-government policies have raised tuition costs, depressed wages and destroyed many of the state's good paying jobs, and led to a $2.2 billion budget shortfall.

We've seen this play out with Sam Brownback's "economic experiment" that massively cut taxes on rich people, and thus destroyed public services in Kansas while providing Brownback with an excuse to raise taxes on the lowest 40 percent of earners.

And by the way, 6 years after starting his great experiment with the "red state model", Sam Brownback still refuses to raise taxes on the rich, and in 2016 the state was still $290 million short of a balanced budget.

Destroying American and local government, and refusing to raise taxes, is what directly led to the Flint water crisis after Snyder ended democracy in Detroit and Flint and instead appointed corporate crony "emergency managers" to privatize public services and gut spending for anything not used by rich people.

Even Ohio Governor John "Mr. Moderate" Kasich used his state budget deficit as an excuse to attack public unions, to privatize schools and prisons, and to end that state's inheritance tax.

And even though Kasich cut state spending, he also cut funding to townships and municipalities, meaning that local townships were forced to raise taxes on their working-class residents just to provide basic services like roads and water.

This isn't just the result of good intentions paving the road to economic hell.

The simple truth is that the Republican party hates American government in general, and they'll do everything in their power to break American government from the state level up, and from the federal level down.

They trod out tired lines like "Government isn't the solution! Government is the problem!"

But what they really mean is that they think American Government is the problem.

They'll never say it out loud, because they claim to be super-patriots clinging to the Constitution, but the reality is that they actually hate the government that our Founders set up.

Back in 1944, Vice President Henry Wallace warned us about people like Walker, Brownback, Snyder, Kasich, and all the Republicans in state legislatures who are manufacturing legislation on behalf of corporate interests and the billionaire class.

Wallace called them American Fascists and he wrote in the New York Times that "They claim to be super-patriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. They demand free enterprise, but are the spokesmen for monopoly and vested interest. Their final objective toward which all their deceit is directed is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjection."

Thanks to dark money organizations that explicitly bring together lobbyists and legislators, like the American Legislative Exchange Council, Republicans now control the executive branch and the legislative branch in 23 states.

And they're using that control to weaken our American government, the same American government that millions of Americans have fought for and died to defend over the course of American history.

The presidential election is important, but it's even more important that Americans vote the anti-American-Government Republicans out of state legislatures and governor's mansions.

As Americans, we need to call out Republican lies about American government, and come together to fulfill our Founders' vision for a prosperous American Democracy that honestly serves the interests of We, the People.


Lloyd Lutterman's picture
Lloyd Lutterman 8 years 3 weeks ago

Blame belongs to khazar bankers

Kpax's picture
Kpax 8 years 3 weeks ago

Blame belongs to the foolish American public that never comes together to oust the status quo/establishment! I'm in my 50's and nothing has changed to help, and I mean truly help the working class. This government works for lobbyists and corporations. The people get screwed and we do nothing to correct the injustice! The public are ill informed and they don't give a damn! They continually vote against their best interest. I'm tired of blaming the a##holes in office, it's the stupid public! The people can make the change but they don't take the time to enforce our politicians to do the job they have been elected to perform.

sandlewould's picture
sandlewould 8 years 3 weeks ago

Wow... ponderring Thom's news makes it hard to see a silver lining.

Since the dawn of agriculture, non-natives have had a growth mentality and growth economies.

There is one thing completely absent from debate, even in Bernie’s campaign. We are at the absolute maxed out phase of an infinite growth economy. Even w/out climate change, we need to move an egalitarian resource based economy to survive as a species, and be capable of having a rational discussion of how to limit the growth of human population.

Ok, here goes..Since it’s anything goes Fri, I wanted to discuss a podcast from Guy McPherson’s show ‘Nature Bats Last’ as it may relate to Zika. There was a story a few weeks back that I believe Thom also commented on to the effect that Zika was very prevalent all over So./Central America. w/ little to no consequence and that the microcephaly epidemic unique to Brazil was possibly caused by chemicals dumped in the water to kill mosquitoes ahead of the summer olympics. I’d like to remind people that before 9/11, conspiracy theorists were considered critical thinkers, as long as they didn’t promote their theory as fact. Here is a link to Guy McPherson’s podcast in which Mark Austin, former homeland security scientist turned whistle blower discusses what the Gov. plans to do in the event of financial, climate, nuclear or civil collapse. 25 min. into the broadcast, he begins to discuss a pandemic potentially planned for North America this summer. I live on the OH river. usually we have lots of mosquitoes. We have had a very wet spring… and yet, not one mosquito, not a single one. What have they dumped in the river?

larm007's picture
larm007 8 years 3 weeks ago

As usual, Thom is right on.

Kend's picture
Kend 8 years 3 weeks ago

If government spending is the answer how come after going in debt almost a trillion dollars a year for the last 7 years, things are not perfect. What comes after trillion?

Willie W's picture
Willie W 8 years 3 weeks ago

More government spending ​is the answer. The rich avoiding paying their fair share of taxes is the problem. America could be "great again" if greed didn't keep getting in the way.

ckrob's picture
ckrob 8 years 3 weeks ago

The problem is where the tax money has moved from the middle class to the top .01 percent for the last forty years. Taxes were used, at one time, for the benefit of the majority. Where do you think all these multibillionaires came from?

Dr. Econ's picture
Dr. Econ 8 years 3 weeks ago

Let me know any government that had ever spent less than the previous year.

I would hardly call that 'gutting'.

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