Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Probable Impact of Republican Rule in 2013

Mitt Romney has switched gears (something he does regularly) since he debated contenders for the Republican nomination in what may seem for some ages and ages ago. But if you have tracked on Republican rhetoric over time, you know what they really stand for. If you're okay with the Republican agenda, and you think Romney would make a good president, then okay, no problem. But I'd urge anyone with an open mind to consider how things will go down with a Republican president and the Congress split, or for better or worse, depending on your point of view, if Republicans control both the House and the Senate.

On the economy, Republicans have been vocal about what they'd do:

The negative impact on revenues will then give Republicans the excuse they need to drastically reduce the size of government, by eliminating, combining, and/or cutting back government agencies, including (of the ones they remember) the:

  • Department of Education
  • Department of Energy
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Department of Commerce.

Republicans have called Social Security a "giant ponzi scheme," and although their rhetoric has moderated as the election year advances, there's no question that they would overhaul the program given the chance. Their favorite fix was "privatizing" social security, by diverting funds to allow individuals to have tax deferred private savings accounts. Republicans were not as vocal about that idea after the stock market crashed, savaging people's IRAs, 401Ks and other retirement accounts.
Republicans have proposed turning Medicare into a voucher program, which would slash benefits and result in increasing costs borne by seniors. Presumptive presidential candidate Mitt Romney has specially endorsed such a plan. It does nothing to control health care costs, thus more and more of the costs of health care will be the sole responsibility of seniors.

Republicans stance on women's rights are well known. America under Republican rule would see women's access to safe abortions greatly restricted, if not eliminated. Roe vs. Wade could well be overturned. The idea of women being required to undergo intrusive ultrasound tests before undergoing an abortion would likely become widespread.

Republicans will also cut "burdensome" regulations, or cut the funding of agencies which enforce them. They will:

Republicans have made it clear that if they are in control, they will go full speed ahead on opening new areas for oil and gas drilling, including in the Gulf (site of the recent BP disaster), in Alaska, and on the continental shelf.

Republicans will eliminate the funding for:

  • Planned Parenthood
  • Public Broadcasting
  • National Public Radio
  • National Endowment for the Arts

A current House Republican bill would cut funding for implementation of provisions of Affordable Care Act (ACA) that are to go into effect this year. If Republicans control both houses of Congress in 2013, they will repeal ACA, as they have promised.

Republicans have been outspoken on their opposition to same-sex marriage and a constitutional amendment prohibiting even civil unions may well come about under Republican rule.

Gun control will be forgotten under Republicans. In fact, the spread of laws, such as Florida's "stand your ground" law can be anticipated, creating a nightmare of further Trayvon Martin type shootings and difficult to impossible prosecution of offenders.
Republicans may well have the opportunity to further seed the US Supreme Court with conservative justices. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Stephen Breyer, both liberals, are in their seventies and would likely retire in the next president's term. A 7 to 2 conservative majority in the SCOTUS is a virtual certainty in a Republican presidency and congress.

If Republicans control Congress, they are very likely to eliminate/modify the filibuster rule to prevent Democrats from obstructing Republicans the way Republicans have obstructed Democrats. The on-going debate between Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell demonstrates the probability of the so-called "nuclear option" being employed by a Republican-controlled Senate.

There is also the question of what Republicans will NOT do. We'll cover that in a future post. Think climate change, campaign finance reform, and reform of Wall Street.

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