Monday, July 2, 2012

Tax Boogeyman for President!

Mitt Romney and all those running down ballot in the Republican column are convincing themselves that the upholding of the Affordable Care Act has a poisonous silver lining: taxes.
Supreme Court Justice John Roberts decided that the penalties for not purchasing mandated health insurance coverage are a tax and therefore Constitutional. After Republicans thrashed Roberts verbally and even pushed their shrill rhetoric to include one of their favorite wind-up toys, high crimes and misdemeanors free impeachment, they got back to their cynical and selfish selves to reframe the battle for health care to be all about taxes. The bottom line for the GOP on health care is neither solutions that extend coverage for the US population nor an alternative vision of true affordability and access, especially for the poor.
Maine Republican Chair Charlie “bus-watcher” Webster was quick out of the gate with the newly improved GOP attack-du-jour:
“I thought Obama said he would never raise taxes on the middle class. Well, this is obviously another bait and switch tactic the Democrats used to push their tax, borrow, and spend agenda on the American people, when all along they said this was ‘not a tax’.”
Will voters fall for an anti-tax line again?
Frankly it remains to be seen since Citizens United basically allows unlimited money to pour into our politics. Even should there be widespread support for the Affordable Care Act, it’s just from mere people not the self-important elitist financial interests with the most cash. And cash spends pretty easy and with more pronounced results tearing down something as a tax versus making an articulated case for fulfilling a genuine need in our society that requires fair investment support.
However, at the very core of this debate, one thing is visibly lacking: a viable Republican alternative. Anyone giving reasoned review to the GOP mantra about competition knows that it just leads to the high deductable, low benefit equation that benefits insurance interests’ bottom lines and only results in competition for the largest chunk of poor and middle class’s wallets in their struggle to avoid the gambling chance of medical bankruptcy. And the other GOP standard fencepost, competition between the states, is really about being able to buy into the worse levels of regulation from states that care less about their citizens and are more in political pocket of big insurance.
The bitter truth is that health care is not really a Republican priority; it neither fits with their market worship of picking winners and losers nor their “got mine, you’re on your own” attitude of class warfare. The anti-tax party is exposed once again as the anti-people party. We have not seen anything creative dedicated to health care delivery since the 2006 “Act Providing Access to Affordable, Quality, Accountable Health Care” in Massachusetts under then Governor Mitt Romney. But, hey, why go there?

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