Republicans Abandon Their Values Under Adversity

by Walter Rhein 2 months ago in humanity

Coronavirus Demostrates the Need For Social Programs

Republicans Abandon Their Values Under Adversity
Photo by Fusion Medical Animation on Unsplash

A few months ago the United States had a bustling economy with a record setting stock market. Today, all the gains from the last three years are gone, and most of the nation is practicing social distancing. Schools, restaurants, and non-essential businesses have closed their doors and we face a global recession.

What changed?

A virus that the Trump administration boastfully referred to as a “hoax” has blossomed into a global pandemic. In one of his early incompetent decisions, Trump cut funding to the National Security Council and left us unprepared to mount an effective response. At the end of this disaster, lives will have been lost, individuals will go bankrupt, and it may be years before we see a complete recovery.

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Sadly, the impact of this pandemic could have been largely mitigated but for an absurd dedication to Republican policies that have weakened the core of our nation. Some people have suggested a Trump recession was inevitable, and Coronavirus has simply sped up the timeline.

Political rhetoric has been ramping up for months to prepare for the 2020 election. Fundamental to the GOP is a stern admonishment against anything they refer to as an “entitlement” or a “safety net.” They apply this label broadly, and incorrectly, often denouncing such programs as Social Security. The funds for Social Security come right out of your paycheck, and it’s important to note that when GOP pundits discuss making cuts, they never indicate any plans to cut the payroll tax everyone pays.

Here's a video of Ronald Reagan saying the same thing:

When a politician dares to speak on behalf of the working class, conservatives often start frothing at the mouth.

“Bernie Sanders wants to give away free stuff,” is a phrase you’ll often see on Social Media memes. “They’re trying to buy an election!”

However, the second the Coronavirus emergency hit, Trump made an instant pivot and launched into a proposal to send every American a check for thousands of dollars.

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These pivots are the sticking point for why Republican ideologies have to be abandoned. The second things get difficult, they immediately disregard their core principles and embrace a kind of desperate and costly corporate socialism.

Cutting safety net programs to save money is as stupid as trying to cut household expenses by refusing to get an oil change. The thirty dollars you save today turns into a thirty thousand dollar expense a few months down the road when the engine drops out of your car.

It’s insane, and we’re seeing same concept on a national scale now.

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Putting a reasonable plan in place to combat wealth inequality a decade ago would have greatly helped to soften the effects of this pandemic.

The bottom 40% of our population holds only 0.2% of the nation’s total wealth. Most Americans live paycheck to paycheck, and a crippling economic stoppage like we’re seeing as a result of Coronavirus is not something most American citizens can handle.

In the richest country in the world, this scenario is absolutely immoral. The majority of Americans are under such tight financial constraints that they can’t miss a single paycheck. In a country that claims to love freedom, most of the working class is condemned to perpetual debt slavery.

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Another factor which makes our nation vulnerable to a pandemic is our deplorable and exploitative health care system. People routinely post horror stories about visiting a clinic out of their regular service area only to receive bills amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

It’s hypocritical that Republicans scoff at the idea of a national health plan, when citizens literally have to donate their own blood and organs to make our current health care system work. Imagine getting stuck with a crippling bill after receiving a transfusion of your own blood donated out of a sense of social responsibility.

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Today, people are terrified to go into the hospital for fear of losing everything they’ve ever worked for in their whole lives. As a result, some people die due to non-treatment of what should have been minor health issues.

In a pandemic, this problem is magnified. People need to get tested to make sure they are not transmitting the disease, but they have already been trained not to go into a hospital. Also, they can’t afford to miss a shift, so sick people report to work and inadvertently help the illness spread.

Everything about our cutthroat society has trained our population to behave in a way that magnifies the destructive reach of a pandemic. The majority of these philosophies can trace their roots to Republican ideology.

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For years, progressive politicians have been calling for changes to our social structure that would make our nation more prosperous and less vulnerable. They want national health care, paid sick leave, better wages, the list goes on and on. Any of these changes would have greatly limited the economic of a few weeks or months of quarantine.

The Republican party opposes every one of these ideas.

Now, to make up for their past mistakes, the Republicans are dedicating trillions of taxpayer dollars in bail out packages. Unfortunately, a lot of this money is going to wealthy individuals and businesses.

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The next time somebody tries to say that the wealthy “earned” their money. Remind them of the trillion dollar bail outs.

Under normal circumstances, the Republicans extol the benefits of capitalism. In proper capitalism, inept businesses fail and superior businesses take their place. However, if the government bails out inept businesses, superior entrepreneurs are permanently squeezed out of the marketplace.

Photo by Fas Khan on Unsplash

The richest 10% of Americans horde 76 trillion dollars in wealth. Why do the richest people need a bailout? When a small business gets into financial difficulty, the owners are forced to liquidate assets to provide themselves sufficient cash flow to navigate the hard times. Why are the richest individuals in our nation exempt from this? Also, if taxpayers are funding a bailout, shouldn’t taxpayers own part of the businesses that are being saved?

But no, the next time taxes enter the public discourse, Republicans will once again demand massive tax cuts for the wealthy.

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The United States spends almost a trillion dollars a year on a military budget. Unfortunately, the Coronavirus has shown how decades of Republican influence has left our nation’s security and economic prosperity utterly unprotected.

Our nation is strong and will recover. It’s up to us to learn from this disaster and take the necessary steps to ensure we are better protected against any future adversity. Our social programs strengthen our nation. Irresponsible cuts end up costing us more in the long run than they ever save in the short term.

Good principles remain good under all circumstances. When you routinely abandon your core values in tough times, it demonstrates your core values are flawed.

Photo by Bluehouse Skis on Unsplash

humanity
Walter Rhein
Walter Rhein
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Walter Rhein

I'm a small press novelist. Shoot me an email if you want to discuss writing in any capacity, or head over to my web page www.streetsoflima.com. [email protected]

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