Republican Jobs Plan: Bigger Tax [Breaks] For The Rich – After opposing, stalling, stonewalling and filibustering almost every recession-related bill for the past year, Republican lawmakers have finally proposed a jobs plan of their own: a bigger, more expensive version of George W. Bush’s tax cuts for the rich.
A bill introduced by Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) proposes deep tax [breaks] favoring the wealthiest in America, a reduction in regulatory oversight and the elimination of a federal tax on the estates of millionaires, which will allow wealthy investors to escape taxes entirely on a significant portion of their [estate assets]. Here’s the (un)funny part: Republicans have named this bill “The Economic Freedom Act of 2010.” Like freedom of the rich to do whatever they want to the rest of us.
The Republican Party’s Agenda To [Mutilate] The Constitution – Since President Obama took office, Republicans have shrouded their agenda of opposition by wrapping it in the flag and the Constitution. Yet, for all of their constitutional pabulum, the Republican Party’s agenda is nothing less than a direct assault on America’s founding document. Time and time again, Republicans have called for basic constitutional freedoms and fundamental aspects of our constitutional government to be repealed either by amendment or by their activist judges:
REPEALING CITIZENSHIP: Numerous GOP lawmakers, including their Senate leader and the most-recent Republican candidate for president, are lining up behind a “review” of the 14th Amendment’s grant of citizenship to virtually all persons born within the United States. Such a proposal literally revives the vision of citizenship articulated by the Supreme Court’s infamous pro-slavery decision in Dred Scott v. Sanford. It has no place in the twenty-first century.
REPEALING THE CONSTITUTION’S COMMERCE CLAUSE: The Constitution’s “Commerce Clause” gives national leaders broad authority to regulate the national economy, but much of the GOP has embraced “tentherism,” the belief that this power is small enough to be drowned in a bathtub. The most famous example of tentherism is the ubiquitous frivolous lawsuits claiming that health reform is unconstitutional, but these lawsuits are part of a much greater effort. In his brief challenging health reform, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli claims that Congress is allowed to regulate “commerce on one hand” but not “manufacturing or agriculture.” Cuccinelli’s discredited vision of the Constitution was actually implemented in the late 19th and early 20th century, and it would strike down everything from child labor laws to the federal ban on whites-only lunch counters.
REPEALING THE ABILITY TO PROVIDE FOR THE COMMON GOOD: The Constitution also gives Congress power to “provide for the common defense and general welfare,” a broad grant of authority to create federal [beneficial] programs such as Social Security. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), however, recently called upon the Supreme Court to rewrite the Constitution’s clear language and repeal parts of the budget he doesn’t like. A Texas GOP official even went so far as to claim that the federal highway system is unconstitutional. Should this GOP vision of the Constitution ever be adopted, it could eliminate not just Social Security, but also Medicare, Medicaid, federal education spending and countless other cherished programs[ and result in more privateering].
REPEALING THE ABILITY TO RAISE MONEY: The Constitution also gives Congress broad authority to decide how to distribute the tax burden. Thus, for example, Congress is allowed to create a tax incentive for people to buy houses by giving a tax break to people with mortgages, and it is allowed to create a similar incentive for people to buy health insurance by taxing people who have health insurance slightly less than people who do not. Nevertheless, the frivolous assaults on health reform would eliminate this Constitutional power. Many Tea Party Republicans go even further, calling for a full repeal of the 16th Amendment, the amendment which enables the income tax. Paying taxes is never popular, but it would be impossible to function as a nation if America lacked the power to raise the money it needs to [protect and empower citizens equally].
REPEALING EQUALITY: The Constitution entitles all persons to “equal protection of the laws,” a provision that formed the basis of Judge Vaughn Walker’s decision yesterday that California cannot treat gay couples as if they are somehow inferior. Immediately after this decision was announced, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) called upon Congress to “act immediately” to overturn it — something that it could only do through a constitutional amendment. Of course, Newt’s proposal does nothing more than revive President Bush’s call for a constitutional amendment repealing the parts of the Constitution that protect marriage equality.
REPEALING FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS: As Judge Walker also held, marriage is a fundamental right protected by the Constitution’s Due Process Clause. The GOP’s anti-gay amendment would repeal this constitutional protection as well.
REPEALING ELECTION OF SENATORS: Finally, a number of GOP candidates have come out in favor of repealing the 17th Amendment, the provision of the Constitution which requires direct election of senators, although many of these candidates also backed off their “Seventeenther” stand after it proved embarrassing. It is simply baffling how anyone could take one look at the U.S. Senate, and decide that what it really needs is even less democracy.