Senator Bernie Sanders took one look at the latest budget proposal from Congressional Republicans and immediately said what needed to be said by every Democrat in the country: The GOP will not be happy until the wealthiest Americans have even more money.
Sanders, during a meeting of the Senate Budget Committee Tuesday, excoriated the GOP for their plans to make more cuts to the social safety net while giving tax breaks to the top 1 percent:
“At a time of massive wealth and income inequality, my Republican colleagues apparently believe that the richest people in this country need to be made even richer. It is apparently not good enough that 99 percent of all new income today is going to the top 1 percent. It is not good enough that the top one-tenth of 1 percent today own almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent.”
Yep, it’s business as usual for the Republican Party in Congress. They seem destined to defend the interests of the super rich while watching the rest of America fall further and further behind. Is it any wonder the GOP sees its approval ratings hovering around 12 percent in most polls?
In addition to the cuts in programs such a food stamps and Medicaid, the Republican budget being floated by Senate GOP leaders also would eliminate the subsidies for health-care reform–aka Obamacare–which would result in millions of Americans losing their health insurance. Sanders noted that the Republicans have only one motive in their budget proposal: cuts, cuts, and more cuts. And he added their budget rewards those who have already gotten more than their share:
“It is not good enough that corporate America is enjoying record-breaking profits, and that the CEOs of large corporations earn some 290 times more than what their average employees earn. It is apparently not good enough that since 1985 the top one-tenth of 1 percent has seen a more than $8 trillion increase in its wealth than what they would have had if wealth inequality had stayed at the same level that it was in 1985. An $8 trillion increase in the wealth of the top one-tenth of 1 percent! But for many of my Republican colleagues, [it’s] just not good enough.”
GOP Senator Mike Enzi, Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, attempted to defend the Republican proposal, but his defense sounded like nothing more than the same old talking points from the right side of the Senate aisle:
“The resolution that we will be debating this week and next is a responsible plan that balances the budget in 10 years, with no tax hikes. It also protects our most vulnerable citizens, strengthens our national defense and improves economic growth and opportunities for hardworking families.”
And he managed to say that with a straight face! Senator Enzi must be a formidable poker player.
Independent Senator Angus King of Maine agreed with Sanders that all the GOP has in its playbook is cuts:
“Growing the economy is the answer, but a one-sided response to say we’re only going to grow the economy by cutting taxes–number one, I don’t think there’s evidence to validate that, and number two, it ignores the power of appropriate investments in infrastructure, education…those things that actually do grow the economy.”
Meanwhile, the Republicans look for more things to cut and more tax breaks to offer to those who have no need of them. It’s a bit like watching a man polish a Rolls Royce with the shirt off the back of a starving child.
This article was originally published by the same author at LiberalAmerica.org.