BY KENNY BELFORD
This information is not opinion, it’s now fact. At the Republican Convention they created their official platform that their candidates are running on. The issues, and their positions on them, are now official and made public.
I’ll share some of the highlights with you [shown in italics] from the Associated Press article, and I will add selective opinion with the information. Feel free to actually research any of these points if you doubt the validity.
Republicans support consumer choice, including home schooling, single-sex classes, full-day schools and year-round schools.
The problem is, Mitt Romney wants to eliminate the Department of Education which provides federal funds for local school districts. To make up the serious budget shortfall that would create, it would require public schools to reduce the number of teachers, and/or raise property taxes to cover part of the loss.
“Consumer choice” is a subtle phrase meaning affluent people can receive tax dollars from a school district to help pay tuition for their kids in private schools. Again, that revenue loss would impact the operating budgets of public education and have to be replaced by more cuts and/or property tax increases.
Republicans renew their call for replacing family planning programs for teens with abstinence education which teaches abstinence until marriage as the responsible and respected standard of behavior.
Is there anyone so naive they actually think just telling teens to not have sex is enough? Once a teen becomes sexually active, which is probably close to the majority, absent of real information on preventing pregnancy, this concept leads to the already unacceptable level of teen pregnancies.
We’ve tried the “just say no” concept before. That was Nancy Reagan’s simplistic solution for the drug problem. It was a failure. It would be a failure again applied towards teen sex.
A Republican president on his first day in office would use his waiver authority to halt progress in carrying out the health-care act pushed through by President Barack Obama and that Republican victories in November would guarantee that the act is never implemented.
As a reminder, the Affordable Health Care Act was not about actual health care, it was reform measures directed at the for-profit health care insurance industry.
This Republican policy would reinstate the system enabling insurance companies to cancel your policy if you get sick. It would enable them to deny you coverage if you have a pre-existing condition.
It would eliminate exchanges for Americans to shop for the best price in coverage. It would eliminate your right to keep your insurance if you change jobs. It would eliminate your ability to keep your kids on your family policy until they reach age 25.
Very good news for the for profit insurance companies, not so good for Americans.
Republicans propose a plan based on improving health-care quality and lowering costs and a system that promotes the free market and gives consumers more choice.
That’s it, not one singe word of detail on what that means. What would the cost be to improve health-care quality? How would it be funded?
The free market system is the same system that allows insurance companies to write all the rules concerning what they will or won’t cover, when they can cancel your policy, what they can charge you, and determining who they will legally be allowed to deny coverage to.
That’s the official Republican plan.
Voter fraud is a political poison. Republicans praise legislation to require photo identification for voting and to prevent election fraud.
Statistically you have a better chance of being struck by lightning than finding a case of voter fraud. The “problem” doesn’t actually exist, but they still want to waste time, effort and money on it because it plays well with their base of uninformed members and suppresses voting among groups that traditionally vote for Democrats.
Republicans oppose legislation intended to restrict Second Amendment rights by limiting the capacity of clips or magazines or otherwise restoring the assault weapons ban passed during the Bill Clinton presidency.
While I own firearms, and support the Second Amendment, I firmly believe there is no compelling argument to be made that allows someone, like the killer in Aurora, CO, to own an assault weapon with a 50-round drum.
The Republican platform, if applied to the concept of automobiles, would indicate that we should have no speed limits.
We reject the use of taxation to redistribute income, fund unnecessary or ineffective programs or foster the crony capitalism that corrupts both politicians and corporations.
While that’s lofty language, the problem is, that’s precisely what Mitt Romney proposes to do. After releasing his tax proposals, the experts reviewed Romney’s plan in detail and it’s a consensus opinion of both liberal and conservative entities that the goal is to give more wealth to the 1% of the richest Americans, and give a tax increase to everyone else.
Here’s a sampling of what just the conservative media reported:
“Thus, the real question is not whether Romney is proposing a huge middle-class tax increase. It is which of his ambitious campaign promises he will fail to keep. That was the exercise that Brown, Gale and Looney engaged in. To show how hard it would be for Romney to achieve all of these goals, they assumed he’d keep his first four promises. If he did, they found it would be impossible for Romney to retain today’s levels of progressivity. Or, to say it another way, if Romney keeps the promises he has explicitly made, the middle class will pay higher taxes and the rich will pay lower taxes.”
“The analysis concludes that Romney’s tax cuts would predominantly favor upper-income taxpayers. Those with incomes of more than $1 million would see their after-tax income increased by 8.3% [for an average tax cut of about $175,000]. Taxpayers with incomes between $75,000 and $100,000 would see somewhat smaller increases of about 2.4% [for an average tax cut of $1,800], while the after-tax income of taxpayers earning less than $30,000 would actually decrease by about 0.9% [for an average tax increase of about $130].”
“The Tax Policy Center [TPC] caused a kerfuffle on Wednesday when they released a study that showed that the mostly unspecified parts of Mitt Romney’s tax cut proposals would amount to a giant tax increase on low- and middle-income households.”
MEDICARE AND MEDICAID
The Republican platform supports a Medicare transition to a premium-support model with an income-adjusted contribution toward a health plan of the enrollee’s choice. Medicaid services for low-income people would be transformed into a block grant program in which the states would be give the flexibility to determine the best programs for their residents.
The “premium-support model” is the end of Medicare as we know it. In it’s place a voucher system would be adopted and for profit insurance companies would be substituted. The elderly would be given a check of approximately $6,000 and it would be up to them to find a for-profit health insurance company willing to take them.
Of course, since the Republicans want to do away the safety measure of pre-existing conditions, it would be an almost impossibility for many of the elderly to find a health insurance company willing to accept them at any price.
It’s obvious too, that the elderly lucky enough to be in perfect health would pay an excessive premium due to their age.
Ending Medicaid by replacing it with block grants, up to each individual state, is shameful. Contrary to what many conservatives believe, poverty is not a choice.
Gutting that program would serve to drive up the cost of health care for the rest of us, as emergency rooms would increasingly become the primary source of medical care for the poor. As those costs go unpaid, hospitals would have no other choice but to raise the cost paid by the insured. The for-profit insurance companies would also increase rates to maintain their level of profits.
So buckaroos, that means we pay more.
The Republican Party is committed to domestic energy independence and an ‘all-of-the-above’ energy policy, backing the exploration and development of the Outer Continental Shelf and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and the Keystone XL pipeline.
More drilling in the Gulf of Mexico accomplishes little. Most geologists will tell you there’s very little oil in the Gulf, and most wells produce natural gas.
Here in Oklahoma we already have enough natural gas wells already explored to provide the nation’s energy needs for almost the next 100 years. The problem is, we need a policy to convert from oil to compressed natural gas for vehicles for that to have any positive effect. CNG is a cleaner fuel, in greater abundance and it’s cheaper than oil or coal.
It’s also fair to observe that Republicans are firmly in favor of continuing the Bush tax cuts to big oil companies.
The Keystone XL pipeline doesn’t add one drop of oil to the United States. It only allows it to move across our country, where the oil would then enter the open market where any nation is free to bid on it. They didn’t mention that part.
The platform states that the best jobs program is economic growth. We do not offer yet another made-in-Washington package of subsidies and spending to create temporary or artificial jobs.
That’s it. That’s the full plan. That also indicates that the Republican platform wants to cut or eliminate spending on our crumbling infrastructure like the antiquated electric grid, our interstate highways, bridges, etc.
They didn’t offer a plan. Their two sentences only showcase the total and complete lack of any plan, other than to vote “no” and criticize anyone trying to fix the economic mess created by George W. Bush.
The Republican platform affirms the rights of states and the federal government not to recognize same-sex marriage. It backs a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
With all the real problems and issues facing us, this seems to be one of the few items Republicans actually have a real plan for. All that time and energy on an issue that poses no threat to anyone.
I’d feel a little better about Republicans interest in that topic if they actually had a plan to strengthen existing marriages. There are far too many single parent households struggling to raise children.
The platform makes clear that we oppose any form of amnesty for those who, by intentionally violating the law, disadvantage those have obeyed it.
It’s fair and accurate to observe that the flood of illegal immigrants [Mexicans] began and accelerated dramatically during the George W. Bush terms. However, be honest now, how many Americans are “disadvantaged” from mowing lawns, making beds at a motel, working at a poultry plant or picking vegetables? Any of you have kids that are looking at those things as a good career path?
If the Republicans were honest and serious about the issue here’s the solution. Pass a law making it a serious criminal offense and major league fine for any company or corporation that hires illegal immigrants. Of course that would cut back on campaign contributions from those entities.
The party states that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed.
For starters, nobody is “for” abortion. But there are reasons to terminate a pregnancy that are valid.
To force a woman that has been raped to carry an unwanted fetus to term is punishing the victim. A child made pregnant through incest would be forced to continue the pregnancy. That’s just cruel. A woman facing the risk of death from a pregnancy would have no voice in decisions about saving her own life.
The Republican platform denies women the right to make those choices.
The platform says Republicans are ‘the party of peace through strength’ and support the concept of American exceptionalism.
These is the same Republicans that supported George W. Bush as he launched a needless war of choice with Iraq, costing over 4,000 Americans their lives, tens of thousands crippled and wounded, and creating a $3 trillion debt.
The concept of “American exceptionalism” means we’re entitled to go start a war anywhere, anytime if we think it’s appropriate. We thought that about Bush’s war, until we found out 100% of his claims were 100% false.
War is not an option – it’s what you do when there are no other options. That’s not the official view of the Republican platform.
– Kenny Belford lives in Tulsa, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer