10 Terrible Things Republicans Will Try to Do If They Take Over in November
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Democrats are in trouble come November. If current polling is any indication, Republicans have a good chance of reclaiming a majority in the House of Representatives and perhaps even the Senate (though the Senate is a less likely prospect). That's not because people are wildly excited about Republicans. In fact, a recent poll shows that registered voters rate the GOP's performance asworse than the Democrats'. But the enthusiasm gap between the parties gives the GOP an advantage; a nine-point advantage among likely voters, according to the latest NBC News/ Wall Street Journal poll.
Perhaps Americans should know what's really at stake if this batch of Republicans takes over Congress in November. Here are 10 terrible things the GOP might do:
1) Shut down government to stop health care bill. "All the Republican Congress needs to say in January is, 'We won't fund it," said former Speaker of the House and likely 2012 presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich, speaking about the GOP leadership’s intent to shut down the government to stop health care reform from being enacted. He should know. He did it before, back in 1995 when the Republicans reclaimed Congress during the Clinton administration. The GOP's government shutdown was disastrous for millions of Americans.
Since Republicans can't directly repeal the bill -- President Obama would veto such an action -- they may cut funding in order to hold up its implementation, forcing a stand-off with Democrats that could lead to government shutdown. Gingrich isn't the only one sounding this threat. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., said, "The endgame is a fight over funding." Rep. Mike Pence called rolling back health reform a "mainstream GOP position."
Meanwhile, in an interview with TPM, Donna Shalala, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services during the Clinton administration, discussed the consequences of government shutdown. Services would be stopped: "Social Security checks, Medicare reimbursements...welfare checks to the state, Medicaid checks to the state." Federal employees would be furloughed. It would "stop all new enrollees into the [Social Security] system," Shalala said. She continued, "It bounces through: it's grocery stores, it's farms [...] It bounces through when people don't have money at that scale." Shalala also pointed out that the economy is in far worse shape today than it was during the Clinton years, so the impact of government shutdown would likely be worse than in the 1990s.
2) Attempt to privatize Social Security. Back in 2005, former President George W. Bush tried to privatize Social Security by creating independent spending accounts, similar to 401Ks. He failed. But unlike Republicans today, Bush did not have the advantage of Tea-Party backed ultraconservative Republicans, some of whom honestly believe the only role of the federal government is to fight wars and protect our borders. Among the GOP’s up and comers is Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the ranking Republican member of the House Budget Committee. He wants to create personal spending retirement accounts invested in the stock market, which sounds a lot like the current 401K system: You know, the one that lost nearly 40 percent of its value during the financial crisis.
Social Security privatization, once considered politically untenable even by many ultraconservative think-tanks, has resurfaced just in time for the 2010 primary. It’s being debated in Arizona, Kentucky, Indiana, Nevada, North Dakota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Republicans like Sharron Angle in Nevada, Ken Buck in Colorado, Rand Paul, the Republican nominee in Kentucky, and Dan Coates, the Republican nominee in Indiana, all support “private retirement accounts” -- code for privatizing Social Security.
3) Spend every waking hour investigating the Obama administration. You thought Ken Starr was awful? Meet Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota. She thinks that if Republicans retake Congress, they should issue subpoena after subpoena and launch investigation after investigation of the Obama administration.