Look Back, Rewind, Reverse, Republicans dig in

(I wrote this for the Urban News a couple of months ago.)

You’d be excused if you thought this was 2010 or 2011 or even 2012. For one party, they simply are replaying their greatest hits. It doesn’t seem to matter whether those hits brought them any political gain or not. As you remember, Lois Lerner, not Lois Lane, who worked at the Daily Planet and could be found in the SuperMan cartoons, was the IRS official who was at the center of the Republican-led IRS investigation. Remember the IRS was targeting tea party groups. This caused initial outrage but soon, with a little investigative reporting, it was clear the IRS was targeting not just tea party groups but also liberal groups with words like “progressive” who were applying for tax-exempt status. The targeting was probably okay since political groups shouldn’t be given tax exempt status. The House just voted to hold Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress for pleading the 5th. (My good friend, Linda [the lawyer] pointed out, “On the law, it is well established that a witness cannot “testify” and then claim the Fifth. That is what Lerner did. Her “opening statement” made assertions about her innocence that is impermissible when exercising your right to remain silent. You have to remain silent. You can’t open the door and then slam it shut.” As usual, she brings the knowledge.) Let’s remember that no court in the history of the US has upheld a contempt of Congress citation when someone employs their constitutional right not to incriminate themselves. Yet, the Republicans just voted for this. Why? They “believe” that Lois Lerner is holding the key to a White House backed conspiracy.

Benghazi. Yes, Benghazi. Republicans are dredging up Benghazi, once again. John Boehner just appointed a special select committee which is made up of 7 Republicans and 5 Democrats to investigate Benghazi, once again. Now, it is important for me to say that Benghazi was a tragedy in which 4 Americans died including Ambassador Stevens. We’ve had 7 investigations into the Benghazi tragedy. It is clear we did not have adequate security. Once the fighting started, we did not have adequate military assets in the area to intervene before 4 Americans were dead. These are facts. It is also been discovered that Ambassador Rice’s talking points which are given to her before she went on the Sunday morning talk shows were changed. They were not change by the White House. There’s no evidence that the White House was involved. It is clear that they were changed for political reasons. All of this information is already known. One must wonder why Republicans want to open yet another investigation.

Just for completeness sake, I should point out that congressional Republicans are trying to push through a $310 billion tax cut. Like the last budget and the budget before that, none of these tax cuts are paid for. Furthermore, the chance of any these tax cuts getting through the Senate somewhere between slim and none.

There is more and more evidence that giving tax cuts to the rich just makes the rich richer. There are none of the beneficial effects that conservatives tout. None. We were told that tax cuts would tickle down. They didn’t. The bottom 50% of working Americans from 2002 – 2007 saw stagnant wages. Employment grew at 0.9% annually which is the worst expansion since war world II. Kansas, a deeply red state, drank the tax cut Kool-Aid and are now paying the price. With a Republican governor, complete control of both Houses, Kansas handed out the biggest tax cut in the history of the state. Once again promises of increased revenues because would flow back to the rich and they would inject that money back into the economy which would generate more economic activity and increase the tax revenue for the state. Well, heck, the pipeline dream ran into reality once again. According to Kansas’ nonpartisan Legislative Research Department, Kansas will lose $803 million in revenue this year. Revenue is down 45% from last year. Moody’s downgraded Kansas’ bonds when are conservatives going to wake up and understand that tax cuts aren’t the answer to every problem.

I’m sorry but its past time for Congress to stand up and begin fighting for the average American worker. These Americans are not the superrich. Instead they are the poor and the middle class. They are the single-parent. They are the college graduate without a job. These Americans that we need to help. These are the Americans that are eager for opportunities. These Americans really don’t have time to reopen old investigations.

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Errington C. Thompson, MD

Dr. Thompson is a surgeon, scholar, full-time sports fan and part-time political activist. He is active in a number of community projects and initiatives. Through medicine, he strives to improve the physical health of all he treats.


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