McClellan: The rich must be protected; the poor, well, good luck - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

McClellan: The rich must be protected; the poor, well, good luck

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Mike McClellan is a Gilbert resident and former English teacher at Dobson High School in Mesa.

Posted: Wednesday, April 25, 2012 8:28 am | Updated: 11:30 am, Tue May 1, 2012.

Given Congressional Republicans’ recent behavior, isn’t that what they believe?

Here’s why I say that:

Last week, the Senate voted on the Buffet Rule — well, not really on the idea itself, but on whether supporters could get enough votes to avoid a filibuster.

And typically of this Congress, it split heavily along partisan lines, with Republicans successfully blocking it. Only one Republican Senator, Maine’s Susan Collins, voted for it.

Why?

Well, some didn’t think it was fair, that it was “class warfare.” But others pooh-poohed the amount it would generate (the Rule would require a 30 percent tax on those making $2 million or more, with the same rate phased in for those making $1-$2 million).

The Congressional Budget Office reported that the Rule would generate $47 billion over the next decade if put into law.

Chicken feed, said many Republicans, including Mitt Romney, who noted in a campaign event that it would pay for just a few hours of the federal government operation. He called it a “gimmick.”

Okay, sure, $47 billion is barely a dent in the huge deficit and debt the federal government’s ringing up.

And it does target a specific group — folks earning some serious money.

But the Republicans don’t seem to worry about a spending cut they want to make. On the working poor.

House Republicans also last week introduced plans to cut the federal food stamp program.

It would reduce the monthly amount for the average family of four by $60. And it would force about 3 million families out of the program by making entrance requirements stricter.

And how much would this save? According to Republican House estimates, about $34 billion over the next decade.

So, to generate $47 billion in 10 years by raising taxes on the wealthiest is a “gimmick,” but to cut $34 billion in programs for the poor over the same time is “necessary.”

Sure, I get it: From the Republican view, we gotta protect our richest. But the poorest, well, good luck and God speed.

One question, though: Wouldn’t the Buffet Rule income create the money needed to pay for the food stamp cuts the Republicans are proposing? And wouldn’t there actually be money left over after that, almost $13 billion? And couldn’t that $13 billion be used to help lower the debt?

I know the argument, however: In the Ayn Rand World of some Republicans, the wealthy are the “job creators” and the poor on food stamps are parasites.

What President Obama rightly calls the Social Darwinism of the Republican Party.

The same Social Darwinism we see here in Arizona, where the Republicans cut programs like health care for the poor even as they also provide tax cuts for the wealthiest and for businesses.

And those tax cuts help to ensure that Arizona doesn’t have the money necessary to restore the cuts to health care for the working poor.

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