In recent days we have talked a lot about Rep. Paul Ryan and his band of House Republicans championing a draconian and disastrous budget plan that will end Medicare as we know it. It is not very difficult to discern how cruel this plan is. Ryan’s plan will force seniors to pay more than twice as much out-of-pocket, and slash half a trillion in benefits and services through Medicaid, putting insurance companies back in charge of health care and nursing home benefits for tens millions of seniors and families.
The word that comes into mind when you read about this plan is an old-fashioned one: HEARTLESS.
It's the word that comes to mind when you hear the latest from Republican Leader Eric Cantor, who is out there saying Congress will not pay for the heart-breaking and unprecedented tornado disaster relief in Missouri unless spending is “cut from somewhere else”:
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said Monday that if Congress passes an emergency spending bill to help Missouri’s tornado victims, the extra money will have to be cut from somewhere else.
“If there is support for a supplemental, it would be accompanied by support for having pay-fors to that supplemental,” Mr. Cantor, Virginia Republican, told reporters at the Capitol. The term “pay-fors” is used by lawmakers to signal cuts or tax increases used to pay for new spending.
This kind of heartlessness axes initiatives that strengthen the middle-class and protect senior citizens, students and the poor. And now they are publicly flaunting their collective state of minds -- even when it comes to areas where Americans have always come together to do the right thing and help one another, like natural disasters, or catastrophic health events.
This is just the logical outcome of the politics embodied in the Ryan budget proposal and embraced eagerly by our insane, Tea Partying Republican Party. One such Republican, as Karoli just pointed out, is Rep. Rob Woodall:
"Hear yourself, ma'am. Hear yourself," Woodall told the woman. "You want the government to take care of you, because your employer decided not to take care of you. My question is, 'When do I decide I'm going to take care of me?'"
Steve Benen notes why Woodall’s callous comments are significant:
This is important rhetoric. Woodall is obviously something of an extremist, but at least he’s presenting the Republican agenda in stark, cold terms. His remarks come at the intersection of candor, callousness, and conservatism — seniors who worked for companies that don’t offer benefits to retirees are out of luck. If they didn’t save enough to cover their own medical bills, they’ll just have to suffer or go to some other country.
The last thing Woodall wants to do is “save” Medicare. He prefers a system in which Medicare doesn’t exist and seniors fend for themselves.
What’s that word again?