The senate version of the AHCA has invoked justifiable criticism from the Democratic party for being less of a "health care" bill and more of a "tax break for the rich" bill. For once, I agree with Donald Trump; it is a "mean" piece of legislation, but that alone is not what this is about. It is once again about that great Republican pastime of suppressing those who are not their wealthy donors. It's about rigging the system for corporate welfare.
In typical Republican fashion, it will affect poor and middle-class citizens significantly. The lack of access to affordable health care will cause families to have to work longer hours and perhaps even take on more jobs. There is no question that the AHCA will break the average American family. The funds being stripped away from Medicare will leave people without a safety net, without any means to obtain the health care they so desperately need and deserve.
None of this matters to Republicans as they could care less. In their collective mind, they got theirs, figure out how to get yours. A highly hypocritical attitude considering both their leaders (McConnell and Ryan) benefited as children from forms of social welfare as children. Of the handful that are considering voting no on the bill, all but two (Heller and Collins) has stated that the bill did not go far enough in cutting funds. Republican senators writing the bill did not cut programs because they were not affordable. They cut them to give the funding to the wealthy. Because, you know, they need it.
The Uber Rich
It is indisputable that super rich families run the Republican party. Those like the Adelsons, Kochs, DeVos and Waltons are not as interested in tax breaks as average American might think they are. After all, Republicans have ensured their masters have plenty of loop holes and off-shore accounts to protect their income. For families as rich as these, the AHCA tax cut is a small drop in the bucket. It is less than what they spend in any given election season on politicians. It is less than they spend yearly on influencing and buying up our education system, less than they spend with ALEC (the organization that writes legislation for the GOP), the Heritage Foundation, on state and local elections, on judicial elections etc. It’s even less than they spend supporting Christian organizations and non-profit groups that are used to peddle their perverted ideology.
These uber rich families are not in need of a tax break. The Waltons could never sell you another package of diapers or can of Pringles and not only maintain their wealth, but grow it. The same is true of the DeVos’ Amway ventures, Adelson’s Vegas investments and whatever oil and gas product it is that the Koch’s sell to us.
This is the super rich ideology that is rooted in classism and racism. An ideology that Republicans have tied themselves to. It is an insatiable need to maintain dominance, a need to be remembered as more than just the richest of Americans. They desire to be remembered as ideological giants. These families are in a league of their own making. A league that does not include you or me and truthfully, they are a class of people that is not even inclusive of the Trump’s or politicians but merely uses them and religion to achieve their ends.
The thing to remember about these Republicans is that they are, with rare exception, only in it for themselves. What elected leaders like Trump, Ryan, McConnell, Cruz etc. want more than anything is power. They want to be a Koch, a DeVos, an Adelson, but they will never be. They are and always will be a tool for these uber rich families. An easily replicated and replaceable tool.
I would even venture that this is why we are seeing these notoriously private super wealthy people come out and hold public office. Republicans have not moved fast or harsh enough for them and must be whipped into shape.
Republicans Don't Worry About Voters Holding Them Accountable
Financing of campaigns is not the only control these wealthy families have over elected leaders though. Perhaps an even bigger control mechanism is to threaten NOT to fund them. If Mitch McConnell or Ted Cruz suddenly did not do the bidding of their uber rich supporters, they would be immediately cast out into that barren desert of campaign no-man's land. The Kochs and such would simply fund a contender; something that Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) is facing. The threat of NOT being supported is often times more influential to a politician than being supported.
With Kris Kobach’s Crosscheck kicking minorities off of voter rolls and Republicans’ decades worth of extreme gerrymandering, these politicians need not worry. This is not to mention the real possibility that our voting systems are still compromised by the Russian hacking. So far, only Illinois has admitted that hacking led to voters being kicked off their system. In North Carolina’s heavily minority and blue districts, hacking is thought to have caused the computer database of registered voters to shut down during the 2016 election. This led to poll workers having to check registration by hand, and in turn caused such a delay that many left without casting their votes. Now a report has come out that 1 in 4 African Americans were not allowed to vote in Florida during the election.
So, you see, they are not too concerned about being voted out of office. The bigger threat to their political futures comes from not being funded. Which is why VP Pence met with Koch on Friday, and a group of Republicans met with the brothers this week. Marching orders will be given, and they best obey.
Elected officials attending Koch summit in Colorado Springs this weekend: pic.twitter.com/fflsHAX4H5
— Fredreka Schouten (@fschouten) June 24, 2017
Their Ideology is Based in Racism
Author Nancy MacLean has done a great deal of research on the likes of the Kochs in her book, Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America. In a recent interview by Slate’s Rebecca Onion, MacLean discusses how the Koch’s main influences were those ideologues who railed against all civil rights issues like voter rights and even universally accepted Supreme Court decisions like Brown vs. Board of Education.
As she explains, the Kochs, DeVos, Waltons and such are not simply trying to get one single person elected. They are trying to change the fundamental institutions that our country has developed. Their end goal is to get rid of all civil rights, government oversight and to suppress minority groups whether we are talking about Gays, Latinx, Blacks, Muslims, women and so on. It should also be noted that she discussed the tactic of flooding one’s opponents with many crises at the same time. Something they are actively doing right now.
This is more than one party having more power than the other. It is more than a difference of opinions. Republicans cannot take health care away from millions and claim they are not prejudiced. Their entire support system that they have rigged our laws for bases its ideology on hatred of the civil rights movement. That is racism, which might explain why so many in the Trump administration have ties to racist organizations.
Yes, the AHCA is “mean.” But more importantly, the Republicans and uber rich families are pushing us to the point of real crises. It is time to look around and find those leaders that will transform this zeitgeist. Support them, prop them up and rage against the machine.