By John Del Cecato - 09/23/10 10:09 PM EDT
In 2008, American voters made history. This November, congressional Republicans are trying to do it again.
In an effort to show that their party stands for more than just obstruction of the Obama agenda, the GOP this week unveiled its “Pledge to America” — an outline of where Republicans would lead the country if they’re returned to power on Capitol Hill.
The GOP also pledges to return federal spending to 2008 levels. It would eliminate the Recovery Act’s $115 billion education investment — meaning a 66 percent reduction in federal education funding, the largest education cut in American history.
While the president is committed to retaining the 2001 tax cuts for those making less than $250,000 a year, Republicans vow to reduce taxes on those earning above the quarter-million dollar threshold. That would require the U.S. to borrow $700 billion from nations like China, simply to finance the single largest tax break ever directed exclusively at the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans.
At the same time, the GOP would retain tax breaks that presently go to companies that ship American jobs overseas, while decimating the Recovery Act’s investment in clean energy like wind and solar power. That would be good news for Big Oil’s quarterly profits, but would undo U.S. efforts to keep pace with China and India in developing green technology and the jobs that come with it. It would also constitute the most dramatic reversal in America’s drive for energy independence ever recorded.
The GOP would repeal this year’s healthcare reform law, ending tax credits for small businesses and ripping up rules that ban insurance companies from denying coverage for those with pre-existing conditions. The Republican plan would not only mean the largest healthcare tax hike ever, it would also represent the most significant transfer of power from consumers to insurance companies in U.S. history.
Congressional Republicans would roll back Wall Street reform, paving the way back to the same reckless decisions that cratered our economy and cost 8 million American jobs. Were it not for the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999 — a time when the economy was booming — the GOP’s gift to the big banks would mark the most sweeping deregulation of Wall Street since the Great Depression.
But don’t just point the finger at Republican leaders like Rep. John Boehner (Ohio) and Sen. Mitch McConnell (Ky.) for trying to remake America into a servant of millionaires, powerful corporations and foreign lenders. They’re just the salesmen.
The snake oil was secretly produced by Brian Wild — a former legislative aide to Vice President Cheney and a past lobbyist for Pfizer, ExxonMobil and insurance giant AIG. Wild apparently forgot to redact his name from a draft of the GOP’s agenda before it was circulated to reporters on Wednesday night.
It’s fitting. The guy behind Dick Cheney and the nation’s most powerful special interests is writing the agenda that would resurrect Bush economics — making history on behalf of big corporations and the wealthy.
Del Cecato is a partner at AKPD Message and Media, the political consulting firm founded by David Axelrod in 1985. He served as media adviser and admaker for Obama for America and Obama-Biden 2008.