It’s a tale as old as time. When Republicans hold the reins of power, as they do right now in all three branches of American government, their generosity extends to exactly two groups: Those who donated to their campaigns, and those who they feel “deserve” the benefits of being an American.
It’s contrary to everything the country stands for, of course. In the text leading up to the document that provides the framework of the American dream, the keywords all denote working together — Union, common defense, general welfare… ourselves. The Constitution mandates in no uncertain terms that any American is every American, especially since we have amended prior flaws that excluded some based on color or gender.
Republicans would like to forget that. We see time and again examples of how they would like to go back to excluding some people — and it’s not that they oppose helping Americans, or extending them services provided by the government. It’s that they want to determine exactly who is worthy of getting those benefits.
Back in May, Donald Trump’s Director of the Office of Management and Budget — yes, the guy who determines what’s worth spending money on — gave a speech at Stanford in which he implied that people who eat poorly don’t deserve affordable health care. That seems like hyperbole like there’s no way he could have said anything quite so heartless, so let’s look at the quote:
That doesn’t mean we should take care of the person who sits at home, eats poorly and gets diabetes.”
Oh. Nevermind. It’s definitely f*cking heartless.
And I could sit here and pretend to be surprised at how many Republicans have expressed similar sentiments over the years and taken a pretty dim view of how “the poors” live their lives, like Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama, or Sen. Chuck Grassley from Iowa, but really the problem is that so many of them subscribe to what’s known as the Just World fallacy. In that tiny worldview, things happen to or for people because they deserve them — the world is “just” in the eyes of Republicans, and so they see social, economic, and even gender inequality as being fair and legitimate.
But it takes on a whole new meaning when Republicans f*ck things up themselves and think they still get to determine who makes it out alive.
For example, the GOP just added over one and a half trillion dollars to the US deficit, then suddenly had a crisis of conscience about who was going to pay for all those tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. House Speaker Paul Ryan, the leader of the GOP in the lower chamber of Congress, pointed immediately to cutting “entitlements,” which is more of a concept than an actual thing. When Republicans say “entitlement,” they mean “a thing that Americans think they’re entitled to.”
What it actually means is Social Security and Medicare, programs that every American pays into and every American benefits from, but which look like “spending” to the GOP, since there’s money in their hands right this second, whether it’s already spoken for or not.
And in case you have any doubt as to who will be left standing when the Republicans are done cutting the benefits you’re entitled to, look no further than Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, who appeared on Fox News Channel’s Sunday Morning Futures, and the emphasis here is all mine:
We’re not talking about taking away benefits from those who deserve those benefits. The goal is to make certain that those who deserve and need those benefits get everything that they’re entitled to.”
I know what these Republicans deserve in 2018.
Featured image via Mark Wilson/Getty Images