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Mission Accomplished?

May 16, 2017

Remember when, shortly after the American military invasion of Iraq had succeeded in using “Shock and Awe” to depose Saddam Hussein and his government, then-President George W. Bush had made a dramatic landing in a combat aircraft on an aircraft carrier which had participated in the operation? He spoke eloquently of the heroic exploits of the American forces which had freed the Iraqi people from the clutches of the evil tyrant beneath a huge banner which proclaimed “MISSION ACCOMPLISHED”. That was over a decade ago and battles are still raging in that nation, leading many both here and there wondering what that mission was, exactly, and how such a premature victory celebration ever came about at that time.

Now, early in the administration of another Republican President, signs are emerging that newer “victories” are being celebrated by many of our elected officials – accomplishments of dubious distinction and certainly unworthy of the praises put forth by the President and House leaders who worked so hard to achieve them.  Acts which will undoubtedly, if allowed to come to fruition in future months, cost many millions of the American people dearly when it comes to their access to the affordable health care they deserve as their right as human beings.

Immediately upon passage of the highly-touted bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act in the US House of Representatives, a celebratory press conference was held at the White House Rose Garden, including the participation of high ranking House Republicans and President Trump. After weeks of haggling among themselves on the wording of a bill deciding how to take health care away from millions of Americans in order to cut taxes on the wealthiest among us (including an abortive attempt at passage mere weeks before), a bill finally passed by two votes. All their hard work (which miraculously managed not to interfere with two previously scheduled recesses) came to fruition just in time to wrap up a short session during which they also managed to pass a spending package averting a potential government shutdown for the remainder of this fiscal year.

President Trump, Speaker Ryan and most of the rest of the House Republicans considered this a major accomplishment, fulfilling a campaign promise the President had used to help him gain his new office and his Congressional counterparts had used to either gain or retain theirs ever since passage of the ACA in the early years of the Obama Administration. At what cost – in terms of people losing the health care coverage gained for the first time under the law they were so eager to repeal and long-term budgetary considerations – they had no clue. Heck, they had just voted to pass a bill that few if any of them even knew the contents of, let alone seen a Congressional Budget Office score for. The previous bill, which had insufficient support to pass due to House Freedom Caucus opposition, was predicted to cause a future coverage shortage of up to 24 million people who currently have insurance under the ACA. Since this bill had to be made worse to suit enough people to pass the House, speculation is that even fewer people would have coverage under this revised version, were it to somehow escape the Senate unscathed. That’s unlikely, as the Senate surely won’t pass it without getting a score from the CBO.

As for the President, while the bill would achieve the stated goal promised by his campaign rhetoric by repealing and replacing the ACA, it will actually accomplish the exact opposite of his promise to make health care more accessible and affordable for all Americans. The extremely transparent underlying goal of the whole process is to cut the taxes used to pay the subsidies and Medicaid expansion included in the ACA that make coverage affordable for millions more of us and returning the money to the wealthiest among us, to use as they see fit. The ultimate outcome will be none other than accelerating the growth of economic inequality by shifting more and more resources from the bottom of the economic ladder to the top – Reverse Robin Hood.

So far, Donald Trump’s promises to poor working people of better economic times, the return of good paying jobs from abroad, curtailing illegal immigration to raise wages, spending on infrastructure to boost jobs and the economy as a whole and Making America Great again has seemed to dissolve into a mad rush to enact ill-conceived executive orders that have often been found unconstitutional and rarely beneficial in any substantive manner to any of not included in the top 1%. His insistence on passing the AHCA despite the fact that a vast majority of the American people oppose its provisions is a big mistake which will ultimately backfire – especially if it succeeds in being enacted. Those who voted for him as a voice for the downtrodden against the establishment politicians running Washington of late will not be hoodwinked when they see the direction unfolding in coming legislation represents the longtime GOP agenda which has sought to roll back any gains made by the working classes of this country in the 20th Century to make life easier still for the oligarchs and plutocrats which have dominated GOP legislation of late.

Repealing and replacing the ACA will not accomplish the benefits for the American people that GOP rhetoric has honed into working campaign slogans for most of the past decade. The people get it – as can be seen by activism at town hall meetings held during the many Congressional recesses which are supposed to allow elected representatives to stay in touch with their constituents (voters, not donors). Of course, we’ve been seeing increasing reluctance among supporters of bills such as the AHCA to even answer mail or phone calls from constituents, let alone face them in person at town hall meetings. It’s amazing the amount of interaction I’m seeing from my Democratic House Rep and Senator, while Pat Toomey seems to have disappeared entirely- both in DC and at home here in PA (though he is part of McConnell’s group of white men formed to decide the fate of health care legislation in the Senate).

We need to continue making our voices heard regarding exactly what is being done by Congress and the White House, rather than what is being said. Distractions abound. That is one area at which Donald Trump is a consummate professional. His autocratic tendencies (regarding  issues dealing with Russia, firing FBI Director Comey, military attacks abroad and the like) keep him the center of attention and allow many of us to totally forget about the rest of the government. What passes for action in DC now is not what was intended in the Constitution. Congress spends most of its time conducting high-profile hearings and investigations. Oversight is important, but there is little evidence that any of it is actually being done, rather than just interminably being discussed. The budget, domestic and foreign policy objectives need to become more open and focused on benefitting the country as a whole, rather than just big business and private wealth.

Tell Trump and his GOP Congress to scrap their abomination of a health care bill and instead pass single-payer Medicare for All. Then they can figure out how many of his shenanigans like firing someone for investigating possible wrong-doing by his associates (i.e.- doing his job), sending missiles into a country which has never attacked us or perpetuating foreign wars which Congress has long since abandoned any desire to limit or end. Trump will not do his job unless Congress and the Courts force him to. It seems obvious that Congress won’t do its job unless we force it to. Enough is enough. We need to accomplish real missions, not proclaim victory when reality says the opposite is true.

Further Suggested Readings:

No, I didn’t choose to have a pre-existing condition.

Another GOP Tax Plan for Captains

Trump says he’s stopping jobs from going abroad. Here’s the truth

USW’s Chuck Jones on Donald Trump’s Jobs Record

Cost of National Security: Counting How Much the U.S. Spends Per Hour

Morning Joe On Obamacare Repeal Party: ‘A Sea Of Political Stupidity’

Look at These Republicans Celebrating a Bill That Will Gut Health Care for Millions

How Many People Will Die For Each Rich American’s Trumpcare Tax Cut?

The #IAmAPreexistingCondition hashtag will make you rage cry.

The “pro-life” party has become the party of death: New research on why Republicans hate poor and sick people

A Shameless GOP and the Moral Travesty of Trumpcare

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3 Comments
  1. Every intelligent being gifted even with the most basic ability to reason has now discerned that Donald Trump is not only is both mentally and emotionally a child–an especially immature child–in a man’s body. He makes promises because he’s learned from daddy that people will give him stuff–especially money–if he makes those promises. And daddy taught him that after he has the money he doesn’t have to keep any of those promises at all.

    Trump was raised to be an irresponsible liar and a complete egoist and daddy succeeded nicely. He’s the P.T. Barnum of the modern age, preying on those generations of suckers born every minute who choose to vote or do business with him. I keep waiting for his total personal and financial downfall to prove the existence of karma. So far, that’s what’s keeping me a complete atheist until further notice.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. What are the odds of the US House of Congress elections next year altering the current course being taken?

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s too early to tell. Opinion polls indicate there’s a good chance Democrats could retake the House of Representatives, but those same polls indicated Trump wouldn’t win last year, either.

      Like

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