Saturday, March 19, 2011

How could we have been so stupid?

After their sweeping win in November, Republicans are trying to outdo each other in crazy. In Minnesota, for example, they're trying to make it illegal for poor people to use money.

From Fight Back!:
Minnesota Republicans are pushing legislation that would make it a crime for people on public assistance to have more $20 in cash in their pockets any given month. This represents a change from their initial proposal, which banned them from having any money at all.

On March 15, Angel Buechner of the Welfare Rights Committee testified in front of the House Health and Human Services Reform Committee on House File 171. Buechner told committee members, “We would like to address the provision that makes it illegal for MFIP [one of Minnesota’s welfare programs] families to withdraw cash from the cash portion of the MFIP grant - and in fact, appears to make it illegal for MFIP families to have any type of money at all in their pockets. How do you expect people to take care of business like paying bills such as lights, gas, water, trash and phone?”

But that's just Minnesota, right? In fact, we're seeing crazy stuff like this in every state where Republicans have taken control. It's just one lunatic thing after another.

And nationally, the lunacy is just as bad, now that Republicans have taken control of the House of Representatives again. Here's Mother Jones:
Under a GOP-backed bill expected to sail through the House of Representatives, the Internal Revenue Service would be forced to police how Americans have paid for their abortions. To ensure that taxpayers complied with the law, IRS agents would have to investigate whether certain terminated pregnancies were the result of rape or incest. And one tax expert says that the measure could even lead to questions on tax forms: Have you had an abortion? Did you keep your receipt?

In testimony to a House taxation subcommittee on Wednesday, Thomas Barthold, the chief of staff of the nonpartisan Joint Tax Committee, confirmed that one consequence of the Republicans' "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act" would be to turn IRS agents into abortion cops—that is, during an audit, they'd have to detemine, from evidence provided by the taxpayer, whether any tax benefit had been inappropriately used to pay for an abortion. ...

In some cases, the law would forbid using tax benefits—like credits or deductions—to pay for abortions or health insurance that covers abortion. If an American who used such a benefit were to be audited, Barthold said, the burden of proof would lie with the taxpayer to provide documentation, for example, that her abortion fell under the rape/incest/life-of-the-mother exception, or that the health insurance she had purchased did not cover abortions.

Note that these new GOP IRS agents/abortion cops would be asking victims about their rape. And this is the same bill that wanted to redefine rape as "forcible rape" only. In other words, if you were drugged with a date rape pill, it's not really "rape." Sorry, no abortion for you. Statutory rape? Nope. It's not rape unless children are violently forced. You'd better hope your bruises haven't faded - and not just those on the inside.

This so-called party of smaller government sure doesn't seem to be concerned about creating a whole new force of abortion cops, does it? But is that any surprise? They claim to be concerned about the deficit, too, but the first thing they did was greatly expand the deficit with more tax cuts for the rich. And they're working hard to destroy a health care reform plan that does lower the deficit.

Every day, in every way, Republicans are just getting crazier and crazier. How could we Americans be so dumb as to elect them again, after the complete disaster they've made of the past decade? I just can't understand it.

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