Summary: The Republican Convention shows our dysfunctional political system at work. Understanding how we got here requires shining harsh light on the modern history of the Grand Old Party, born fighting against slavery — and dark actions in the 20th Century. From the archives.
- The GOP’s great betrayal.
- Cut food stamps, more $$ for agricorps.
- The GOP’s war on public health.
- For More Information.
- Tom Tomorrow explains the Class War.
(1) The GOP’s great betrayal
On19 June 1964 the US Congress passed the 1964 Civil Rights Bill, with majorities from both parties. But one of thee “no” votes was by Barry Goldwater, the Republican candidate for the Presidency. He saw an opportunity to redraw America’s political map and end the dominant position the Democratic Party had held since the Great Depression (see his speech). The price was betrayal of the Republican Party’s legacy.
Thus began one of the greatest betrayals in modern American history, an accommodation of evil in exchange for political power. Selling their souls for 30 pieces of silver, instead of allowing the South’s racists to either accept this progress or marginalize themselves with a pariah third party.
But this is consistent with the GOP’s behavior before and since, a too-often inimical role shaping America. Perhaps the reform of America should start with the part most needing reform: conservatives, heal thyselves.
(2) Cutting food stamps, but more dollars for agri-corps
The GOP shows its values clearly in their quest to cut the food stamp program while boosting subsidies for agri-corps. As explained in “Republicans: We Were Too Nice to the Hungry, But We’ve Fixed That” by Jonathan Chait in NY Magazine, 20 September 2013 — Excerpt…
Republicans hate domestic spending, but their hatred is not completely indiscriminate. Some programs offend them more, and others less. The general pattern is that social programs offend Republicans to the degree that they benefit the poor, sick, or otherwise unfortunate. The struggle over the farm bill is not the biggest policy dispute in American politics, but it is the one that most clearly reveals the priorities and ideological identity of the contemporary GOP.
The farm bill traditionally combines agriculture subsidies (which hands out subsidies to people on the arbitrary basis that the business they own produces food as opposed to some other goods or services) with food stamps (which hands out subsidies to people on the highly nonarbitrary basis that they’re poor enough to likely have trouble scraping together regular meals). Conservative Republicans revolted against the normally automatic passage, insisting that the cuts to food stamps — $20 billion — did not slice deeply enough. Last night the House rectified its failure by cutting food stamps by $40 billion.
The putative rationale for the food-stamp cuts is that eligibility standards have loosened, or that it encourages sloth. Jonathan Cohn makes quick work of these claims, and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities makes long, detailed work of them. Click on those links if you want a blow-by-blow refutation. The upshot is that food stamps are a meager subsidy, of less than $1.40 per meal, for people either stuck in very low paid jobs or unable to find work at all. Their cost has increased because the recession has increased the supply of poor, desperate people.