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First Orders of Business

So what did the new Republican-controlled Congress decide was their first order of business this week?

On their very first day, they decided that the most important thing to do was attack Social Security. But they did it in a sneaky and underhanded way. The House passed a new rule that, as the LA Times puts it, “will seriously undermine efforts to keep all of Social Security solvent.”

Or as Senator Elizabeth Warren points out, the Republicans are “inventing a Social Security crisis.” You see, the Republicans figured out that they can’t eliminate the social safety net directly – that would be too unpopular. So instead they pass rules that will make it insolvent, so they can step in and “save” it (by eliminating it and replacing it with some kind of voucher program).

But that wasn’t the only thing. They introduced a bill to restrict abortions. Also on the very first day they were in session.

That was just the House. Over in the Senate, Mitch McConnell tried to rewrite history in an almost comical manner. On the Senate floor, McConnell said:

After so many years of sluggish growth, we’re finally starting to see some economic data that can provide a glimmer of hope. The uptick appears to coincide with the biggest political change of the Obama administration’s long tenure in Washington: The expectation of a new Republican Congress.

That’s right. The Republican gains in Congress scared the economy into improving! And not only that, it happened retroactively! That is some powerful juju. And no wonder the economy is scared — the only thing the Republicans have done for the economy lately is cause a government shutdown (because Obama refused to dismantle Obamacare), which caused all kinds of job losses and cost us $24 billion.

And just where do you suppose the bad economy came from in the first place? Is the GOP going to find some way to blame that on Obama too?



  1. ThatGuy wrote:

    Trying to take down Social Security the same way they’ve tried/are trying to nuke the USPS. Take a solvent program/organization and invent requirements or conditions that make the “free market” options look better. Talk about irony, the only party actually regulating things into extinction is the one railing against regulations by claiming they do what they themselves design the regulations to do!

    As to the “correlation” between the GOP taking Congress and the improving economy… just seems like McConnell is dancing to Norquist’s tune (no surprise) by now trying to take credit for something they opposed at every turn: recovery.

    Friday, January 9, 2015 at 8:12 am | Permalink
  2. Michael wrote:

    You missed another very important one: they changed how math works. The Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation are now legally required to use dynamic scoring when evaluating the cost of major legislation. In effect, the two parts of the government that are intended to be non-partisan have been made into de facto Republican organizations, as they are now forced to use practices that are based on Republican ideology rather than empirical evidence.

    Friday, January 9, 2015 at 10:25 am | Permalink
  3. Ralph wrote:

    Imagine, one party taking credit for anything that goes right and blaming the other party and/or its President for everything that goes wrong. I am shocked. Shocked, I say!

    Friday, January 9, 2015 at 10:44 am | Permalink
  4. Scott Segraves wrote:

    Line in book I’m reading, seen at end of that second day’s activity and scaring hell out of me, wondering if one of the new cruds on the block will actually try something like it:

    “Meanwhile the U. S. Congress was debating the Faith of Our Fathers Act, which would place restrictions on any religion that didn’t use the Bible as a primary text.”
    Spark” / John Twelve Hawks

    Friday, January 9, 2015 at 10:54 am | Permalink
  5. Jon wrote:

    Look… It’s simple… The reason the economy tanked under Bush, the reason our automobile companies and big banks needed to be supported by taxpayer-funded loans, was because the economy knew Bush’s wars were unpopular and were scared by the possibility of us electing a Democrat to the White House. Twice!

    Friday, January 9, 2015 at 2:27 pm | Permalink
  6. Jon wrote:

    Was there anybody at all in the Senate chamber with McConnell?

    Friday, January 9, 2015 at 2:51 pm | Permalink
  7. Iron Knee wrote:

    Thatguy, exactly! I was thinking the same thing myself. They believe that government is always the problem, so they have to do everything to make sure it is. Social Security is very popular because it has worked so well for a very long time. So they have to turn it into a disaster before they can get rid of it. Same thing for the USPS.

    Friday, January 9, 2015 at 11:48 pm | Permalink
  8. dave, TN wrote:
    IK, the above link is for a speech given by Charlie Chaplin in the movie “The Great Dictator”. His words were as relevant today as they were then, they apply to today’s politicians with startling accuracy. The one sad footnote is that the movie was considered a flop then, in today’s media comics have learned to interject comedy to ensure the point is not ignored so easily as Charlies words were then. May we learn to stop making these same mistakes and progress instead of regressing into the dark ages.

    Sunday, January 11, 2015 at 10:39 pm | Permalink