There’s an enormous disconnect between what people want their government to do, and what the Republican-dominated government is pushing. It’s worth examining the size of this disconnect on the issues that affect people the most.
Climate change and the environment: The people vs. the Republicans
Sixty-one percent of Americans believe that climate change is a real problem that the government should address. Meanwhile, Trump is pushing fossil fuels, rolling back regulations, and cutting research on climate in particular and the environment in general. He and his appointees are also trying to cut policies supporting renewable energy, something the majority of Americans oppose. In fact, most Americans would like to see support for renewables expanded.
Nearly seventy percent wanted the US to stay in the Paris Climate Agreement; Trump is dropping out. Just under 60 percent believe environmental issues should be prioritized over energy production; Trump is doing the opposite, by trying to resuscitate coal and fossil fuels at a time when renewables are the future of energy, and often the cheapest source of new energy today.
And of course, there’s Scott Pruitt heading up the EPA and withdrawing from the Clean Power Plan – something the majority of Americans would like to see stay in force.
Tax Policy: What the people want vs. what the Republicans are proposing
If you were to design a tax platform that was the opposite of what the vast majority of the people want, you’d end up with the Republicans’ tax plan. Here’s the dirty details.
"The Republican plan is essentially the opposite of what the vast majority of Americans want to see in tax policy."
But the Republicans are doing the opposite. According to the Tax Policy Center the top 1 percent of Americans would get 79.7 percent of the benefits of the Republican’s tax “reform” plan. The biggest gainers would be those making over $730,000, who would see their after-tax income increase by over $129,000 on average. Meanwhile, those in the middle quintile would see their after-tax income increase by just $660. The lowest tax rate would actually increase from 10 percent to 12 percent.
Similarly, 73 percent of Americans want to raise taxes on corporations or leave them about where they are. Trump and Ryan, of course, are proposing to cut them from a nominal 35 percent to 20 percent (Trump originally wanted it cut to 15 percent, but even House Republicans aren’t that crazy).
But don’t be fooled by the paltry tax cuts given to the middle class—they wouldn’t come close to making up for the cuts to the programs they now benefit from.
For example, the tax cuts—which go mostly to corporations and the ultra-rich—would be funded by cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and other social programs that the middle class and the working poor depend upon.
To say there’s a disconnect between what the people want, and what the Republicans are proposing is an understatement. The Republican plan is essentially the opposite of what the vast majority of Americans want to see in tax policy.
The Budget: What the people want vs. what Republicans propose
Polls show strong support for maintaining or increasing spending on social and environmental programs. For example, in a national survey conducted by Pew Research Center in April, found broad support for maintaining or increasing federal spending across 14 specific program areas.
These 14 areas are targeted for reductions in the Republican Budget, including cuts in: benefits for elderly vets, education, health care, Medicare, environmental protection, assistance to the needy and the unemployed, and scientific research among other popular programs.
Other polls consistently support Pew’s findings on gap between the people’s priorities, and the priorities in the Republican budget.
A couple of areas are worth highlighting. First, there’s Defense spending, where the majority of Americans favored cutting the budget by $41 billion. The Republican budget would raise it by $84 billion, creating a gap between what people want and what Republicans are pursuing of some $125 billion.
Finally, there’s the budget cuts for climate change. Here, Republicans have drastically reduced budgets for research and renewable energy, while maintaining generous subsidies and support for fossil fuels. Again, exactly the opposite of what the majority of Americans want.
There is a budget that closely mirrors what the people want: the People's Budget, released by the Congressional Progressive Caucus, is closely aligned with preferences of the majority of Americans, and it does a better job at lowering the projected deficit though targeted tax increases on the rich and budget cuts in the military and a few other specific areas.
Oh, but you probably haven’t heard of the People’s Budget. The elite media and the pundits don’t seem to want to talk about it.
Now, I have moved back and forth between Trump’s budget and the House Republicans’ proposed budget, and there are differences—particularly regarding how explicit they are about what cuts they are proposing to deal with the monstrous deficits either budget would cause. True to their past practices, the House budget wishes the deficit away with magic asterisks, trickle-down nonsense, and perversions of dynamic scoring. But as a statement of priorities, the budgets are remarkably similar—quite simply, the Republicans propose, once again, to give the rich and corporations huge cuts, funded on the backs of the middle-class and working Americans.
Healthcare, Trumpcare, and single payer: What the people support vs. what's being offered
A majority of Americans now favor single payer, a remarkable evolution in attitude. And as we know, Trumpcare is one of the most hated pieces of legislation in recent memory, with three quarters or more of Americans opposing it. Meanwhile, more than half of Americans favor Obamacare over Trumpcare, another remarkable turnaround.
Gun control, anatomy of insanity: The people vs. the NRA's stranglehold on Congress
The majority of Americans have favored stricter regulations on gun purchasing and ownership for more than a decade, now. But Congress—both Republicans and Democrats—have refused to confront the powerful gun lobby. But when it comes to full-on crazy, Republicans have shown themselves to be beyond any sane or rational boundary on the issue.
There you have it. Republicans in general and Trump in particular are consistently voting against the interests and desires of the American voter.
But here’s the thing: as long as Democrats continue to embrace corporatism and neoliberalism; until they quit chasing the mythical center; until they quit pretending their abysmal failure to get elected at all levels of government is due to anything other than their corporate-friendly stance and their rejection of progressive values, they will continue to lose to these clowns. In fact, as the Clintonites count up excuses and fight rear-guard actions against progressives, they seal their fate and ours to being governed by amateur ideologues at best, and absolute "morons" at worst.