According to every conservative pundit and politician, the message from the mid-term Election was loud and clear: Americans want a change in Washington — starting with fiscal accountability.
Incoming House Speaker John Boehner embraced this perceived mandate with a promise to cut spending and a new list of House rules. Instead of PayGo, instituted by Democrats, which says each piece of new legislation (with a few exceptions) must be paid for by shifting funding or increasing revenue, Boehner is instituting CutGo which says new legislation must be paid for by cutting spending in other areas — unless the legislation is new tax cuts.
The GOP has pledged to repeal health reform. Of course, doing so would eliminate the $143 billion that reform would shave off the deficit. And conservatives have no plans to offset the lost savings. We haven’t seen amnesia this sudden since we met Dory in “Finding Nemo.”
What’s even more intriguing is that FreedomWorks, a national Tea Party group, is backing the plan. As most of us know, the Tea Party prides itself on being a dissociated collective of grassroots activists. FreedomWorks is, of course, a front group for the billionaire Koch Brothers who have embraced their father’s paranoia about government regulation. The Koch Brothers are also bankrolling Americans for Prosperity — another popular tea party group.
Additionally, the Koch Brothers fundraise for various conservative entities. Their recent donor meeting in Palm Springs made the New York Times because of the secrecy and security measures invitees were expected to follow. Previous Koch guests have included Supreme Court justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, extremist Senators Jim Demint and Tom Coburn and the rising, young Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI).
Now we by no means intend to demonize all billionaire donors, their friends and their causes. But there is a distinct difference between philanthropy (like Bill and Melinda Gates) or funding political movements that promote social justice (like George Soros) and the work of the Koch Brothers. It also draws a distinct contrast between progressive and conservative philosophies.
Conservatives may claim the banner of fiscal accountability, but so far their priorities have been maximizing corporate profits by deregulating industries and disregarding the rights of workers. Progressives seek a balance between profit and well-being; we promote an equal playing field and encourage innovation.
These conservative efforts to repeal health reform that are being bankrolled by secretive billionaires are exemplary of the conservative movement’s priorities. They will try to repeal reform under the slogans of limited government and fiscal accountability. However, they have no plans to offset the $143 billion in lost savings or solutions to cover the tens of millions of individuals who will lose health coverage.
It is clear that conservatives are more concerned with yielding to the demands of their generous financiers and their faux grassroots movements — no matter how many lives are sacrificed.