I hate to keep pointing out the proto-totalitarian mendacity of today’s Republican Party. After all, who wouldn’t want to see them become helpful? Well, as it turns out, they.
Take inflation (please). People are hurting. Yet here’s what Florida Senator Rick Scott, notorious for paying the highest fine ever for Medicare fraud but elected anyway, Trumpishly, said about it: “This is a goldmine for us.”
Which explains the Republican response as inflation has begun declining: accusing Biden of lying. Insisting, against CBO economic analysis, that the Inflation Reduction Act, won’t. Casting full blame on President Biden when inflation has many causes and is higher in several other countries. Asked what their anti-inflation plans are, Republicans change the subject: immigration, walls, crime (but not Trump's). Because they have none and don’t want one. Why look a “goldmine” in the mouth?
Or consider President Biden’s plan to cancel a portion of student loans, mainly for those making an average of $70 thousand/year. Controversial, for sure. If, as in better-educated countries, post-high school education were included in government funding, it wouldn’t be an issue. While Rs eruct outrage, morality being their strong suit, they ignore their own who had PPP loans forgiven, including some of the loudest screamers. But it’s unfair to students who paid, is what they say.
Being fair-minded, I won’t bring up the many hardworking contractors Trump stiffed, or his six bankruptcies, which allowed him to skate on millions he owed. Curiously, this lifelong history of absconding on debt wasn’t disqualifying for Republican voters; the same ones, no doubt, extruding red-hot offense over President Biden’s action.
Nor would I even think of mentioning that “Forgive us our debts” thing in The Lord’s Prayer. I will, however, point out that as progress happens, pre-progress people may not benefit. That’s how it works: progress progresses past the past. Social Security, medical breakthroughs. Automobiles. Indoor plumbing. Unfair to the previously born.
But there’s something that reveals even more clearly to whom Republican leaders are indentured, what their political priorities are, and in what low regard they hold the voters they consider their gullible base. Namely, the reactions to funding 87,000 IRS agents, as contained in the Inflation Reduction Act. Contemptuous lies: impenitent, confidently cynical, too many to recount here. 87,000 agents, they shriek, armed with AR 15s, will be busting down doors of ordinary people, taking their hard-earned money and their children’s lemonade stands. At gunpoint.
The lies aren’t coming only from execrable media conspiracists like Jones and Carlson. It’s the head of the RNC, Cruz, Scott, Graham, McConnell, McCarthy, Rubio, Grassley, and more, plus the usual House crazies. Repeated hundreds of times, by actual count, by R Congresspeople and their “news” dispensers, the lies persist despite thorough debunking.
And, of course, they’ve led to Trumpism’s favorite activity: death threats. Which, it should be noted, are also happening to employees of the National Archives and FBI after Trump attacked them for doing their jobs. Trumpists believe anything and stop at nothing. Leaders count on it.
Here’s the truth: new hires will occur over a period of ten years. Due to normal attrition, the net result will be an increase of 40 thousand employees, bringing the IRS back to the number it had in 1990; most will be customer service representatives and analysts, not agents.
The number of new agents added over that decade will be fewer than 7,000. Less than one percent of IRS agents are armed, and that won’t change. Their targets are super bad guys, like drug cartels and Russian oligarchs, among which, we assume, typical Americans – even Trumpists -- aren’t.
The IRS has made clear its intent to use the increased resources to go after very wealthy cheaters, who bilk the government out of billions. Which exposes the reason for those Republicans’ shameless lies: frightening people who don’t cheat into voting for them, at the behest of and to protect those who do.
Bending truth may be a bipartisan political activity, but this level of incandescent Republican lying about everything bespeaks a party committed to nothing but its own power and its paymasters’ demands. Aware that their policies don’t attract average voters, they’ve made disinformation their electoral strategy. The violent, scapegoating rhetoric of their next great blight hope, Ron DeSantis, against LGBT citizens, Anthony Fauci, public education, and more, shows there’s no bottom for Trumpublicanism to hit. Encouraging civil war if laws are enforced and Trump is charged for his crimes, they echo the worst of human history.
MAGA Republicans, who recently feted Hungary’s fascistic Viktor Orban, are indignant that President Biden called them “semi-fascist.” Agreed: he was wrong to say it. There’s nothing “semi” about them.