Are Christian Conservatives a Racket?

addic“Hundreds of other federal programs would see cuts, beginning in late January. These include reductions of about 8 percent in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children; the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program; and rental housing assistance”

For twenty five years I have been saying the Christian Republican Right is a racket that took over a major party and turned it into their Mega-church that get’s attention by being opposed to SOMETHING and almost any something will do. When the Iron Curtain fell I warned my Liberal friends they are going to be labeled the New Children of the Soviet Anti-Christ come to America. My friends thought I was crazy because they wanted to believe Liberals would rule for a thousand years.

For two thousand year, Christians will say anything in order to get money in the passed baskets. Now, as politicians they will do and say anything in order to get the faithful’s money in their coffers – and out of the coffers of secular government.

Jon Presco

Is Conservative Media One Big “Racket”?
December 11, 2012 10:24 AM EST ››› ERIC BOEHLERT
As Republicans continue to try to make sense of their recent election losses, the finger pointing is becoming more intense.
In recent days, prominent conservatives Bill Kristol and Joe Scarborough have leveled a new allegation: Major players have allowed their pursuit of personal wealth (and ego) to take precedence over larger political goals; that elements of the conservative movement resemble a me-first, moneymaking “racket,” where lining ones pockets stands out as the key objective.

It’s conservatism as an ATM.
The “racket” implication also extends beyond the media world and into the Tea Party, which Fox has faithfully touted as a “grassroot” movement. That feel-good characterization was hard to square with the recent revelation that former GOP House Majority Leader Dick Armey stepped down as chairman of FreedomWorks, an influential Tea Party non-profit group, with a staggering $8 million golden parachute. (He will reportedly be paid in $400,000 installments, annually, in “consulting fees.”)
Republicans rarely begrudge millionaires for big paydays. (It’s the free marketplace!) But if they think cashing in has trumped winning elections, GOP pushback is inevitable.
From Kristol [emphasis added]:
And the conservative movement–a bulwark of American strength for the last several decades–is in deep disarray. Reading about some conservative organizations and Republican campaigns these days, one is reminded of Eric Hoffer’s remark, “Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.” It may be that major parts of American conservatism have become such a racket that a kind of refounding of the movement as a cause is necessary.
And MSNBC’s Scarborough:
“You have a lot of people running around, saying harsh things that sell books and push ratings and lose elections,” he said on Monday. “Conservatism is a racket for a lot of people to get very, very rich. With no thought of winning elections.” 
Scarborough didn’t mention Dick Morris by name, but it’s possible the MSNBC host had the Fox News contributor him in mind when he denounced the type of conservative fraud that’s “destroying the Republican Party.”
As Media Matters detailed, Morris and conservative news outlet Newsmax Media operated something of a right-wing boondoggle during the recent election season. Cashing in on his television platform, Morris aggressively fundraised for a super PAC he advised, which then appeared to to funnel money back to Morris through rentals of his email list. Morris’ Super PAC for America paid Newsmax roughly $1.7 million for “fundraising” in October and November. It turns out a significant portion of the super PAC’s money likely went to renting Morris’ own email list, which is operated by Newsmax Media.

WASHINGTON — President Obama on Sunday implored Congress to act within the next 48 hours to avert the sharp tax increases and benefit cuts scheduled to take effect on Tuesday.

Graphic Fiscal Cliff: Changes Set to Occur if Congress Takes No Action.Related
Senate Seeks Bipartisan Formula to Reach Tax Deal (December 30, 2012)
Senate Leaders Set to Work on a Last-Minute Tax Agreement (December 29, 2012)
Enlarge This Image
Luke Sharrett for The New York Times
If a deal is reached, votes in the Senate could begin Sunday.
Enlarge This Image
Luke Sharrett for The New York Times
Speaker John A. Boehner stopped by the Capitol briefly to see his chief of staff on Saturday afternoon.
In remarks taped for broadcast on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Mr. Obama accused Republicans of blocking action on measures to prevent taxes from rising for most Americans, threatening the still-fragile economic recovery.

“We have been talking to the Republicans ever since the election was over,” Mr. Obama said. “They have had trouble saying yes to a number of repeated offers. Yesterday I had another meeting with the leadership, and I suggested to them if they can’t do a comprehensive package of smart deficit reductions, let’s at minimum make sure that people’s taxes don’t go up and that two million people don’t lose their unemployment insurance.”

“And I was modestly optimistic yesterday, but we don’t yet see an agreement,” the president said in comments that were taped on Saturday. “And now the pressure’s on Congress to produce.”

Unless Congress acts by midnight Monday, a broad set of tax increases and federal spending cuts will be automatically imposed on Jan. 1, affecting virtually every taxpayer and government program. The spending cuts were put in place earlier this year as draconian incentives that would force the president and lawmakers to confront the nation’s growing debt. Now, lawmakers are trying to keep them from happening, though it seemed likely, that the cuts, known as sequestration, would be left for the next Congress, to be sworn in this week.

Some economists have warned that the one-two punch of higher taxes and lower government spending could tip the nation into recession.

“For the entire economy that means consumers have a lot less money to make purchases,” Mr. Obama said, “which means businesses are going to have a lot less customers, which means that they’re less likely to hire and the whole economy could slow down at a time when the economy is actually starting to pick up and we’re seeing signs of recovery in housing and employment numbers improving.”

Republicans have blamed Mr. Obama for seeking to punish the wealthy with large tax increases and for not negotiating in good faith. They say his approach would worsen the deficit by protecting Democratic constituency groups from tax increases and benefit reductions while imposing sharp penalties on farmers and small business owners.

Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming, a member of the Republican leadership, said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” that Mr. Obama was not dealing with the real issue imperiling the economy — the Democrats “addiction to spending.”

“My goal is to keep tax rates down for all Americans,” Mr. Barrasso said.

Representative Darrel Issa, Republican of California, said on the same program, that action was imperative. “Unless we do something now,” he said, “the deficit will get bigger and government will get bigger.”

The president and party leaders in the House and Senate have been seeking a compromise measure that would protect middle-income families from the worst jolt of tax increases, but so far there is no agreement on where to draw the line. With the Bush-era tax cuts expiring, Mr. Obama and Democrats have said they want tax rates to rise on income over $250,000 a year, while Republicans want a higher threshold, perhaps at $400,000.

Senate leaders and their aides spent Saturday searching for a formula that could win bipartisan support in the Senate and final approval in the fractious House by the new year.

As part of the last-minute negotiations, the lawmakers haggled over unemployment benefits, cuts in Medicare payments to doctors, taxes on large inheritances and how to limit the impact of the alternative minimum tax, a parallel income tax system that is intended to ensure the rich pay a fair share but that is increasingly encroaching on the middle class.

Mr. Obama has said that if talks between the Senate leaders broke down, he wanted the Senate to schedule an up-or-down vote on a narrower measure that would extend only the middle-class tax breaks and unemployment benefits. The Senate majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, said he would schedule such a vote on Monday absent a deal.

The president, in his comments, singled out the top Republican leaders — Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio — for threatening to derail any deal in order to protect the wealthiest Americans.

“Now if we have raised some revenue by the wealthy paying a little bit more, that would be sufficient to turn off what’s called the sequester, these automatic spending cuts, and that also would have a better outcome for our economy long-term,” Mr. Obama said. “But so far, at least, Congress has not been able to get this stuff done. Not because Democrats in Congress don’t want to go ahead and cooperate, but because I think it’s been very hard for Speaker Boehner and Republican Leader McConnell to accept the fact that taxes on the wealthiest Americans should go up a little bit, as part of an overall deficit reduction package.”

Under questioning from the host of “Meet the Press,” David Gregory, Mr. Obama would not accept any responsibility for the impasse. He blamed Republican intransigence and political “dysfunction” in Washington, while insisting that he has offered multiple reasonable compromises.

“What is it about you, Mr. President,” Mr. Gregory asked, “that you think is so hard to say yes to?”

“That’s something you’re probably going to have to ask them,” the president responded, “because David, you follow this stuff pretty carefully. The offers that I’ve made to them have been so fair that a lot of Democrats get mad at me. I mean I offered to make some significant changes to our entitlement programs in order to reduce the deficit. I offered not only a trillion dollars in — over a trillion dollars in spending cuts over the next 10 years, but these changes would result in even more savings in the next 10 years.”

Continuing his comments, Mr. Obama said Republicans “say that their biggest priority is making sure that we deal with the deficit in a serious way, but the way they’re behaving is that their only priority is making sure that tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans are protected. That seems to be their only overriding, unifying theme.”

“And at some point,” he added. “I think what’s going to be important is that they listen to the American people.”

Members of Congress were mostly absent from the Capitol on Saturday, after two days of Senate votes on other matters and a day before both chambers were to reconvene. However, senior aides were working on proposals in their offices or at their homes.

Democrats and Republicans are also divided on the tax on inherited estates, which currently hits inheritances over $5 million at 35 percent. On Jan. 1, it is scheduled to rise to 55 percent beginning with inheritances exceeding $1 million.

The political drama in Washington over the weekend was given greater urgency by the fear that the economic gains of the past two years could be lost if no deal is reached.

Some of the consequences of Congressional inaction would be felt almost at once on Tuesday, in employee paychecks, doctors’ offices and financial markets. Analysts said the effect would be cumulative, building over time.

An early barometer would probably be the financial markets, where skittish investors, as they have during previous Congressional cliffhangers, could send the stock market lower on fears of another prolonged period of economic distress.

In 2011, the political battles over whether to raise the nation’s borrowing limit prompted Standard & Poor’s to downgrade its rating of American debt, suggesting a higher risk of default. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 635 points in a volatile day of trading after the downgrade.

This month, traders have again nervously watched the political maneuvering in Washington, and the markets have jumped or dropped at tidbits of news from the negotiations. Two weeks ago, Ben S. Bernanke, the chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, predicted that if lawmakers failed to reach a deal, “the economy will, I think, go off the cliff.”

Failure to reach a broader deal on taxes and spending would increase taxes even further, returning rates to Clinton-era levels. January paychecks would shrink as employers start withholding more for taxes.

Many families would also suffer if Congress failed to extend emergency jobless benefits, meaning that 2.1 million Americans would abruptly stop receiving expected payments.

The fallout would continue to worsen if the inaction and stalemate continue into late January.

Tens of millions of families could be ensnared by the alternative minimum tax, raising their 2012 tax bill and potentially throwing the coming tax season into disarray. This month, the Internal Revenue Service warned that as many as 100 million filers, out of 150 million, could be affected. Analysts said the I.R.S. might have to delay the start of filing season and the delivery of expected refund checks.

Come mid-January, some Medicare patients also might struggle to find doctors to treat them. Without Congressional action, doctors would face two cuts to reimbursement rates: a 26.5 percent reduction in Medicare payment rates from a 1997 law, and a further 2 percent cut adopted to reduce the deficit last year.

By late February or early March, lawmakers would face another economic showdown over raising the nation’s borrowing limit again to avoid a cash-management crisis and a government shutdown. Republicans have already said they intend to use the Congressional authority to increase the so-called debt ceiling to extract cuts from entitlement programs — a threat Mr. Obama has said he will resist.

Around the same time, the government and its workers would begin feeling the cuts to defense and domestic spending.

Without a compromise, the Pentagon and its civilian contractors would face steep reductions in virtually every program. Military officials said those spending reductions — $500 billion over 10 years — would eventually force the canceling or shrinking of projects and large-scale layoffs of military and civilian personnel.

Hundreds of other federal programs would see cuts, beginning in late January. These include reductions of about 8 percent in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children; the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program; and rental housing assistance”

About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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