By now you are probably aware that the Senate is trying to ram through yet another repeal of the Affordable Care Act. There’s currently an umpteenth hurricane wiping out entire swaths of American real estate, and yet somehow THIS remains the focus of ghouls like Lindsay Graham and Mitch McConnell. Like every other proposal to nuke the American health care system, the Graham-Cassidy bill would make it impossibly expensive to have cancer, or to have a child, or to care for that child, or to just generally be alive. The only difference between this and its predecessors is a snappy new name. Congress is so fiercely determined to fuck over the majority of American citizens (in fact, some GOP senators are angry because the bill isn’t quite inhumane enough) that everyday life now consists mostly of desperately trying to beat them back with constant phone calls and pleading letters, and then having to do it all over again the next time they give it a try.
There is an irony to all this. Of course, the GOP has always operated from a place of deep, rich hypocrisy. Everything they claim to despise is everything they put into practice. But now that Trump is president and every old white guy in Congress has been granted carte blanche to propose every awful thing he pleases, you are seeing the ultimate manifestation of that hypocrisy. After all, the GOP has spent decades promoting a platform of anti-power—of true freedom. You should be free to own guns, and free to “choose” from any number of terrible health care plans, and free to not sell baked goods to gay people. You should never be beholden to BIG GOVERNMENT. The Feds should leave you alone.
Lobbyist and vapeboy Grover Norquist once famously said his dream was to drown the federal government in a bathtub, and more than a few voters agree with that ethos. In the eyes of Norquist and his ilk, the federal government was a big bloated thing that existed only to gorge itself on your tax dollars. If you’ve ever filled out a tax form, you have felt similar pangs. It is perfectly natural to witness prosperity in the DC area—Teslas on every road, seemingly endless enclaves lined with houses that cost $2.5 million and up—and want some of that prosperity more evenly spread out amongst the mainland. Big Government is waste. Big Government is smothering. Big Government must be destroyed.
In some ways, Trump HAS destroyed that government. He’s barely hired anyone. He brought in Scott Pruitt to dissolve the EPA from within. He brought in Betsy DeVos to liquidate the education system and parcel it out to any scam artist with experience running a diploma mill. The State department is virtually gone (one source I know close the department said it would take a decade, if not longer, for it to recover from less than a year under Trump’s rule). You can hear the cheering from red states as Trump undoes every Obama executive order. Finally, BIG GUBMINT is over, right?
LOL no of course not. I live in the DC area and I can tell you that those Teslas aren’t headed your way, Middle America. They’re still zooming around the Beltway. The federal debt is still climbing upward, now north of $20 trillion. Trump’s already exhausted his Secret Service budget by decamping every weekend to his own private golf courses. You’re still paying out the ass for everything going on here.
But this goes beyond merely fattening the calf. If you think of Big Government as an echo of Orwell’s Big Brother (and I assure you that was Norquist’s principle aim), it’s still here. In fact, it’s doing better than ever, thank you very much. Police have been gifted persondozers. ICE has been granted license to seize DACA recipients—Americans in everything but birthplace, just like Teddy Cruz!—and do as they please with them. States that legalized weed are in danger of being hounded by the attorney general and his band of narcs. Companies are politely stifling dissent against the administration and the government as a whole. Cozying up to the government—whether you’re a supremely untalented dope like Tomi Lahren, or just an access merchant like Glenn Thrush—is now a highly profitable venture. This week, the Senate voted to spend $700 billion more on our armed forces (what the hell, Democrats?). Indeed, Congress’ main spending priority is not the welfare of American citizens, but rather the weaponry needed to keep those citizens—and citizens of other countries—in line.
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