By Robert A. Vella

Four months ago, Republicans all across America won huge victories in the lowest voter turnout midterm election since 1942 when the world was gripped in war.  Now that they control most of the governorships, state legislatures, and both houses of Congress, Republicans are beginning to push their austerity agenda with great vigor.

Even in recent years when Democrats held more political power, the GOP was still able to enact some of their budget-slashing tactics designed to weaken government at the expense of the poor and middle class.  Such a political counterweight will be far less effective this time around.  And, with debt ceiling and budgetary deadlines looming later this year, Republicans will have even more leverage to reshape America according to their ideological vision.  The only thing that might slow them down at the national level is the upcoming 2016 election where 24 incumbent Republican U.S. Senators will be on the ballot.

Here’s a respective sampling of austerity measures the GOP is currently pursuing:

From ThinkProgressSchools Plan Massive Layoffs After Scott Walker Guts Funding:

This week, Wisconsin kicked off a series of hearings on Governor Scott Walker’s proposed budget, which would slash about $300 million from the University of Wisconsin system over two years, funnel hundreds of millions to build a pro-basketball stadium, and cut deeply from funds for health care, food stamps and public media.

College campuses across the state are already preparing for the worst.

Funding at UW-Rock County would be stripped back to levels not seen since 1998, and the school’s dean has said faculty layoffs are almost certain. The situation appears even more dire at UW-Eau Claire, where administrators have offered buyouts to a record 325 faculty and staff members — about a quarter of the campus’ employees. These so-called “go away packages” have been offered to nearly half of the school’s political science department. UW-Stevens Point reports they will eliminate several entire majors, even for students currently enrolled in them.

And it’s not just higher education feeling the pain.

Public primary schools across Wisconsin will lose about $127 million in education aid next year, largely by scrapping a special $150 per-student fund that Wisconsin school districts received over the past two years.


Residents of Illinois are organizing against Governor Bruce Rauner’s proposal to cut nearly $400 million from the University of Illinois — taking the colleges back to the funding levels they had in the 1950s even though the student population is three times bigger today.


Meanwhile, students in Louisiana will hold a budget forum on Wednesday to voice concerns about Governor Bobby Jindal’s proposed $200 million in cuts to Louisiana State University.

From the Huffington PostHouse Republicans Just Let The Cat Out Of The Bag:

WASHINGTON — Since taking control of the House in 2010, Republicans have crafted dozens of bills ostensibly devoted to “streamlining and simplifying” the federal government. They’ve pushed them through the lower chamber, promising to cut red tape and create jobs. But on Tuesday, they let the cat out of the bag. These bills, it turns out, are essentially efforts to undermine Wall Street reform and Obamacare while greenlighting pollution.

Much of the House GOP’s jobs package is devoted to legislation requiring various forms of “cost-benefit analysis” on new regulations. Critics, however, have repeatedly noted that agencies already have to perform a host of economic impact assessments before making rules. They argue that these bills are really only interested in emphasizing costs. The benefits of regulations, after all, tend to be longer-term and hard to quantify, while costs are relatively easy to figure out. When you curb pollution and give people access to health insurance, it saves lives — something far more difficult to assign a dollar value than the upfront costs to corporate interests.

From Richard Eskow of Campaign for America’s FutureA “Moral Document”: GOP Again Targets Social Security, Medicare:

It’s not often that I find myself agreeing with a congressional Republican on fiscal matters, but it’s hard to argue with a recent statement from Rep. Rob Woodall (R-Ga.) of the House Budget Committee. “A budget is a moral document,” said the Georgia Republican. “It talks about where your values are.”

That’s certainly true. So what are we to make of this year’s House and Senate Republican budgets? They harm seniors, use the disabled as pawns, punish the needy, pamper the wealthy, and employ deceit – all to promote a selfish agenda for the wealthy and powerful.

There’s a lot to say about these two proposals, but for now we’ll restrict ourselves to two important subjects: Social Security and Medicare.


We haven’t even discussed the jury-rigged numbers yet, or the false fiscal assertions – and Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), chair of the Senate Budget Committee, is an accountant. Contrary to GOP assertions, these documents wouldn’t balance the budget. What they would do is plunge the United States into an austerity-triggered recession reminiscent of Greece.

But for all the deception and evasion which permeates these documents, one thing comes through clearly: the Republicans have no interest in the well-being of seniors or the disabled. Theirs is an anti-tax agenda for the wealthy, and an anti-social contract agenda for everyone else.

Rep. Woodall is right. A budget is a moral document which “talks about where your values are.” These documents don’t paint a pretty picture.

Further reading:

Senate GOP budget cuts less than House, balances in decade

Obama Chides G.O.P. Over Proposed Program Cuts

4 thoughts on “Four months after their low-turnout election victory, Republicans ramp-up their Austerity agenda

  1. Due to many factors, republicans always have the upper hand in congressional debate.

    When they are in the majority, they pass whatever legislation they will profit the most from and completely disregard democrats. And when they are in the minority, they take the most extreme position possible, then hijack discussions until democrats crack under the pressure of fear. (The fear being either looking weak compared to the GOP bullies or looking like adolescent jerks by adopting GOP tactics).

    This allows the GOP to be the major partner in congressional crime regardless of the actual number of seats they hold.

    This will continue until a group of courageous people in government call out the bullies, bring facts into the picture without losing the attention of a dumbed-down populace and have the strength and discipline to be as relentless as the corporate rulers.


  2. 🙂 Why, thank you. I’ve never before had a comment called magnificent. 🙂 Though it was a belated response, I was hoping to get a reaction from a few readers. I enjoy provoking other people to express their opinions.

    Love your blog.



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