Pamela Powers Hannley, a progressive voice for Arizona
Ok, Ok, I know that this is supposed to be the new age of civility, but every time I hear Republican Party mouthpiece Bruce Ash’s twisted logic and his “This I Believe” audio editorials on the radio, I just wanna puke. It’s amazing to me that he can sound soooooo sincere while he bends the facts to suit his ideology. (See, I’m trying to be be nice.)
Today on John C. Scott’s Show on The JOLT (1330 am), Ash was in rare form. I so tempted to call up and debate Ash but decided to do it here instead.
Ash: Congressional Republicans are committed to holding the line on the budget and stopping the “out-of-control” spending of the Obama Administration.
Me: Are these the same Republicans that insisted on keeping all of the Bush tax cuts before they would consider any other legislation last December? This fiscally irresponsible move will add trillions to the debt. And are these the same Republicans who gave Bush II everything he wanted with no regard to the cost? I think so.
Ash: Congressional Republicans will vote against raising the debt ceiling in March, but it’s no big deal. It’s fiscally irresponsible to raise to continue to raise the debt limit.
Me: When Newt Gingrich did this, he shut down the US government. This eventually blew up in his face, and the Republicans lost credibility. How could it be no big deal now? Also, since Gingrich’s fiasco in 1995, Republicans and Democrats have voted to raise the debt limit several times. After spending like drunken sailors for eight years under Bush II, are you saying that Republicans have now sobered up?
Ash: Today, House Republicans made good on their campaign promise to repeal of Obamacare because it costs too much, takes away patient choice, interferes with the doctor-patient relationship, and provides federal funding for abortion. Besides most Americans don’t like the plan. We’re just doing what the voters want us to. [I wish I could have witnessed Ash’s nose grow longer after spewing this string of Republican lies.]
Me: First of all, the Affordable Health Care Act saves the US money in the long term, and repealing it will add to the nation’s debt. This vote was no more than political theater, and it is diametrically opposed to your first statement that Republicans are committed to fiscal responsibility. Second and third, patients are free to choose their doctors, and they can keep their current doctor and plan or dump them if they want. Fourth, the healthcare reform law does not pay for abortions; if a woman has a plan that pays for abortions, she’s allowed to keep that plan and uses the services she has paid for. (It’s called patient choice.) Lastly, recent polls show that only 18% of Americans are against Obamacare, since millions more Americans now have healthcare insurance who didn’t and more provisions are taking effect. [Scott mentioned this, and Ash testily denied that polls show Americans now favor reform.] Also, earlier polls that showed most Americans didn’t like the plan included progressives who thought it didn’t go far enough + people who thought it went too far or just don’t like it because it was a Democratic Party victory.
[Scott asked Ash about gimmicks and fixes in Governor Jan Brewer’s proposed new budget and alluded to the need to raise revenues, but Ash would have none of that. Instead he went for the Sarah Palin’s folksy old saw about sitting around the kitchen table like a family.]
Ash: Like your family or mine, John, Arizona just has to sit around the kitchen table and figure out where to cut the budget to make ends meet. It’s just that simple. At the same time, Arizona has to be attractive to businesses in Arizona– to encourage them to stay– and attractive to businesses who may want to relocate. [Being attractive = cutting corporate taxes.] Arizona also should look at decreasing regulations.
Me: Arizona already has one of the lowest corporate tax rates in the country– 6.968%. Cutting corporate taxes when the state is in the midst of a fiscal crisis and has not balanced the budget for years is fiscally irresponsible. [Again, Bruce, see #1 above.] Businessmen in Tucson, as well as academics at Arizona State University, say that Arizona’s budget crisis can’t be fixed with budget cuts alone and that Arizona’s tax system is structurally unsound. The Governor’s proposal would only worsen this situation. Regarding making Arizona attractive to businesses, tax rates and lax regulations are not the only things that relocating business consider. They look at infrastructure, quality of life, and the education level of the workforce. Dramatic and repeated cuts to education at all levels will make Arizona less and less competitive. Cutting university funding also stifles innovation and research-based start-up businesses.