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Conservatives believe that they are on the right side of history when they block immigration reform, food stamps, unemployment benefits, the Affordable Care Act (ACA),
Medicare, Medicaid, education and veterans benefits, as long as they advocate a several  hundred thousand dollar tax cut for multi-millionaires. But they're wrong. And in fact, they may have a more serious problem than they realize.

According to Michael Langenmayr of Daily Kos, “Rep. Paul Ryan—the Republicans’ self-appointed policy wonk—is out with a new plan to cut Head Start, Medicaid, food stamps, low-income housing, energy assistance, job training, education, veterans programs, and... well, just about everything.”

However, the experts say Ryan is misusing the data to justify all these cuts,   misinterpreting the facts and distorting the truth.

The experts say Ryan “cherry-picked” data to make his numbers work and the economists whose work he essentially falsified  are complaining.”

According to Langenmayr, “Simply put: Paul Ryan is a fraud who can’t balance a spreadsheet.”

Republicans in Georgia are joining with Rep. Ryan in their attack on vulnerable citizens. The recent legislative session, with Republicans controlling both the House and Senate and all elected executive offices, was remarkable for ill considered, dangerous  and needlessly hurtful and harmful laws.

For example, House Bill 60 would be, according to the AJC, “the broadest expansion of gun rights in the state’s recent history.” The bill would originally have allowed guns in churches, period, but the newest version gives the churches the option to “opt in.”

But not to worry you people who love guns more than you love people. If you are caught with a gun in a church that forbids them, you will only be charged with a misdemeanor and a $100 fine.

As originally written the bill would have allowed people to carry guns in unsecured areas of Georgia airports, on college campuses, and unsecured government buildings around the state. It isn’t clear if these Republicans would have allowed guns in the State Capital and their legislative office buildings.

Naturally, the Republicans oppose expanding Medicaid for 650,000 uninsured Georgians as well as every aspect of the Affordable Care Act that could help Georgians obtain affordable, reliable health insurance. This despite the fact that expansion would create tens of thousands of jobs and bring billions of dollars to a cash strapped state where rural hospitals are closing due to lack of funding.

Just in case Governor Deal does not win re-election against Democrat Jason Carter, the legislature has assumed the sole power to decide whether the state should expand Medicaid. They won’t.

According to Rep. Edward Lindsey, R. Atlanta, with House Bill 990, “We have set state policy to mirror the concerns of the overwhelming majority of people in Georgia …and (who) want the state to oppose it.” (the Affordable Care Act)

One wonders how many of those 650,000 uninsured Georgians he asked, and how many of them feel that way. He certainly didn't consult with me for my opinion.

According to the AJC, House Bill 993 “would prevent state or local governments from advocating Medicaid expansion.” So much for those Republican principles of smaller, unobtrusive government and self determination.

Then there is Georgia's dysfunctional Food Stamp program. According to the April 4th, 2014 AJC, Georgia is facing the loss of 76 million Federal dollars because of the back logs of thousands of new applications for food stamps. According to the AJC, the system is "plagued by under staffing, antiquated technology and a call-in center that cannot handle all the calls that come in."

I guess the Republicans didn't see that coming when they cut the state budget and passed out tax cuts to profitable corporations.  

In Georgia, food stamp enrollees must reapply every 6 months. Previously, applicants could go to a physical location and fill out forms with the assistance of a state worker. Now, applicants can only obtain benefits over the phone. Of course, some applicants might not have a phone. Oh well. But privatizing the process gets taxpayer money into the hands of political contributors and friends who might just own a call center, another example of welfare for the rich and infamous.

And if applicants can't get through at all or get put on hold for hours, which is what is happening, the Republicans can take solace that eventually hungry Georgians will just resign themselves to starvation. That's what the Republicans mean when they tout individual or personal responsibility.  

Based on their behavior nationally and on the state level, especially in Georgia, Republicans need to change their animal symbol from an elephant to a goat. Why? Let’s consult the Bible, specifically Matthew 25: 31-46. (KJ version with some re- translations)

Matt: 25:31 When the Son of man shall come into his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit on the throne of his glory:
32. And before him shall be gathered all politicians: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides the sheep from the goats.
33. And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
34. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
35. For I was hungry, and you gave me meat: (food stamps) I was thirsty, and you gave me drink: (clean water) I was a stranger, and you took me in: (comprehensive immigration reform)
36. Naked, and you clothed me: (extended unemployment benefits) I was sick, (Medicaid expansion and the Affordable Care Act) and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came unto me. (reform of mandatory, discriminatory sentencing laws)
37. Then shall the righteous politicians answer him, saying, Lord, when did we see you  hungry, and feed you? Or thirsty, and give you drink?
38. When did we see you a stranger, and took you in? Or naked, and clothed you?
Or saw you sick, or in prison, and came to you?
40. And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these of your fellow citizens, you have done it to me.
41. Then shall he say also unto the politicians on the left hand, Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
42. For I was hungry, and you gave me no meat: (cut food stamps) I was thirsty, and you gave me no drink: (polluted water)
43. I was a stranger, and you took me not in: (no comprehensive immigration reform) naked, and you clothed me not: (no extended unemployment benefits) sick, (no Medicaid expansion and repeated attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act) and in prison, and you visited me not. (no reform of  mandatory, discriminatory sentencing laws)
44. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when did we see you hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to you?
45. Then shall he answer them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as you did it not to one of the least of these of your fellow citizens, you did it not to me.
46. And these politicians shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous politicians into life eternal.

Of course, this is only Jesus’s opinion.

Jim McMeans
Danielsville, GA
jmcmeans@windstream.net

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