Many have called this November’s election “the most important of our lifetime.” They have said that if President Obama gets a second term and if Republicans do not take both houses of Congress, America as we now know it will cease to exist. Let’s take them at their word and try to imagine what Republicans would do if they were in charge again and controlled Washington.
How do we determine what Republicans would do if they controlled both houses of Congress and the presidency? We could point to the type of policies they enacted during George W. Bush’s first six years in office. During that time Republicans passed two tax reform bills now referred to as the “Bush tax cuts” using the process of reconciliation. They created the TSA and passed the PATRIOT Act to “protect us” from terrorists. Republicans also went to war and put the bills on the side, racking up public debt in the process.
Today’s Republicans claim they will not act like that again. They claim to be more fiscally conservative and will work to lower taxes and drive down the debt. Again, let’s take them at their word. So what model can we look towards to determine what Republicans might do today? How about Georgia?
In Georgia, Republicans control both the governor’s office and both state houses. The Tea Party has a strong influence in the state, but it is not overrun by the Tea Party, much like in strong Republican areas in the country. Not a perfect model, but close enough for comparison. So what did Georgia Republicans do this legislative session when they controlled everything?
Two major things happened this legislative session in Georgia. First, on the last legislative day, Republicans were able to get through their new late term abortion bill limiting abortions to before 20 weeks. Never mind the merits of the bill, the point is they passed a bill relating to social issues instead of focusing on jobs.
Second, Republicans passed a tax reform overhaul. At least that is what they are calling it. For the past couple of years Republicans in Georgia have wanted to pass tax reform and reduce/eliminate the state income tax. So you would expect that is what they did with this overhaul right? Wrong! You see they couldn’t pass a bill that actually lowered rates across the board because making up the money from doing so would have been too difficult. So instead they choose winners and losers by cherry picking which people should get a tax benefit and which people should get a tax increase. They did it with very little debate and very little time for the public to weigh in on the tax changes.
Sounds sneaky. Sounds like something Democrats would do. Yet that is exactly what Republicans uncontrolled did in Georgia. That is what happens when one party controls the government. They are able to ram through anything without public debate. They are able to pick their own winners and losers. They are able to act like politicians. The Republicans of today are no different from the Republicans of yesterday as Georgia’s example proves. If Republicans somehow gain control of Washington and are unchallenged don’t expect things to change or get better. They won’t.