By Joey Kennedy
Alabama Political Reporter
I read an interesting guest column on Alabama Political Reporter Tuesday, one written by US Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Mobile). Titled “Five things to watch in 2017,” it listed the five top priorities of the Republicans once so-called Republican Donald Trump is inaugurated as President on Jan. 20.
Byrne was once fairly reasonable. I supported him for Governor when he ran in the Republican Primary against “boob-grabber” Robert Bentley in 2010. Byrne was a solid, moderate, Republican State Senator, and he did a fine job as Chancellor of the State’s two-year college system, riddled in corruption, before he resigned to run for Governor in 2009.
But like so many Alabama Republicans, he’s gone off the rails. He, like the vast majority of Republicans, if not all, care far more about party than country.
Byrne’s column Tuesday discussed the “great potentials for reforms” in 2017 now that Republicans control the House, Senate, and White House.
History shows us, however, that Byrne’s and other Republicans’ ideas of progress might not be what’s best for the rest of us; you know, the rest of us not in the top 1 percent or 2 percent of the nation.
Byrne first listed “Health Care Relief.” More than 20 million Americans have received health relief under the Affordable Care Act. No, I don’t like it that my premiums shot up this year and that it’s all I can do to pay for mediocre health care. But that was true before the ACA as well. In what year did health insurance premiums not shoot up?
Byrne wrote that, “A top priority must be to repeal this disastrous law and begin moving forward with health care reforms that lower costs, boost competition, and spur innovations.”
What Byrne and his colleagues do not share is what their health care reforms include. These are just typical politician gobbledygook.
What Byrne means is that Republicans will repeal the ACA, and leave health care in America in a shambles. That is, unless he’s going to support universal, one-payer health insurance, something Republicans have never supported. That plan, which most First-World countries have, hurts their friends making millions off the health care industry and big pharma.
No. 2: Byrne says “Under President Obama, our military has taken a hit and that trend must be reversed.”
What Byrne doesn’t say is that under Obama, the United States spends more on the military than the next seven countries combined. That includes China, Russia, the United Kingdom, and France.
No. 3 for Byrne: Hoping Congress and Trump will cut “unnecessary and costly government regulations that are making it harder for businesses to grow.”
Under-regulation is what led to the Great Recession, the home mortgage crisis, the failure of banks and the loss of millions of jobs. “This type of regulatory reform will go a long way toward boosting economic growth,” Byrne wrote. Well, it never has. The result won’t be economic growth; it’ll be making the richer even more rich, with the middle class and poor hurt even more.
Byrne’s fourth hope is for “Immigration Enforcement.” “Over the last eight years, the Obama Administration has consistently turned a blind eye to our nation’s immigration laws.” That must be the reason that over the past eight years, more undocumented immigrants, especially the most dangerous, have been deported than under any other president.
Finally, Byrne wants “A Simpler Tax Code.” When a Republican says this, it almost always means tax cuts for the rich. Under President Ronald Reagan’s tax reform, the rich got richer, while the middle class and poor got poorer. Under President George W. Bush’s tax reform, the rich got richer, while the middle class and poor got poorer.
The “trickle down” policies have never worked. And history shows that fact. But, hey, let Republicans keep doing what they’ve always done and hope for a different result. Insanity. In truth, they don’t hope for a different result. They hope the rich get richer, and damn the middle class and the poor.
Sometimes a Congressman’s column needs a translation into plain English. I hope this helps. But remember, voters – the vast majority middle class and poor – put them there.
Problem is, we all have to live with it. Well, all of us except the hyper-rich.
Joey Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize winner, writes a column every week for Alabama Political Reporter. Email: [email protected]