Today’s GOP, In Two Numbers
Last week, President Obama laid out a sweeping agenda to combat income inequality, strengthen the middle class, and extend ladders of opportunity to those striving to enter it. He also challenged the GOP to put forward their own ideas instead of just rejecting whatever he proposes. We have yet to see any new ideas from the Republicans but their opposition to the president’s agenda of economic empowerment is still going strong.
Two numbers perfectly illustrate the almost cruel indifference shown by today’s GOP toward the concerns of the millions of Americans who are struggling to get by:
- 4,831,590: That is the number of low-income Americans who will not receive health coverage through Medicaid simply because Republican governors and legislatures are refusing to expand the program under the Affordable Care Act. Because the expansion is almost entirely paid for by the federal government, states refusing to expand the program will forego billions in tax dollars, even as providers remain on the hook for uncompensated care provided to the uninsured. Texas will lose out on more than $9 BILLION, while Florida is leaving more than $5 BILLION on the table.
- 1,300,000: That is the number of unemployed Americans who will immediately lose their benefits come January if Republicans in Congress refuse to extend long-term unemployment benefits, which would be an unprecedented move during a period of persistently high unemployment. The number who stand to lose their benefits would climb to 3.6 MILLION by the end of 2014. In addition to unnecessarily causing added misery for millions of struggling families, letting the extended benefits lapse would also deal a blow to the economy to the tune of 240,000 lost jobs as well as reduced growth. Over the weekend, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) tried to justify the GOP’s intransigence by making the bizarre argument that extended benefits are somehow harmful to the unemployed and do them a “disservice.”
BOTTOM LINE: If Republicans want to appeal to a broader group of Americans, they should stop putting politics ahead of people. The policies Republicans are pursuing will needlessly punish millions of Americans who can least afford it.