While President Trump's tweet accusing the President of illegal wiretapping is garnering all the media attention right now, that coverage is obscuring a more dangerous reality. Republicans are in over their heads. And in having to give the semblance of doing something, they run the risk of once again putting the country and the economy of the world at risk.
Paul Krugman points out the two realities that are not mutually exclusive. Trump has now proven to be unequivocally unqualified for the presidency, and the current Republicans occupying Congress are not much better.
Krugman wrote the piece "A Party Not Ready to Govern" where he made the case with just two major policy issues that many Republicans complained about ad nauseam for the eight years of the Obama Presidency yet are at best incompetent at every attempt to make their vision a reality. Krugman wrote the following.
It goes without saying that Donald Trump is the least qualified individual, temperamentally or intellectually, ever installed in the White House. As he veers from wild accusations against President Obama to snide remarks about Arnold Schwarzenegger, he’s doing a very good imitation of someone experiencing a personal breakdown — even though he has yet to confront a crisis not of his own making. Thanks, Comey.
But the broader Republican quagmire — the party’s failure so far to make significant progress toward any of its policy promises — isn’t just about Mr. Trump’s inadequacies. The whole party, it turns out, has been faking it for years. Its leaders’ rhetoric was empty; they have no idea how to turn their slogans into actual legislation, because they’ve never bothered to understand how anything important works.
On Obamacare, Krugman points out that the Republicans had seven years to come up with some version of health care that would be beneficial to all Americans. Their hidden solution is likely to bring on the hurt on a majority of Americans.
First we had seven — seven! — years during which Republicans kept promising to offer an alternative to Obamacare any day now, but never did. Then came the months after the election, with more promises of details just around the corner.
Now there’s apparently a plan hidden somewhere in the Capitol basement. Why the secrecy? Because the Republicans have belatedly discovered what some of us tried to tell them all along: The only way to maintain coverage for the 20 million people who gained insurance thanks to Obamacare is with a plan that, surprise, looks a lot like Obamacare.
Sure enough, the new plan reportedly does look like a sort of half-baked version of the Affordable Care Act. Politically, it seems to embody the worst of both worlds: It’s enough like Obamacare to infuriate hard-line conservatives, but it weakens key aspects of the law enough to deprive millions of Americans — many of them white working-class voters who backed Donald Trump — of essential health care.
It seems a lot like the same old laissez-faire health care system where if you can't afford the extortion from insurance companies and health care providers, in the words of Congressman Alan Grayson, "If You Do Get Sick, Die Quickly!"
Krugman points out that some of the tax reforms Paul Ryan is pushing have merit. But he said it is evident that Ryan does not quite understand what he is advocating; another example of a party, not ready to govern.
Then there’s corporate tax reform — an issue where the plan being advanced by Paul Ryan, the House speaker, is actually not too bad, at least in principle. Even some Democratic-leaning economists support a shift to a “destination-based cash flow tax,” which is best thought of as a sales tax plus a payroll subsidy.
But Mr. Ryan has failed spectacularly to make his case either to colleagues or, to powerful interest groups. Why? As best I can tell, it’s because he himself doesn’t understand the point of the reform.
The case for the cash flow tax is quite technical; among other things, it would remove the incentives the current tax system creates for corporations to load up on debt and to engage in certain kinds of tax avoidance. But that’s not the kind of thing Republicans talk about — if anything, they’re in favor of tax avoidance, hence the Trump proposal to slash funding for the I.R.S.
Krugman's final two sentences should be frightening for most poor and middle-class Americans for they will bear the brunt of the suffering when rhetoric devoid from reality becomes the governing principle.
What we’re witnessing is what happens when a party that gave up hard thinking in favor of empty sloganeering ends up in charge of actual policy. And it’s not a pretty sight.
We must remember it does not have to be that way. We are at one moment in time where 'just say no' represents progress by the mere prevention of the destructive policies Trump, Paul Ryan and his cohort have in store for America. And we stop destructive policies by continuing the activism that has taken over the country. We keep the pressure on our politicians with the calls, the faxes, the e-mails, and the protests at their offices and elsewhere. We ensure that we prepare to vote them out of office in 2018 and we cripple their ability to pass legislation in the interim by getting key Congresspeople and Senators to abstain from the madness.