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Here’s Why Republicans Have No Idea What They’re Doing

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Here’s Why Republicans Have No Idea What They’re Doing


Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.

As usual, President Trump is dominating the news as the gold-plated symbol of everything wrong with American politics. But let’s not let his Twitter theatrics overshadow everything else that’s wrong with today’s GOP.

As Paul Krugman reminds us in his Monday column, there’s a reason why the Republican Party gravitated toward Trump in the first place. And it’s hardly surprising that the GOP can’t get it together to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act or reform corporate taxes, as promised.

“They have no idea how to turn their slogans into actual legislation, because they’ve never bothered to understand how anything important works,” Krugman says.

For seven years, “Republicans kept promising to offer an alternative to Obamacare any day now, but never did,” Krugman notes.

From what we know about the new plan—and Republicans have gone to tragicomic lengths to keep it a secret—it’s not very good. As Krugman observes:

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.

The plan was hatched by “smart” Republicans like Paul Ryan, who the media never tires of painting as the wonky intellectual of the GOP. But there are glaring inconsistencies in the GOP’s Obamacare replacement.

First off, as Krugman notes, “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.” But instead of admitting their political failure, Ryan and company are aiming to shove this bill down the throats of the American people before anyone has a chance to understand what’s in it.

“Then there’s corporate tax reform,” which as Krugman reminds us, is not entirely evil, at least in principle. Congress could pass a “‘destination-based cash flow tax,’ which is best thought of as a sales tax plus a payroll subsidy. (Trust me).”

Of course, the argument for the tax gets very technical, Krugman says.

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.

Paul Ryan wouldn’t pass an opportunity to cut corporate taxes, so he frames his plan “as a measure to make American industry more competitive.” What this actually means is removing pesky labor protections and wage increases that might make life easier for workers.

In conclusion, when it comes to crafting policy rather than opposing the Democrats, the Republican Party has no idea what it’s doing.

“Whatever the eventual outcome,” Krugman says, “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.”

Ilana Novick is an AlterNet contributing writer anild production editor.

IMAGE: Donald Trump meets with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan on Capitol Hill. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts



  1. ⭐️ I Am Helpy ⭐️ March 7, 2017

    “Because they are the ignorant end products of a half-century of anti-intellectualism.”

    This has been another thrilling installment of Helpy Answers The Headlines™

    1. Martha Bartha March 7, 2017

      Thanks Helpy!

  2. Martha Bartha March 7, 2017

    They only do what benefits them financially. Including War!

  3. Kate Murray March 8, 2017

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  4. itsfun March 8, 2017

    Writer says Ryan is ready to shove the new plan down our throats, isn’t that what the Democrats did with Obamacare? Writer says Republicans did not offer any plans for seven years. This is wrong or a lie. Tom Price for one did offer a plan that was completely ignored by dirty Harry. Why would they bother to write any new plans when they knew dirty Harry wouldn’t allow anything out of committee or Obama would veto anyway? I don’t care what a new plan is called or looks like. Rates and deductibles must be decreased. Mandates like making men pay for maternity care and women paying for ED problems is nuts. Coverage that the people paying for them should be coverages they may be able to use. As it is now, both the man and woman must pay for maternity care. What sense does that make? It is paying twice for the same service for one person. The same goes for making women pay for ED. I am only using these two health problems as a example. Maybe if President Trump slashes funds for the IRS, then the IRS won’t pick on groups that don’t agree with some politicians. What is wrong with lowering corporate taxes? Look at what Exxon just did. They are bringing 45000 new jobs to America, they are leading the way to making us energy independent. What is wrong with America becoming energy independent?

    1. FireBaron March 8, 2017

      Fun, what about the 6 years that the GOP was in charge of both houses and only delivered “repeal” proposals? Not a single “replace” option came out. Why? Because they would rather have said, “We tried, but the President kept vetoing it.” than “We have this proposal to replace what you have. What do you think of it?” Mainly because they did NOT have anything to replace it. So forget about Reid. The actual culprit was “Old Prune Face” and his failure to deliver a replacement.

      1. itsfun March 8, 2017

        The Republicans did deliver repeal only. They should have had a replacement plan. You and I both know that Obama would have had nothing to do with a alternate plan. The Republican plans were never allowed out of committee by the Democratic controlled Senate and House when the ACA was passed. Dirty Harry never allowed any Republican plan to get out of any committee. Now a new plan has been delivered and we will watch not one Democrat vote for it. Its a shame that healthcare for Americans is now nothing more than a political ball for the Republicans and Democrats to pass around.

  5. Martha Bartha March 8, 2017

    They know what they’re doing. As long as they can get richer, they’ll do it. Even go to war!


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