90 Million Eligible Americans Won't Vote: 18 Reasons Why They Should
updated Oct 19, 2012
NOTE: Since 'moderate Mitt' has appeared, suffering from 'Romnesia' it is time to update, reflecting Willard Romney's latest 'positons' that have not changed significantly in substance even though he has dressed them in slightly different rhetoric.
There are 90 million eligible Americans, who are not going to vote in this November's national elections for one reason or another. Some are fed up with the current two party system. Some think that politics has become too dirty, and they don't want to be involved. Some say that all the candidates are the same, some say that their vote doesn't mean anything, and some think that politics doesn't concern or affect them. This diary is for all of you because your vote does count, and the political party that gains power in this, perhaps the most important election in your lifetimes, will influence your life for decades to come. The list that I compiled demonstrates in detail exactly how each of your lives will be changed if the Republicans, and Willard Romney gain power.
But first a bit of background.
For those of you who think that politics doesn't matter in your lives I have one point to make. We all get old. There is currently no way around it. If you live in America, and you get old, there are two government programs that will affect your life in ways that you can't yet imagine, particularly if you are under 40, unless, of course, someone close to you is growing old. The first program is Medicare, and this program is currently fiscally sound until 2024 thanks in large part to the recent passage of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). By implementing about $716 billion in cost savings (over a ten year period) and redistributing the money to cover free preventive care and to close the donut hole, where seniors paid premium prices out of pocket for their prescriptions, the Obama administration has extended the solvency of Medicare until the year 2024. Both political parties agree that Medicare needs to be 'strengthened', but the method of 'strengthening' the program is in dispute (quotes for 'strengthening' because the Republican idea of 'strengthening' is synonymous with 'destroying').
The second large government program that will affect your lives is Social Security, a contract between the people and their government whereby you pay into your retirement account (with your employer matching your contribution), and the government guarantees that your retirement income is secure (with interest). Social Security is the most successful government program ever, and it does not contribute one penny to the national debt. In fact, the Social Security Trust Fund currently has a surplus of $2.7 trillion. The program just celebrated its 77th anniversary, and with very minor tweaking (raising the salary cap from $106,000 to $250,000) will be solvent for another 75 years.
When I was thirty years old, I simply knew that I would make so much money that Social Security wouldn't affect my life, one way or the other. Well, I did make a ton of money, and I also lost a ton of money. And guess what!?! That Social Security check every month like clockwork makes a much bigger difference than I ever thought it would. As for Medicare, I am extremely healthy. I eat super foods and avoid processed foods and refined sugar. I surf and mountain trail run every day, weather permitting, and the weather generally does cooperate here in sunny Hawaii. I haven't been sick one day since I began the alkaline diet six year ago (crosses fingers), so I haven't had to utilize my Medicare, yet. Social Security makes an automatic deduction each month to cover my Medicare insurance, so I am covered if I ever need it, and I know that I will at some point because I have watched my extended family age, some gracefully, some not. The point that I am making is that my healthcare is assured for the rest of my life without my doing anything except to (attempt to) stay healthy.
Which brings me to why your vote this November is the most important vote in your life...Republicans since Ronald Reagan have been pushing the country to the right, and now the party of Eisenhower serves the rich and powerful exclusively, leaving the poor and middle class to fend for themselves. That's their philosophy. They're proud of it. And this election cycle they are attempting to consolidate the impressive gains that they made under G.W. Bush, making America a corporatocracy, a functioning oligarchy, where the rich rule to the detriment of everyone else.
Disclaimer: Romney has said that he and Ryan agree nearly 100% on their respective budgets, but the Romney/Ryan budget intentionally lacks specifics, so I have extrapolated the findings of reputable, mostly non-partisan organizations to compose this list. If we wait for Romney to 'explain' or fill out the details of his budget plan, it will be November, and we, the voters will still be waiting...
Most of the time the damage done by Republicans isn't readily apparent, but this election is different. Republican policies will change your life dramatically. Your vote does count. Please use it, so that the following does not happen:
Some unpleasant things to contemplate if Romney/Ryan win in November:
If you are currently under 55, when you do apply for Medicare, you will be given a voucher that will be insufficient to cover your health insurance costs. Your out of pocket expenses for health insurance will cost up to an additional $6400 in your first year (as opposed to the roughly $1200 paid by current seniors). You will also be shopping for health insurance in the private insurance market each and every year until the year that you die. These amounts are also correct under Romney's 'revised' Medicare plan, and his 'revised' plan will also kill Medicare. It will just take a bit longer. By separating seniors into two groups, one healthy (where vouchers are economical) and the other unhealthy (where insurers will be reluctant to provide insurance due to pre-existing conditions or general unhealthiness), the premiums paid by seniors left in Medicare will dramatically increase, and the Medicare patient pool will shrink, rapidly causing insolvency. For Medicare to remain fiscally sound both healthy and unhealthy seniors must be included in the same patient pool. Talk about shopping for health insurance every year. How many octagenarians (80 year olds) and older do you know who can handle everyday finances?
Current Medicare recipients please note. An important part of this applies to you. When the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is repealed, you will be subject to the whims and avarice of the health insurance industry when you encounter pre-existing conditions, lifetime coverage caps, and unwarranted price increases. If you are currently on Medicare, the donut hole for prescription drugs will return, and your free preventive care (colonoscopies, mammograms, and annual checkups) will be discontinued, causing more expense for seniors already on Medicare. Your children over 18 will no longer be covered on your health insurance. Health insurance costs will spiral upward because there are no longer any built in cost controls. In addition, Federal Medicaid funds will ultimately be cut by 33% (or more), when the Romney/Ryan budget is extended, curtailing care to the poor and seniors, who are receiving nursing home or hospice care. (MEDICARE DOES NOT PAY FOR NURSING HOME CARE, except as applied to your annual deductible.). Most of the current recipients on Medicaid are seniors in nursing homes and hospice care. Did you know that good nursing home care costs roughly $15,000 per month?
The new, moderate Mitt has stated that he doesn't want politicians deciding women's health issues, and although this statement may be true, it is problematic because he is anti-abortion and anti-contraception. Willard knows that the Supreme Court justices that he will appoint will decide the issue, leaving him with clean hands. Roe v Wade will be overturned by an ultra-conservative Supreme Court, outlawing abortions and most likely also contraception because Romney/Ryan and the Republicans will continue moving our courts further to the right, and the current Republican controlled House has passed numerous bills to that effect. The religious right (an integral part of the Republican base) will emerge to (attempt to) force their brand of pseudo-Christianity on the rest of us, including our military where they are already firmly entrenched. Our children's textbooks will be rewritten to revise history and demonize science, substituting creationism for Darwin's theory of evolution. (See the Texas textbook controversy where the religious right took over the school boards.) Also thanks to blue aardvark for this excellent diary further expanding our knowledge of the anti-abortion sentiment demonstrated by Paul Ryan and the 112th Congress.
The Supreme Court will almost assuredly become ultra-conservative for the forseeable future, inevitably granting corporations more rights (Citizens United v FEC) while they take away yours. Since Justice Roberts became head magistrate on the SCOTUS the court has ruled in favor of corporations over people seventy per cent of the time as opposed to fifty percent over its long history. Did you know that on the political spectrum, there is Communism on the far left and fascism on the far right, where corporations become the government and run the show? (The definition of fascism.) Visualize a horizontal line with Communism at the far left and fascism at the far right. In the current political climate what we currently call liberal and progressive is at the center of the line, while Democrats and 'moderates' are right of center about one quarter of the way toward fascism. The current Republican Party leadership is right of center about three quarters of the way toward fascism with the radical fringe already well entrenched at the right end of the line in fascism. During the 1950s and 1960s, on a similar horizontal line Democrats, liberals and progressives were left of center about one quarter to one third toward Communism, moderates from both parties were at the center, and Republicans like Barry Goldwater were right of center about one quarter to one third toward fascism with the discredited ultra right wing John Birch Society at the far right end of the line, seeing Communist conspiracies behind every door while straddling fascism. With the current horizontal line today there is no balance. Everyone is either at the center or to the right of center. The American people rejected The John Birch Society in the sixties, partly because the last war against fascism was still visible in our rearview mirror, and partly because J.B.S. were bat shit crazy, but now the J.B.S. is in charge of the Republican Party. Consider which direction the country will move if these people take control.
If you earn less than $200,000 annually, your Federal taxes will inevitably increase between $1000-2000 when the Romney/Ryan budget is implemented. Now, moderate Mitt has claimed that he will give the middle class a tax cut, but his numbers do not add up. If every single deduction is removed, the total is $3.3 trillion. However, the net revenue loss of a 20% across the board tax cut is $4.8 trillion, leaving his plan over $1.5 trillion short of being revenue neutral. Remember, this is removing every single deduction, not the $17,000 or the $25,000 or the $50,000 allowance that he is proposing that taxpayers be allowed to keep. If Romney implements the deduction allowances, the revenue shortfall increases by roughly $1 trillion for every $25,000 allowed. So, if he gives tax cuts to everyone, then there will be a huge increase in the deficit. Republican presidents since Reagan have ignored the deficit once they gain power with Reagan tripling the deficit and G.W. Bush doubling it. Why should Republican Romney be any different? Arithmetic doesn't lie.
Corporate welfare (currently at $92 billion annually) will increase while the social safety net (currently at $59 billion annually) will be demolished to pay for the additional tax breaks for the rich. Food stamps that currently support 47 million Americans, federal aid to education, and food programs to feed poor children will be severely cut (if not eliminated altogether). Imagine what it would be like if government used tax revenue to benefit the people, not the corporations.
There will be another war, probably in the Middle East and probably with Iran (because Romney's neocon foreign policy advisors, most of whom worked in the G.W. Bush administration [17 of 25], like John Bolton, who was the U.N. Ambassador, are pressing for action in support of Israel as this is being written).
The Defense Budget that is already larger than the next seventeen countries combined will be increased by $2 trillion (that the Defense Dept. doesn't even want) over the next ten years to support Defense Contractors and war profiteers like Halliburton and Xe. And nowhere in the Romney/Ryan budget do they explain how they will pay for this Defense budget increase.
You will commute and travel on crumbling highways and unsafe bridges because infrastructure expenditures have been cut to the bone so that millionaires and billionaires (like Romney, Ryan, members of Congress, and their billionaire 'dark money' contributors) can have more tax cuts.
The EPA will be disabled, removing carbon dioxide from its regulatory purview, effectively crippling the agency to regulate the root cause of global warming, and the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts will be undone so that Romney and Ryan's big parasitic corporate contributors will get what they paid for to extract fossil fuels at the expense of everyone's health. The government, through the EPA has done numerous studies, reflecting the added health costs related to relaxing and/or eliminating the clean air and water restrictions which is probably the main reason that the big polluters (i.e. Koch Industries, one of the top ten polluters in the country) want to dismantle it.
Greenhouse gases pumped into the atmosphere will increase, not decrease, causing global warming to reach an irreversible tipping point. The Keystone X/L Pipeline will be built, causing what leading climate scientist, James Hansen calls, 'game over' with regard to man's efforts to halt or ameliorate climate change due to the negative effects of developing, transporting, and refining the tar sands oil.
Wall Street 'too large to fail' banks will be completely deregulated (Dodd - Frank repealed - Glass - Stegall only a distant memory), opening the 'grand casino' to use investors' money (i.e. ultimately taxpayers money) for gambling on derivatives and other contrived investment instruments that will inevitably cause the economy to fail as it did in 2007-09.
Unemployment will increase by roughly 4.1 million Americans in the first two years that the Romney/Ryan budget is implemented, according to Ethan Pollack at The Economic Policy Institute. Romney's claim that his budget will provide 12 million new jobs and cut the unemployment rate to 6.2% have been labelled “a fantasy” and “a mathematical impossibility” by Nobel Prize winning economist, Paul Krugman and Ezra Klein (with similar comments regarding Paul Ryan's budget).
Social Security will be privatized, implementing David Koch's plan when he ran for Vice President in 1980 of which Willard Romney and Paul Ryan are major proponents (as was G.W. Bush in 2005), giving the Wall Street casino control of your retirement savings. Hat tip to cc ( previous link) for his excellent diary.
More minorities, poor people and undocumented immigrants will be locked up, as they currently are in many red states, using the phony war on drugs as a Republican rationalization to support their 'prisons for profit' agenda.
Groups like ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) will be reinvigorated, writing legislation without transparency, in secret, directly by corporations for corporations, circumventing the democratic, legislative process.
Everything that isn't nailed down (and many things that are) will be 'profitized/privatized.' What many people don't understand is that, in general, public work projects cost more and are of higher quality than private sector projects due to higher construction standards. So, when special interests 'privatize' public projects, they are buying 'on the cheap.' In Wisconsin, for example, the Koch brothers with Governor Walker's help are taking advantage of a bad economy to line their own pockets.
Voter suppression and new Jim Crow laws will be passed to keep minorities from voting and thereby 'threatening' white folks.
If even half of the 90 million recalcitrant voters simply vote, there will be an end to ALL this Republican BS. Your vote does count because the Republicans are counting on you not to vote. Register to vote here and here. I have intentionally left off comparisons between the parties, focusing instead on Republican policies because I consider them the most egregious (my personal bias). After seeing moderate Mitt magically appear from nowhere, denying his previous policies and positions, we can add 'compulsive liar' to his abundant resume. Do we really want a compulsive liar, who will say anything to anyone just to get elected, as President of the United States? These are just a few of the negative consequences of electing Romney and Ryan. I am certain that there are more.