Vote ’22: Part 1!

It’s time to Break It Down!

As per usual, there is a cornucopia of topics worthy of elevating to this space today. Mass shootings continue, unabated. The January 6 Committee is interviewing a series of high-profile Trump Lieutenants. The Justice Department is battling heroically to overcome the hedge of protection formed by the privilege barrier protecting Trump’s top attorneys from providing additional testimony. Ukraine alleges that Putin may be contemplating the use of a dirty bomb. President Biden issued a sharply worded warning against that possibility. Inflation rages. Interest rates are rising. Ye appears to be off his meds. Herschel is still Herschel. Covid-19 is still here.

In my humble opinion, while those items comprise a formidable Top 10, in the near term, none of them is more important than the need to be registered, and to exercise your franchise. Election Day is November 8; Early Voting has commenced in most states that allow it. I will use my voice, and this platform this week and next, to encourage you to attend to your civic duty.

Elections are always partisan matters. This one is no exception. The GOP will Biden-bash and tell you inflation and crime are what bedevil us, and…since Joe’s in charge, it’s his fault. Moreover, they will tell you, they and their largely Trumpian ways are the bromide for what ails us. Don’t fall for the okie-doke. They are not.    

Yes, inflation is soaring…worldwide, fueled significantly by the war in Ukraine, the global pandemic, and supply chain disruption. Look around the globe. 

Crime is out of control in Blue cities and states…they will tell you. Not so fast. In a new study from the center-left think tank Third Way, research shows that states won by Trump in 2020 have higher murder rates than those carried by Biden. The highest murder rates, the study found, are often in conservative, rural states. According to the study, murder rates in the 25 states Trump carried in 2020 are 40% higher overall than in the states Biden won. The analysis was based on 2020 data because 2021 data was not yet available.

The current unemployment rate is 3.5% – a 50-year low. There have been 10 million jobs created, including almost 700,000 manufacturing jobs during Biden’s first two years in office, and there are still 3 months for which the numbers haven’t been tabulated and two months left in the year.

Without a doubt, there is work to be done. Democrats are doing that work. They passed legislation, in some cases, without a single Republican vote (just as they did with Obamacare in the previous Democratic administration), including the Inflation Reduction Act, to lock in lower health care premiums for 13 million Americans and lower prescription drug prices for seniors. 

Partly because of the administration’s actions – including a historic release from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve – gas prices are decreasing. They’re down $1.20 since their peak this summer and just this week they fell another 10 cents.  That’s adding up to real savings for families. Republicans will tell you gas was much lower during Trump’s term. What they will not tell you is, gas was low because of the pandemic lock downs (incidentally, for which they blamed Democrats), and they howled non-stop about how the low prices were hurting businesses. All of that may be true, but d… it, you can’t have it both ways. You can’t complain about it in real time and try to credit Trump for it now. That is, not unless you are now, in retrospect, willing to blame his irrational behavior for making the effects of the pandemic worse. (That did happen).

I didn’t think so!

However, while there is progress, the advances are is at risk. In our vote, Americans face a choice. One that augurs two vastly different visions for America.

As President Biden said of the GOP, “Republican members of Congress are doubling down on mega, MAGA trickle-down economics that benefit the wealthy and big corporations. They’ve laid their plan out very clearly. It would raise your costs and make inflation worse.” 

The Biden administration gave Medicare the authority and flexibility to negotiate lower drug prices. Out-of-pocket prescription drug costs were capped at $2,000 a year for seniors and seniors’ monthly insulin payments were capped at $35 a month. Big Pharma and scores of lobbyists spent hundreds of millions of dollars trying to prevent health care savings for Americans.

Many Republicans in Congress are calling to roll back these provisions that lower prescription drug costs – some of which take effect in January. That means the $2,000 cap on prescription drugs for seniors would be gone. The $35-a-month cap on insulin for seniors would be gone. The average savings on health care premiums of $800 a year for millions of Americans would be gone. Republicans would increase those everyday costs. 

Dems are requiring the biggest corporations begin to pay their fair share in taxes. In 2020, 55 of the wealthiest corporations in America paid zero dollars in federal income tax. No longer. President Biden signed into law a 15% corporate minimum tax. And no one earning less than $400,000 a year will pay more in federal taxes.

The Republican plan is to repeal the 15% corporate minimum tax and extend the Trump tax giveaway for the wealthy and large corporations. That would add $3 trillion over 10 years to the deficit and mean an average tax cut of more than $100,000 for the top 0.1% – those earning more than $4 million. 

Republicans plan to cut taxes for the wealthy, and some aim to cut Social Security and Medicare for seniors. Rick Scott, the Senator from Florida who is in charge of electing Republicans, has a plan requiring Congress to vote every five years on keeping, cutting or eliminating Social Security and Medicare. Senator Ron Johnson from Wisconsin has proposed putting Social Security and Medicare on the chopping block every single year.

Republicans have even said that if they win control of Congress they may refuse to raise the debt limit and force our country into default unless we yield to their demands to cut Social Security and Medicare.

You are faced with a choice. Vote for Democrats and protect Social Security and Medicare. 

It should be easier, not more difficult, for hard-working Americans to get by. Biden acted to ease the burden of student debt for families recovering from the pandemic. Republicans criticized the move, of course, but it helps working- and middle-class Americans as they recover from the pandemic. GOP criticism was especially tone deaf, considering those same Republican officials voted for a $2 trillion tax giveaway that mainly benefitted wealthy Americans and the biggest corporations.

Many Republicans in Congress want to pass a national ban on abortion. Biden would veto it, but he needs more Dems, and to retain both Houses of Congress. In a best-case scenario, Dems would codify Roe v. Wade in January.

Democracy in America is being tested. “Nothing about democracy is guaranteed. You have to defend it. Protect it. Choose it.” 

Joe Biden is confident that, just as they did in 2020, the American people will again vote in record numbers and make it clear that democracy is a value that both defines us and unites us as Americans. I, on the other hand, am not so sure.

I do however concur, the stakes couldn’t be higher; the choice couldn’t be clearer. 

Tuesday after next, the American people will decide whether we keep moving forward or go backward…”Vote ’22: Part 1!”

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the linkhttp://thesphinxofcharlotte.comFind a new post each Wednesday.

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