The Senate version of Trumpcare is nasty and cruel. It can't be called anything else. Then why, Paul Krugman asks, do the Republicans persist on pushing it? The answer, he writes, goes all the way back to Ronald Reagan:
One way to understand this ugly health plan is that Republicans, through their political opportunism and dishonesty, boxed themselves into a position that makes them seem cruel and immoral — because they are.
This story began with a politically convenient lie — the pretense, going all the way back to Ronald Reagan, that social safety net programs just reward lazy people who don’t want to work. And we all know which people in particular were supposed to be on the take.
Now, this was never true, and in an era of rising inequality and declining traditional industries, some of the biggest beneficiaries of these safety net programs are members of the Trump-supporting white working class. But the modern G.O.P. basically consists of career apparatchiks who live in an intellectual bubble, and those Reagan-era stereotypes still dominate their picture of struggling Americans.
Or to put it another way, Republicans start from a sort of baseline of cruelty toward the less fortunate, of hostility toward anything that protects families against catastrophe.
In this sense there’s nothing new about their health plan. What it does — punish the poor and working class, cut taxes on the rich — is what every major G.O.P. policy proposal does. The only difference is that this time it’s all out in the open.
The Republicans are stuck in the "80's, when Reagan savaged welfare queens. Globalization has left millions of Americans dependent on government welfare programs. And -- somehow -- the Republican Party missed that development.
They've been asleep for a long time.
Image: Plays For Young Audiences