The easiest way to understand the GOP’s just unveiled Pledge to America is to understand the commandment “Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness.” Apparently John Boehner and his GOP associates do not think their professed stewardship of Christian values includes abiding by that commandment or, for that matter, the commandment to “love thy neighbor as thyself.”
The GOP pledges to “create jobs, end economic uncertainty, and make America more competitive.” But they also promise to freeze government jobs—except in defense and security—thereby killing jobs in the sector that is doing the most hiring right now.
Equally neighborly is the promise to mothball any funds in the stimulus bill that have not already been spent. That translates into economic uncertainty for all those for whom the stimulus money means continued employment, continued spending by working families and continued stimulation of the economy.
Democrats want the tax breaks given to those earning more than $250,000 a year to expire while keeping relief for the middle-class and real small business owners (not the tiny percentage of super wealthy “small business owners” the GOP seems to socialize with). Feeling the pain of the wealthy, the Republicans, however, pledge to make the Bush-era tax cuts permanent. We know from independent analysis that the GOP pledge to keep tax breaks for the rich will add $4 trillion to the deficit over 10 years. But perhaps there is a certain kind of Christian virtue in showing the love to your wealthy neighbors because the less affluent middle class or the poor struggling to make ends meet at the other end of town are just not visible to you. Lest the obvious pass unnoticed (as it seems to in a political climate in which the most preposterous distortions of truth are discussed as if they merited serious attention for something other than the fact that they are lies), Speaker Nancy Pelosi has pointed out the dissonance between the Republican leaders’ claim to be pro-small business and their almost unanimous vote against the small business lending bill.
Perhaps one of the most un-Christian elements of the GOP document is the pledge to repeal and replace healthcare reform. Commenting on the GOP plan to repeal and replace, Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Chairman Pete Stark (D-CA) said: “These protections stop the worst discriminatory policies by insurance companies, and increase people’s security in their health plans. The Republican plan to repeal is nothing more than a pledge to health insurance companies, not the American people.”
- Your health coverage cannot be arbitrarily cancelled if you become sick;
- Your child cannot be denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition;
- Your child up to age 26 can stay on your health plan;
- Your health plan cannot put a lifetime limit on your health coverage;
- Your health plan’s annual limits are phased out over three years.
If you are purchasing a new plan, you will have the following additional protections:
- You have the right to vital preventive services without deductible or co-payments;
- You have the right to both an internal and external appeal;
- You have the right to choose your own doctor;
- You have the right to access to out-of-network emergency room care at in-network cost-sharing rates.
Apparently rolling back these protections is integral to the pledge just made by the GOP to “dedicate ourselves to the task of reconnecting our highest aspirations to the permanent truths of our founding by keeping faith with the values our nation was founded on, the principles we stand for, and the priorities of our people.”
Voters have as clear a statement of what the GOP really means by American values in the Pledge as they could possibly get. No media spin, there to read in print and completely unapologetic. Oh, also clearly at odds with any version of the tenets of Christianity.