Friday, March 19, 2010


You think Republicans in D.C. will be shy about getting rid of benefits from the health care bill if they seize power? They're doing that at the state level right now, in Arizona:

Arizona on Thursday became the first state to eliminate its Children's Health Insurance Program when Gov. Jan Brewer signed an austere budget that will leave nearly 47,000 low-income children without coverage.

... Ms. Brewer, a Republican, has warned that more cuts will be needed if voters do not approve a referendum in May to raise the sales tax by a penny for three years, to 6.6 cents per dollar.

... The Republican-controlled Legislature passed the budget last week, based largely on a proposal from the governor that included deep cuts to both health care and education. ...

There's a widespread belief on our side that if we can just pass a bill, all the rancor will dissipate and we'll all dance and sing and frolic in a lovely spirit of comity as we welcome the frisky new health care pony that we'll love to pieces and never, ever let anyone take away from us. Well, on the question of taking away benefits, Arizona Republicans don't seem to be hesitating one bit -- and as I poke around the Internet, I don't see any sign that doing this is regarded as political suicide for them. (The "political suicide" argument is the reason we're usually given for why the national GOP won't really go for repeal, isn't it?)

By the way, Governor Brewer is supporting a temporary increase in the sales tax -- a tax that hits the poor and middle class much harder than the well-to-do, because they need to use a much greater percentage of their money to buy necessities -- while apparently hedging on whether she'll support a package of tax cuts for business that's being proposed by the GOP-controlled legislature. Expect the D.C. Republicans to head in that direction as well if they gain control of one or both houses of Congress (and the White House in 2012).

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