Education systems are getting slashed once again with new 4 percent cuts, and a bill is advancing in the legislature that would remove 111,000 people from the state’s Medicaid program, but it’s not conservative enough for The Oklahoman editorial board.
BREAKING: 20 million more Americans now know the security of health insurance thanks to the Affordable Care Act. pic.twitter.com/uNUXiq4T8g
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) March 3, 2016
In its Oklahoma ScissorTales series Saturday, the editorial board gives presidential Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders a backhanded complimented for at least speaking up forcefully as an “avowed socialist” in “seeking new recruits” after his victory here in the primary Tuesday. The mini-editorial makes the silly point that conservatives shouldn’t be afraid to speak up either. Here’s the gist:
If Sanders — an avowed socialist — isn’t afraid of spreading his message and seeking new recruits, then why do so many Republicans in the Oklahoma Legislature appear frightened at the thought of arguing for conservative policies that attract broad support in a very conservative state? Instead of withdrawing into their shells, more Republicans should adopt Sanders’ boldness and confidence to advance a conservative message.
That should make any reasonable person roll their eyes and wince if not cry. The state is drowning in a cesspool of conservative ideology right now, and The Oklahoman has the audacity to argue Republicans are “withdrawing in their shells.” It has to be mockery, right? Haven’t all the recent tax cuts for the wealthy here and the tax breaks for corporations been a perfect implementation of the GOP-inspired starve-the-beast ideology? That’s when you starve the government of needed funds, and then hand over all control of all aspects of American life from education to health care to correctional systems to the corporations and the pseudo-aristocracy here.
That doesn’t even take in consideration the dozens of anti-gay and anti-abortion and anti-education legislation presented through the years here in the Oklahoma Legislature, all based on Republican orthodoxy.
What’s needed in Oklahoma government right now, and I know this is obvious to my progressive readers, are rollbacks of senseless tax cuts and tax breaks, use of the state’s Rainy Day Fund, and the acceptance of new available Medicaid dollars under the Affordable Care Act. That’s just for starters. In essence, Republicans need to adopt more progressive ideas just to keep the state viable over the next two or three years if fossil fuel prices remain as low as predicted.
Oklahoma faces a staggering $1.3 billion shortfall next fiscal year, and is currently in a revenue failure. Agencies and schools face staggering cuts and are cutting staff. We have a major teacher shortage that is sure to grow as educators flee other states as the new class of refugees created by conservative dogma here. Meanwhile, the worldwide fossil fuel glut created by our state’s top frackers—most of them as right-wing as you can get—means massive layoffs in the oil and gas industry, dropping tax revenue even more and creating another class of refugees caught up in the conservative folly.
Nothing, however, defines the conservative triumph here quite like this: The Oklahoma House, without a single Democratic vote, passed House Bill 2665 Thursday that would prevent any “able bodied” person under 65 from receiving Medicaid benefits in the state. These are people on SoonerCare making $9,500 or less a year. The bill, if eventually signed into law, would mean 111,000 people—77,000 are women—would be left without some form of reliable health care here.
If taking away health care from single mothers isn’t enough of a conservative and Republican message for The Oklahoman editorial board, then what is? Oklahoma is facing a 1980s-like bust accelerated by reckless conservative dogma, and no one, no one, except those at the very top of the income bracket here is going to go unscathed in one way or another.
— Tulsa World (@tulsaworld) March 3, 2016