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Have Our Elected Leaders Gone Insane?

By James Donahue

When Republicans began their curious refusal to approve various important bills moving through the House and Senate and got labeled “the party of NO,” we thought perhaps it was sour grapes because voters had thrown them out of power in 2000 elections.

But their stubborn refusal to approve key appropriations to extend unemployment insurance for the millions of unemployed workers, the plan to cut funding for food stamps, yet keep pouring billions of borrowed tax dollars into the Afghanistan war, has been making us think that something evil is controlling their minds.

The Arizona immigration issue has now stirred some of the GOP legislators to propose abolishing the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, a move that not only is probably highly improbable to accomplish, but flat out silly.

That amendment, adopted in 1868 right after the Civil War, was designed to declare the children of former slaves natural born citizens. It was needed to overrule a Supreme Court decision of 1857 (Dred Scott V. Sandford) that held that blacks could not be citizens of the United States.

There is more to the Fourteenth Amendment than the declaration that any person born in the United States is automatically a U.S. citizen. It also establishes apportionment rules for establishing Senate and Representative districts, requires that candidates for elected office be at least 21 years of age, and that rules that candidates have never engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the nation. This language was designed to prohibit persons involved in rebelling against the union and starting the war from seeking national office.

The latest plan to cut billions in funding for food stamps could not come at a worse time for unemployed and out-of-work Americans. If ever there was a time when the food stamp program was needed, it is now with millions of people not only out of work, but many left homeless and depending on the food stamp program to keep them alive.

Without the food stamp program, we would be seeing long lines of people waiting for a free bowl of soup and perhaps a slice of bread at the Salvation Army posts or some other public service agency, as occurred during the Great Depression.

Cash strapped states have been lying off thousands of older workers in a quest to balance their budgets. A recent story in the Wall Street Journal noted that at least 10 states have voted to hold back pensions for state workers until they reach at least age 70, and some are pushing the age back into the 80s.

At a time when older workers are being forced into early retirement, it appears that they are now going to be penalized with reduced or held-up pension payments for going off the job early. And to make matters even more extreme, House Minority Leader John Boehner is now proposing that Social Security benefits for retired workers be pushed back from 65 to 70 years of age.

If the Republicans get their way, it looks as if the stage is being set for a lot of Americans to perish from hunger and homelessness after reaching age 55.

For the elected Republicans in both the U.S. House and Senate to deny assistance to so many struggling Americans during hard economic times brought on by bad legislative and administrative decisions of the past, shows both heartless and cruel intent.

That these same legislators, elected to represent the people in the districts they promised to serve, are denying help for the people in need, but fighting to extend the Bush imposed tax cuts for the rich after that ugly piece of legislation expires next year, shows clearly where their allegiance falls. Most of our Republican Senators are among those rich Americans who benefit from the Bush tax cuts. And you can bet that they are being well paid by the lobbyists representing the high paid CEO’s of the land who have soaked up the cash at the expense of the rest of us.