Not only have congressional Republicans committed to cutting basic services like food stamps and threatened a government shutdown to stop the funding of health care services to the most vulnerable among us, but they have also shown little inclination to end the automatic budget cut known as sequestration.
This means that in addition to the jobs lost during the recession and since the sequester first took effect, an additional estimated 900,000 jobs could be lost in the coming year. That would only exacerbate the poverty levels in America and devastate the communities now struggling to stay afloat.
Keep in mind that the GOP, its Tea Party Caucus and House Speaker John Boehner have refused to bring President Obama’s American Jobs Act to the House floor for a simple vote. That alone, with its investments in education and infrastructure spending, could have created an additional 2 million jobs, according to initial reports from the Congressional Budget Office.
Republicans have become either so deluded or so unhinged that in their effort to undermine the legacy of this first African-American president, they have, in fact, waged war on their most loyal base supporters.
Media reports have focused on the fact that the House bill is dead on arrival in the Senate and would never be signed into law by the president, which is true. But food stamp recipients also face all-but-certain cuts starting Nov. 1 because a temporary boost from the 2009 Recovery Act is set to expire.
All this as the nation watches as carnival barkers in the GOP threaten a government shutdown and vow to fight Obama on increasing the debt limit, which places the full faith and credit of the United States in jeopardy.
It seems that Republicans are happy to play the fiddle as Washington burns. And their response to the poor, the hungry and needy is “Eat cake.”
Edward Wyckoff Williams is a contributing editor at The Root. He is a columnist and political analyst, appearing on Al-Jazeera, MSNBC, ABC, CBS Washington and national syndicated radio. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.