Monday, June 18, 2018
Opinion

What a President Santorum looks like

Lately, we've been hearing a lot about what Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum has not been saying.

For instance, Santorum says he was not comparing President Barack Obama with Hitler when he told an audience last week in Georgia that what's at stake in the coming election is analogous to the Nazi threat during World War II. Santorum warned that America initially stood by while Britain was being bombed by the Nazis, because Americans thought: " 'He's a nice guy. It won't be near as bad as what we think.' "

Santorum also denies questioning Obama's Christianity during a campaign stop in Ohio when he said the president's agenda is about some "phony theology" not "based on the Bible." Santorum later clarified he was referring to Obama's environmental world view "that elevates the Earth above man."

Apparently concern over the planet's health and dwindling resources is an affront to the Bible.

But rather than focus on what Santorum has not been saying, let's look at some of the candidate's policy positions. No gray area here. These are the stated policy priorities of a President Santorum.

Advocate for a Personhood Amendment:

Santorum is well known for being opposed to artificial birth control because it separates procreation from sex. In speeches the candidate is nonetheless reassuring that he won't try to impose this view through law. Except that Santorum supports passage of a "Personhood Amendment" to the U.S. Constitution that would grant embryos 14th Amendment rights upon conception. (He's signed a pledge to that effect.) The amendment would make IUDs and some oral contraception illegal, a prospect so extreme that even voters in Mississippi voted it down.

Ban Federal Funding for Embryonic Stem Cell Research:

Naturally since Santorum thinks embryos are full legal persons he objects to scientific research using embryonic stem cells. It doesn't matter that the cells are donated with consent of the donor from in vitro fertilization clinics. Nor does it matter that the highly promising research might lead to medical advances in treating Parkinson's disease, diabetes, traumatic spinal cord injury, heart disease, and vision and hearing loss. Theology doesn't bend for science.

Reduce Capital Gains and Dividend Taxes:

It isn't enough that Mitt Romney already pays a lower tax rate on his millions in investment wealth than many middle-class families pay on their wages. Santorum wants to give Romney a nice tax cut. Santorum would lower capital gains and dividend taxes to 12 percent from the current 15 percent. He also would lower the highest marginal tax rate to 28 percent from the current 35 percent, ensuring that the tax code is less progressive and even friendlier to the top 1 percent. Oh, and no estate tax.

It's good to be rich.

Adopt the Ryan Approach to Medicare:

Now that the government has been starved of revenue, let's turn to ways Santorum would economize. Santorum says he would implement the Medicare reforms of U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan. The idea is to turn Medicare into a "premium support" program. Seniors would choose a private health insurer and the government would subsidize the cost. But since increases in medical inflation would rise faster than the premium support offered, the Medicare voucher would be worth less with each passing year. Call it the incredible shrinking benefit.

Also, Santorum would grind "Obamacare" under the heel of his shoe and replace it with a "market-driven" approach, reducing health care costs through "competition." Because that's worked so well up till now.

Goodness, I'm almost out of room and I still haven't gotten to Santorum's plan to eliminate funding for implementation of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, slash the Environmental Protection Agency's budget, means test Social Security, freeze spending on food stamps and abolish the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Santorum says he's "Restoring America's Greatness." But in truth he's calling for wider income inequality, cowboy capitalism, a shredded social safety net, a degraded natural environment and theocratic mandates. Once again, he doesn't know what he's saying.

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