Of Course Republicans Will Keep Letting Trump Slide

They'll line up and salute when the time comes.

BY CHARLES P. PIERCE

FEB 7, 2018

The president* certainly has a gift for staying in character. You have to give the man that. I expect his re-elect to produce an ad with him standing in a white uniform on a balcony, tossing pennies to the peasants. But as easily mockable as this proposal for a grand parade and military review is, it shouldn’t blind us to the very real damage this administration* is doing elsewhere. For example, as if John Kelly's remarks on DACA beneficiaries weren't proof enough, the administration* has made it pretty clear what its attitude is toward poor people who are too lazy - or, as it turns out, sick - to get off their asses and do something.

First, there is the concerted effort to turn Medicaid into a welfare program - first, by enacting work requirements for Medicaid recipients, and then to enact a lifetime limit on coverage. The folks at McClatchy have a good rundown of how these two things will work together to do to Medicaid what the 1996 welfare "reform" act did to Aid to Families With Dependent Children - essentially, to "welfare-ize" Medicaid as a prelude to changing the program utterly, or to eliminate it entirely.

Capping health care benefits - like federal welfare benefits - would be a first for Medicaid, the joint state-and-federal health plan for low-income and disabled Americans. If approved, the dramatic policy change would recast government-subsidized health coverage as temporary assistance by placing a limit on the number of months adults have access to Medicaid benefits. The move would continue the Trump administration's push to inject conservative policies into the Medicaid program through the use of federal waivers, which allow states more flexibility to create policies designed to promote personal and financial responsibility among enrollees.

First of all, who says that "enrollees" need their personal and financial responsibility "promoted"? The representatives of the most obviously self-indulgent wastrel ever to waddle through the White House? Please. And, as Ed Kilgore points out in New York, this plan will come with the added bonus of basically killing off the Medicaid expansion that came with the Affordable Care Act.

Not to be outdone, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, under the nepotistic, if barely distinguishable, leadership of Dr. Ben Carson, apparently wants in on this red-hot work-requirement action, too. From The Intercept:

This change would significantly impact those who rely on public housing and housing choice vouchers, often referred to as Section 8 in reference to Section 8 of the Housing Act. The news comes just weeks after the Trump administration announced that states could start imposing work requirements as a condition of Medicaid eligibility…if the draft's proposals are enacted, those families would have to pay the higher of two figures: Either 35 percent of their household's gross income, or 35 percent of what they earn from working 15 hours a week for four weeks at the federal minimum wage. A comment in the margins of the document notes that the latter would equal $152.25, something housing advocates say is effectively a new minimum rent floor.

Additionally, the draft legislation would allow public housing authorities to impose work requirements of up to 32 hours a week "per adult in the household who is not elderly or a person with disabilities." According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, more than half of all recipients who lived in subsidized housing in 2015 were elderly or disabled, and more than a quarter of all households had a working adult.

Suddenly, and again, the reasons why congressional Republicans are willing to let the president* run amuck in so many ways are very clear. While he's putting on his freak show that so entertains the rubes, and while everyone is amused by the contortions that the investigations of Russian ratfcking are putting him and his people through, in so many other ways, his administration* is modern conservative nirvana: dismantling the social safety net, knuckling the poor and infirm, destroying the administrative state, and making the lives of millions of voiceless people immeasurably worse while they still have the power to do so.

Of course they're letting him slide. They're getting everything they've wanted since the enactment of the New Deal. He's a dream come true. They'll line up and salute. I guarantee that.