Texas Senator Ted Cruz is about to announce his candidacy for the 2016 presidential campaign. What would his presidency look like, if he were elected? “Mr. Cruz has also begun championing a message of economic populism,” said the NYTimes on his announcement of candidacy, “denouncing income inequality and borrowing the “two Americas” metaphor used most famously by former Senator John Edwards in two unsuccessful campaigns for the Democratic presidential nomination.”
Let’s start with his silliest proposal to abolish the IRS. It tells us how he really views income inequality. There would then be no means to collect the taxes that pay his Senator salary. So he would have to work for nothing. Is that how he will tackle the scourge of income inequality afflicting those Americans that work for little or nothing?
We also know what his presidency might look like from another far right Tea Party favorite and potential candidate’s agenda; Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Walker’s first priority has been to downgrade union organizing and education funding in Wisconsin, in order to deprive Democrats of union support, as well as dumb down his own electorate. The result has been the lowest job creation and growth rates of all neighboring states.
Senator Cruz’s programs would have a similar result—would in fact increase income inequality—as he has opposed every economic program that would better ordinary Americans’ lives, including raising the minimum wage. “If you raise the minimum wage, the inevitable effect will be, number one, young people will lose their jobs or not be able to get their first jobs,” he said in 2013 in reaction to President Obama’s inauguration speech that included a call to raise the national minimum wage to $9 per hour.
But history has shown just the opposite effect. Where ever the minimum wage has been raised—such as in Seattle, Washington where it is $15/hr., or the state of Minnesota, where it will be $9.50/hour for large employers in 2016, employment is thriving. Seattle’s unemployment rate is now under 5 percent, and Minnesota’s unemployment rate has dropped to 3.6 percent, the lowest in 13 years.
He also opposes any climate change legislation that would reduce our dependence on carbon-creating fossil fuels, including his support of the Keystone XL Pipeline, and more offshore oil drilling. Yet even the Pentagon has documented the extreme economic costs, including future wars, of ignoring the effects of Global Warming.
And how about his call for greater liberty? He also opposes all forms of amnesty for Illegals, or ‘undocumented’ immigrants, though he’s the son of a Cuban-born immigrant. This would greatly restrict the freedom of those immigrants to become American citizens, of course.
Cruz has particularly stressed his opposition to President Obama’s executive actions on immigration, said the PBS Newshour. The Texas senator filed a bill blocking the president’s actions, which allow more undocumented residents to gain legal status, including the administration’s waivers for young people brought to the U.S. as children. Cruz argues that those actions encouraged increased illegal immigration.
And how about his call to dissolve the Affordable Care Act? Killing Obamacare would increase the poverty of the poorest and sickest among US that cannot afford, or would be ineligible for private health care insurance.
No, Senator Cruz’s presidency would neither create more liberty, nor better the lives of the poorest that suffer most from income inequality. Those liberties have been under steady assault by Tea Party members, in particular, with their no compromise positions on even the most basic poverty alleviating programs.
So his words don’t match his actions. Isn’t that called pandering, when a politician will say anything to win votes?
Harlan Green © 2015
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