First You Got Suckered by the Republicans. Then Sucker Punched.

Perhaps you voted for Donald Trump because he seemed like a successful businessman. He lived in a gold tower. Traveled on a personal jet with beautiful people. Owned a luxurious resort in Florida. You believed his promises on the campaign trail. He said the federal government should be run like a business — and he was the only person who could make America great again.

Or maybe you voted for Eric Greitens because he was a former Navy SEAL. You thought he had moral rectitude. You believed his promises when he vowed to clean up the graft in Jefferson City and restore ethics in the state capitol. He’d make Missouri great again.

So you cast your votes for them and all the down-ballot Republicans in Missouri. They said they were working for you. They said you mattered. They said they were going to make it possible for you to get ahead.

But then you discovered a painful truth: You got suckered. Not only did the Republicans not deliver on their promises, it turns out they didn’t even believe their promises.

And then, to make matters even worse, you got sucker punched — that punch to the head you didn’t see coming and couldn’t prepare for. The punch that really hurt.

You discovered the Republicans weren’t working to make your life better in any way. They were actually working to make it harder. Much harder. They would take from you the things that mattered most — healthcare, education, improvements to your community, financial stability, clean water and air, social services, and more. They’d take tax money — your tax money! — and give it to their wealthy friends. On almost every issue, the Republicans gave you a one-two combination that has knocked you to the mat.

How? Here’s how:

Healthcare:

Suckered: Trump and the Republicans promised a plan better than Obamacare. “We’ll have better healthcare for all at far less cost.”

Punched: Under Republican rule, Missouri public health programs have fared badly. We’re among the lowest in public health funding, among the worst in providing mental health care to our citizens, in the bottom third of providing healthcare to women, and we rank #42 out of 50 states for creating a healthy lifestyle.1

Now comes the Republican’s American Healthcare Act (AHCA). If enacted, 350,000 Missourians will lose their health insurance. The rest of us will pay higher premiums and higher deductibles while receiving less in services. The AHCA will kill nearly 1 million jobs nationwide. It will close hospitals. And it will provide a massive tax cut to the top 1%.2

It gets worse.

For purely ideological reasons, Missouri Republicans chose not to expand Medicaid when it was offered to them. They thumbed their noses at expansion. “Who needs it?” they said. It turns out we needed it.

As a result, at least 3 Missouri hospitals3 have closed in the last few years and nursing homes have warned of closures to come. We lost out on $19 billion4 the federal government would have paid us to expand. Those dollars went to other states. We lost out on 24,000 jobs5 Medicaid expansion would have created for Missouri. And under the AHCA, more rural hospitals in Missouri will likely close. Your Republican Representatives in Congress and in the Missouri House and Senate have all signed on to this plan. When it takes effect, you’ll get sucker-punched once again.

Budget:

Suckered: Governor Greitens and the Republicans said tax cuts to the wealthy would create jobs for everyone.

Punched: Jobs? What jobs? Tax cuts in Missouri only made the wealthy even wealthier and the middle class poorer. Thanks to Greitens and the Republicans, you got kicked in the gut.

Because of Republican tax giveaways to the rich, Missouri now has $500 million less6 in its annual budget. The money that’s supposed to go to your kid’s school? Sorry. That went to some rich guys. The money that pays for pothole repair? Same rich guys. The money that keeps your local hospital open? Forget it. Those rich guys again. The Republicans took it from the people who need it most (you) and gave it to the people who need it least.

Was this just a big mistake on the part of Missouri Republicans? No. All they had to do was look at neighboring Kansas as an example of the folly of trickle-down tax cuts. Kansas’s economy has plunged under Republican Governor Sam Brownback’s tax cuts to the wealthy. Missouri Republicans saw what was happening and, inexplicably, still moved forward. And while that was happening, Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway said Missouri could lose another $3 billion over the next ten years because of Republican mismanagement of state tax credits.

On the budget shortfall, Eric Greitens said: “We’re left with two choices: Raise taxes or cut spending. I will not raise your taxes.”

Really? Greitens and the Republicans in the Missouri House and Senate will cut essential improvements and social services to 98% of Missourians because they won’t raise taxes on the top 2%? It’s clear that the Republicans are INCOMPETENT in financial management and CORRUPT in their unwillingness to develop a responsible and sensible tax policy.

Jobs:

Suckered:  Greitens promised good-paying jobs for Missourians. More jobs than ever.

Punched: Greitens and Missouri Republicans passed right-to-work, a union-busting measure that reduces wages across the state – and not just for unions.

Right to Work is a favorite of David Humphreys, the fat-cat owner of Joplin-based TAMKO building products who’s given $10+ million to your Republican legislators. Your GOP friends in Jeff City got nice contributions to their campaigns. And you? What did you get? You got the shaft. You now have the opportunity to work longer hours for less pay. Oh, and by the way, if you work for minimum wage in the City of St. Louis, you just took a pay cut. Greitens cancelled the pay raise to $10 per hour the City had approved a few months ago.

Ethics Reform:

Suckered: Greitens howled at Republican Reps and Senators who took campaign contributions.

Punched: Greitens, himself, has taken millions of dollars in untraceable dark money contributions from secret donors. Looking for an example of an ethics-challenged politician in Jefferson City? Meet Eric Greitens. He’s your poster boy.

Okay. You’ve Been Sucker Punched. What can you do?

Here’s what:

Get up. Get up off the mat. Get back on your feet. And get angry.

Take the fight to the Republicans. Get active. Run for office. Help someone run for office. Join any number of Democratic groups around the state. Join our grassroots program at StrongBlue and make a contribution.

StrongBlue and the Democratic Party are fighting hard to win back seats in the Missouri House and Senate. The ONLY way we’ll be successful is if you get involved and vote for Democratic candidates up and down the line.

In 2018, you can choose to vote Republican and get suckered again and again. Or you can choose to vote Democratic and punch back at the people who are dragging our state into the sewer. What’s it going to be? Are you going to lay down on the mat? Or get up and fight?

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Sources:

1 American Public Health Association

2 https://www.vox.com/2017/5/4/15544774/ahca-tax-cut

3 Parkland Health Center – Weber Road (Farmington), Sac-Osage Hospital (Osceola) and Southeast HEALTH Center of Reynolds County (Ellington)

4 http://www.urban.org/sites/default/files/publication/22816/413192-What-is-the-Result-of-States-Not-Expanding-Medicaid-.PDF

5 https://dmh.mo.gov/docs/opla/slulawmedicaidexpansionfaqs.pdf

6 http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/missouri-faces-dire-budget-hole-may-need-million-in-cuts/article_a1c1542c-fc7f-535b-8f96-0608f165a939.html

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