To the editor: Let’s put aside any discussion of Trump. The Republican Party agenda consists of two main policy objectives: cutting taxes for the powerful and cutting or eliminating the role of government in our lives. Despite what they say, they don’t believe cutting taxes on the well-off reduces deficits. We face trillion dollar deficits. The goal is to starve government.

For the past two years with Republicans in complete control, they have cut tax rates mainly affecting the rich and corporations. Their stance on global warming is based on their protection of the profits of polluters. More money, they believe, secures more votes.

Republicans want to diminish the role of government in our lives. Look at what they do. They tried to destroy Obamacare. They cut rules and regulations that protect our air and water. They succeeded in weakening or destroying the effectiveness of departments like the Consumer Protection Agency, environment and energy departments — even the IRS. They demonize intelligence agencies including the CIA and the FBI. They want to destroy support for public education. Their mantra is government and taxes are bad (and liberals are the enemy).

President George W. Bush’s effort to make reform of Social Security the signature issue of his second term was quickly rebuffed for the same reasons Social Security and other government programs survive. People of various needs want them, like them and depend on them. The recent government shutdown shows the vital role government plays in many lives. Because of their popularity, Republicans cannot attack programs directly so their answer is to say we cannot afford them.

Republicans rely on wedge issues like guns, God and abortion. Sensible gun laws, separating religion from government and women’s rights are used to attract single issue voters and divert attention away from other important problems. They need an antagonist to justify their existence so they demonize liberals as immoral agents of evil. They want to arouse resentment for anyone that does not agree with them. They go so far as to criticize the pope when he says build bridges, not walls.

The focus of any agenda should be on an efficient government and how much it should be involved in programs that help solve problems.

Jack Strausser

Elysburg

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