Michael Steele thinks he's going to blow us away with a new argument against same-sex marriage that pretty much amounts to "Equal pay for equal work is too expensive, so we have to preserve a two-tier system of benefits distribution."
Republicans can reach a broader base by recasting gay marriage as an issue that could dent pocketbooks as small businesses spend more on health care and other benefits, GOP Chairman Michael Steele said Saturday.[...]
"Now all of a sudden I've got someone who wasn't a spouse before, that I had no responsibility for, who is now getting claimed as a spouse that I now have financial responsibility for," Steele told Republicans at the state convention in traditionally conservative Georgia. "So how do I pay for that? Who pays for that? You just cost me money."
Um, "recasting"? They've been saying that equal rights are too expensive ever since this country began. And the GOP's main frame against universal health care is that it'll cost too much.
I'd probably have been a bit more impressed if Michael Steele were willing to recast the war in Iraq, back in 2002 and 2003, as too big of an expense for taxpayers to burden. Funny how health care for a few same-sex partners who don't currently have health care to people whose health care is covered by their employer is the straw that'll break the camel's back, not, you know, the cost of a 6+ year invasion and reconstruction of two countries.
Not only is every single rights expansion and move towards equal pay and the entire debate about providing people health care always, always, always "recast" as a fiscal conservative issue, so are the main LGBT rights issues. ENDA is a good example, as well as funding to fight HIV, from the 80's to today. Even Mike Huckabee was saying that back in 1992, and he definitely wasn't the first.
Republicans and other conservatives have been using the "saving taxpayer money" argument to oppose anything remotely beneficial to real people for centuries now. There's nothing new or creative about that. He got the idea from a college Republican, for crying out loud.
Too bad GWB blew that one. After being told since the New Deal that America just doesn't have enough money for any good projects, he goes and starts two huge wars, gives major tax breaks to the wealthy, and bails out banks, their shareholders, and their counterparties to the tune of trillions of dollars. People are on to their little game.
And, I should point out, that argument might be moot by the end of the summer if Congress passes a bill to create a public option for health care. He's right, small businesses shouldn't have to provide health care for employees same-sex partners: the government should.
(I also feel the need to point out that if this becomes a major talking point, which I doubt it will, at least we know now that it's origin wasn't small businesses in Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut, and Iowa complaining about the burden - it was just a cynical attempt to grab more votes.)