The Republicans’ proposed tax legislation–whether the House or Senate version–is despicable. It will exacerbate the already devastating income and wealth inequality in this country, leave the federal government without adequate funds for real infrastructure and social safety net needs, and place in almost inviolable power the wealthiest oligarchs of the country (and even the good ones exert a power that no one should possess in a democracy).
My previous posts on this so-called “tax reform” “simplification” package (it is neither) have outlined a number of pernicious provisions in the bills. There are a few I haven’t mentioned, such as the likely inclusion of taxation of tuition benefits to undergraduate and graduate students. That will have an immediate impact on education and on basic scientific research. Not surprising, given Paul Ryan, Donald Trump, and Mitch McConnell’s aversion to fact-based science and intellectuals, but nonetheless devastatingly harmful to the country in loss of prestige for our universities, loss of the top minds to other countries, and loss of entrepreneurial and innovational thinking that will hamstring commerce and productivity. Another is the “new” talk in the House of lowering the tax rate on the weathiest bracket by as much as two and a half percentage points–adding to the largesse for the wealthy otherwise larding the legislation and making it even more obvious that the only Americans the Republican Party sees itself as serving are those with at least millions and probably billions of net worth. The Republican charade of right-wing “alternative facts” (shown most clearly by the Treasury Secretary’s inability to provide a supported rationale for the absurd corporate and oligarch-favoring tax cuts) would have a destructive impact on the entire U.S. economy. And it is not simplification–it is a huge complication that is ripe for tax abusers to abuse the complicated categories of differently taxed income.
But today there is a ray of hope that this tax scam might just not get passed –or might get turned around very quickly if it does get passed. Doug Jones’ defeat of constitutional scofflaw and likely multiple-sexual-predator Roy Moore should cause any thinking Republican in the House and Senate to take a step back and listen to the views of constituents across the country, where dislike of this tax legislation is the majority view. The #MeToo movement and its impact on powerful media and other industry harassers, together with the fact that Democrats and Independents got out the vote in Alabama and defeated Roy Moore — and another 20,000 likely lifelong Republicans decided to write-in another Republican name other than Roy Moore–should tell current GOP congresspeople that “the times they are a changin’ “. Reaganomics–trickle-down, supply-side tax policies–don’t work. Kansas proved that, if anybody actually had any doubt before. If the Republican majorities in the House and Senate pass this ” Class War” tax legislation–written and argued and honed to a tee to serve the wealthiest multinational corporations and individual campaign donors while stabbing the middle and low-income classes in the back–they will potentially pay a big price at the polls in 2018 and 2020. They will pay that price because their tax legislation will send the U.S. economy into another tailspin that will lead to cuts in the standard of living of ordinary people so people like the Trumps can have even more gaudy gold faucets in their many mansions.
I call on everyone who can to write and call Jeff Flake (Arizona)–ask him to stand on principle and vote against the end of the Obamacare mandate, the giveaway to the wealthy and big corporations, the ridiculous scammable complication of different rates for the same income depending on what job the taxpayer worked at or whether the taxpayer owned the business or was an employee. Ask him to vote down this despicable tax legislation for the good of the country and ALL the people. Do the same for Susan Collins (Maine), who already has expressed real concerns about the impact of the elimination of the health insurance mandate. Even her ‘bargained for’ (but not actually promised) two-year patch wouldn’t do much good: millions of people, the most vulnerable amongst us, will lose health insurance and therefore health care if this tax legislation passes. And let Bob Corker (Tennessee) know how much we all respect him for actually standing firm against this tax legislation travesty–and ask him to stand even taller by resisting the pleas to compromise principles ‘just to get a win for Trump’. Let’s push our Senators and Representatives to stand tall for a sustainable economy based on fiscal responsibility (don’t create a $1.5 trillion dollar deficit) and distributive justice (don’t push the middle class into dead-end living conditions) and end the giveaways to the wealthy oligarchs.
I predict that if this bill passes the expected accounting for the Republican Party will come even sooner and with even more strength against those who supported Trump’s daily vitriol of falsehoods and the Trump Administration’s filling the DC swamp with those who put pollution, despoiling the environment, destruction of the wilderness and national public lands foremost on their agenda.