Monday, December 4, 2017

Stuck With The Tab

The New York Times on the tax bill:

With barely a vote to spare early Saturday morning, the Senate passed a tax bill confirming that the Republican leaders’ primary goal is to enrich the country’s elite at the expense of everybody else, including future generations who will end up bearing the cost. The approval of this looting of the public purse by corporations and the wealthy makes it a near certainty that President Trump will sign this or a similar bill into law in the coming days.

The bill is expected to add more than $1.4 trillion to the federal deficit over the next decade, a debt that will be paid by the poor and middle class in future tax increases and spending cuts to Medicare, Social Security and other government programs. Its modest tax cuts for the middle class disappear after eight years. And up to 13 million people stand to lose their health insurance because the bill makes a big change to the Affordable Care Act.

Yet Republicans somehow found a way to give a giant and permanent tax cut to corporations like Apple, General Electric and Goldman Sachs, saving those businesses tens of billions of dollars.

Because the Senate was rewriting its bill till the last minute, only the dealmakers themselves knew what the chamber voted on. There will, no doubt, be many unpleasant surprises as both houses work to pass final legislation for President Trump to sign.

The votes for the bill by Susan Collins of Maine and John McCain and Jeff Flake of Arizona were particularly disheartening. Ms. Collins, who helped sink an effort to effectively repeal the A.C.A. in September, blithely voted for a tax bill that will leave a gaping hole in that law by repealing its requirement that most people have insurance or pay a penalty. She traded away her vote for an inadequate deduction for property taxes and empty promises from Mr. Trump and the majority leader, Mitch McConnell, that they would help shore up the A.C.A., which they have repeatedly tried to sabotage. Mr. McCain, who previously voted against tax cuts in the Bush era because they were heavily tilted in favor of the rich rather than the middle class, seemed unconcerned that this bill was even worse in that regard. Then there is Mr. Flake, who has spoken powerfully against Mr. Trump and who is not seeking re-election. He folded on the basis of vague assurances about protecting the Dreamers, young undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children.

I’m not shocked or saddened that Sens. Collins, McCain, and Flake caved in on this.  It would have been an event if they hadn’t.  Why?  Because they’re Republicans and this is the kind of thing they do: talk like reasonable people in the face of madness and then go along with the madness for the sake of… what?  McCain and Flake aren’t running for re-election, and Ms. Collins is more than likely safe in her Maine seat.  They know that when the deficit soars, millions of people are without health insurance, and Social Security and Medicare get slashed because we just can’t afford to pay for them, not with all the money going to the rich, they will blame the Democrats for not being willing to come to the table and work with them on a bill that was being written as the votes were being cast.

That’s also what they’re going to tell the middle class Trump base who just got screwed with their pants on.

The only silver lining is that we can hope that this is the only piece of legislation that gets through Congress before the indictments and articles of impeachment get handed down.

One bark on “Stuck With The Tab

  1. There was some sort of deal for everyone. Susan Collins got a promise that Medicare wouldn’t be touched in Maine; Alaska’s Senator Merkowski (sp.?)was given the promise that drilling in the Arctic would be OK’ed, something she’s pushed for since she was elected. My own Senator Rob Portman was one of a gang of five who were tasked with smoozing reluctant members to vote “aye” which seemed to satisfy John McCain’s nitpicking about “proper order”. But don’t hold your breath on any chance of impeachment proceedings. Not going to happen with this Congress who find Trump a useful tool/fool. They’ll simply shrug off any findings of the Mueller commission as fake news.

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