The following post, written by the Rev. Robert A. Franek, is a part of Politicus Policy Discussion, in which writers draw connections between real lives and public policy.
It is once again plug your nose week on Capitol Hill as House Republicans have released their tax bill with sweeping odious overhauls that steal away benefits for the poor and middle-class to pay for massive tax cuts for the most wealthy and largest corporations.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) declared, “The bill’s like a dead fish: The more it hangs out in the sunlight, the stinkier it gets. The more people learn about this bill, the less they’re going to like it.” This was after learning of a quiet revision on Friday by Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) that, “reduces the value of the tax cuts for ordinary Americans by $89 billion over 10 years compared with the legislation released with fanfare Thursday.”
In a press conference House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi blasted Republicans following the unveiling of their tax bill, “Get real. Don’t tell the middle class this is for them. You’ve set a banquet for the wealthy and corporate America and thrown a few crumbs to the middle class. It’s really making suckers of the American people.”
Without needing to get into the details of this bill Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) exposed the truth of who truly benefits from this tax bill. This is a $2 trillion give-away to giant banks like Wells Fargo, overseas investors, and multi-national companies. If Republicans truly cared about helping the middle-class and we truly have $2 trillion dollars to spend, Senator Warren offered some suggestions for what could be done with this same $2 trillion including: investing in our nation’s infrastructure, forgiving student loan debt, or writing a check to every American earning less than $200,000 for $17,000.
Congressional Republicans wrote this legislation without input from Democrats and like all their health care proposals this bill stands to hurt the middle-class and the poor of this country while giving the wealthiest tax breaks they don’t need. At the same time, Congressional Republicans are being extraordinarily generous to corporations (which are already recording record profits and are bursting with cash) with a proposed cut in the statutory corporate tax rate of 35 percent to 20 percent. However, no corporation pays this statutory rate. Legal loopholes and deductions lead to an average effective tax rate that is already just under 20 percent. As Senator Warren said, It’s a two-trillion-dollar give-away.
The propaganda used to sell this two-trillion-dollar give-away to the American people is the result of magical thinking and has no basis in reality. There is nothing that guarantees corporations will use their newly gained cash to raise employee wages and hire more workers. Moreover, the three percent rate of economic growth Republicans are literally banking on to happen is a dangerous fantasy that will finally fail the American people.
Our labor force also has to be ready for the jobs of tomorrow. This requires an investment in education at all levels and a willingness of workers to embrace training programs for the jobs of the future rather than waiting for yesterday’s jobs to return. They won’t. It won’t matter how many good jobs are created if people are not trained for and ready to step into them.
This stink of this tax bill is not only increased by time it hangs out in the sun, but also by the lies Republicans are using to promote it to the American people.
The American people will not be played for suckers by a spineless and gutless group of Republicans who do not have the moral fortitude to do what is right for the country.
Passing this tax cut bill is one of the primary reasons Republicans in Congress have failed to stand up to President Donald Trump and provide the constitutional check on his numerous violations of it. They refuse to call out his petulant temperament and the damage he is doing to our democracy. His embarrassing, dangerous, and often crude behavior on the national and global stage may result in quiet murmurs or a few bold words from a retiring senator or two. Overall though, it is all excusable so that they can get tax cuts for their wealthy donors, no matter the harm to the people of this country or another or the state of our democracy itself.
It is both unsurprising and detestable that Republicans are selling this bill as good news for the American people. It does not take a tax expert or an economic guru to see that a $2 trillion give-away to giant banks, overseas investors, and multi-national companies is not good for the average American worker. It is not only not good, it is economically disastrous to the degree of being morally repugnant.
This tax bill only exacerbates income inequality and thus sets the country on a course for another disastrous economic collapse and depression.
For the health of our economy and the welfare of every American citizen this tax bill must be defeated. We cannot let the stink of this dead fish overtake the country. Republicans on Capitol Hill have gone nose blind to the repulsive stench of their bills. It is once again time to remind them.