When it comes to the country’s bills and responsibilities towards its own population, right-wing politicians treat things like deficits as a plaything, alternatively ignoring it or using it as a cudgel. We can see much of the same behavior in the way the Right-Wing tax bill has been playing out.
Right-wingers have a very distinct pattern of political behavior: leverage a bigot base at the ballot box to then legislatively please an oligarch super-structure that keeps their politics funded. And the long-arc of this tax bill shows signs of this from top to bottom.
Whether it be anything from taxes or health-care policy, the rich will always get what they want through The Right, while The Right voter-base of bigots will be tossed symbols and crumbs, being told that they’ve won (but not completely,… gotta keep them going back to the ballots).
The right-wing poorer and middle class bigot (and would-be-billionaire) base feels like their rich “political allies” are being blocked from bettering the economy (and their personal plight) by all sorts of us “others” (whether immigrants like me, or some other abused demographic) who are politically represented by the Left. The outcome of this process is that the rich get what they want: being richer. Their right-wing base also gets some of what it wants: some crumbs and a scapegoat (or thirty). The rest are screwed.
Much the same is true with the “reform” to tax law the Republicans are trying to pass this coming week.
The tax bill increases deficits by foregoing an estimated $1.5 trillion in revenue over the next decade. Why? To make the rich richer through a tax based class war that would let the richest of the rich skate out of paying their fair share of the tax bill. At the end of the day, according to the Tax Policy Center, the shift in tax burden would mean “the highest income households would generally receive the largest percentage boosts in after-tax income.”
When it came to increasing the deficit for things like the ACA (or dare we dream, someday universal health care) right-wingers suddenly become deficit-averse, to put it mildly.
When it comes to helping our elders or improving our schools, Republicans can’t find the humanity or, apparently, the time (in the case of the CHIP program) to notice how many people depend on their own tax money coming back around (via government services) to help them.
For millions of children, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, fills the healthcare gap, insuring them for check-ups, immunizations, doctor’s visits, prescriptions, emergency services and much more. And while Congressional right-wingers slapfight over who will please their sponsor the most, funding for the CHIP program to continue hasn’t been allocated yet.
The CHIP program expiring means kids who are sick will lose their healthcare. The program covers kids whose families don’t qualify for medicare and don’t have health insurance through their employer (and can’t afford it independently). As explained by Common Dreams, “about nine million American children—one in eight—rely on CHIP for health coverage.”
And it’s worse than simply not caring enough to fund one of the most important programs for children in America.
Most times, Republican attacks on the social safety net are actually duplicitous shams based on mathematics they rigged themselves. First they cut the amount of money coming in, then they say there’s not enough money coming in, then they cut social programs (or perhaps privatize some of its functions).
After all, what is the cost of all these tax breaks they’re about to try to pass?
Foregone revenue. There won’t be enough money coming in, because the valve of incoming revenue from the super-rich has been shut so tight (for exampling in dropping the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%), to cover the services the nation needs to provide for its citizens. Barely a peep could be heard from the supposed deficit-hawks, who kow-towed this week to the party-line and are ready to vote yes on the massive tax-overhaul.
If it’s money for war or for letting the leeching super-rich get away without paying their fair share of the nation’s bills, the Right votes deficits as far up as the rich want them.
When it comes to basic human needs or economic stimulus, suddenly the Right turns against deficit-increases and spending as a whole. Ultimately, it’s not a problem of spending or not spending. It’s a problem of elite greed versus most people’s needs.
As if to double down on the lunacy, Trump recently also signed a $700 billion military spending bill into law and then left everyone else to wonder about where the money will come from.
But what about funding Medicare and Social Security? Surely, if there can be debt spending of more than a trillion dollars for a tax break, and $700 billion in military spending without a second thought given as to who’s going to fund it, there should also be enough in that deficit-space to do something for those who most need economic and social support.
No such luck with the right-wingers controlling all the major branches of the federal government.
In fact, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has already started talking about “cutting entitlement programs” which usually means cutting back on government programs that help people. He was joined by Orrin Hatch, who, while whipping up votes for the debt-increasing tax bill, somehow had the gall to say, “We’re spending ourselves into bankruptcy,…Now, let’s just be honest about it: We’re in trouble. This country is in deep debt. You don’t help the poor by not solving the problems of debt, and you don’t help the poor by continually pushing more and more liberal programs through.”
But voters won’t be fooled forever. The tax bill has polled terribly with most Americans. It has even polled poorly in about a half-dozen Republican districts that are currently Republican but considered vulnerable. According to The Hill, “the majority of voters in the surveyed districts oppose the GOP tax bill and think the bill primarily benefits the wealthy.”