Class Warfare, GOP Style
D. S. Mitchell
The NY Times on 11/16/17 published a great opinion piece written by Paul Krugman. If you didn’t see it, I will try to summarize the article as best I can, because the core of the message is worth repeating.
Mitch McConnell & Paul Ryan have been lying when they said the GOP tax plan would not raise taxes on any middle class families.The Congressional score keeper, the Joint Committee on Taxation, reported that approximately 38 million middle-class families would see higher taxes under the Senate Republican proposal.
Both Senate and House bill will offer huge tax giveaways to international corporations and the billionaire class. The Republicans have tried to limit the impacts of these tax cuts on the budget deficit by eliminating tax credits and exemptions that mainly benefit the middle class. As such many in the lower and middle class will see their taxes go up.
“But focusing on how many would face tax increases gets at only a small part of what’s going on here,” Krugman said. Continuing, he pointed out, “It is top-down class warfare, coupled with the false claims that they are cutting taxes on the middle class, which has been standard GOP operating procedure for a long time.”
Krugman points out that the tactics of the current GOP leaders is not just a replay of the Bush playbook from 2001 and 2003, although there are similarities. Similarities between then and now are: 1.) Tax breaks that phase in and out. 2.) Misleading examples and calculations to give the false impression of a tax cut for the middle class 3.) Asserting that the tax cuts come free, blurring the fact that the cuts will be offset by cuts to popular programs such as Medicaid and Medicare 4.) Continuing to pretend eliminating the “death” tax is about helping the small family farm, or business.
Krugman asserts that there is an ugly twist to the latest GOP robbery scam. In the 2017 money grab, the goal seems to be to favor wealth, especially inherited wealth, over labor. In the new tax bill he notes multiple measures that make it harder for the children of the middle class to work up the golden ladder.
The prime example is the GOP plan to eliminate, or sharply reduce taxes on inherited wealth, which currently apply to only a tiny number of huge estates. The inheritance tax has been morphed by the GOP into a multitude of family farms being sold off to pay estate taxes. Definitely not true. Best estimates indicate only about 80–eighty, businesses or farms pay any estate tax each year. “The GOP tax bill is about making wealthy heirs even wealthier,” Krugman asserts.
A new proposed tax loophole would benefit large business owners–but only as long as they don’t have hands control. So that definitely lets out the little guy. The House bill, according to Krugman, “doesn’t just raise taxes on many middle-class families: It selectively raises taxes on families with children. In fact, half–half!–of families with children will see a tax hike once the bill is fully phased in.”
Krugman offered several examples in his piece, including this one: Suppose a child from a working class family decides, despite financial hardship to attend college. To attend university the student will need a loan to help pay tuition, books and housing. Under the proposed tax House bill, the interest on that student loan would no longer be deductible. In effect, such action would raise the cost of college. It would obviously narrow future opportunity for young people of limited financial means. In some instances an employer will contribute toward an employee’s educational expenses. The House plan would consider that employer contribution taxable income.
Additionally, when a parent works for a university their children are given reduced tuition. That tuition break will become taxable income. Also, tuition breaks for grad students who work as teaching or research assistants will become taxable.
The pattern becomes obvious, this is a means to “close off opportunities for children who weren’t clever enough to choose wealthy parents,” Krugman snaps.
Funding for CHIPS (Children’s Health Insurance Program) which covers more than 8 million children, expired nearly sixty days ago and the Republicans have made no attempt to restore it. Krugman sees it as “the shape of things to come;” if tax cuts pass, and the deficit explodes which it is expected to do, the GOP will suddenly decide that deficits must be slashed and at that time the GOP will attack the social safety net and will demand cuts in social programs, many of which benefit lower-income children, disabled vets, and nursing home residents.
This attack isn’t just ordinary class warfare. This legislation appears to be aimed at perpetuating inequality into multiple future generations. Taken together, the House and the Senate bills amount to a more or less systematic attempt to provide benefits to the children of extreme wealth, while making it more difficult for less fortunate young people to achieve upward social/economic mobility.
The tax legislation the GOP is forcing through Congress with unimaginable speed, without hearings or time for any kind of serious study, is not just an attempt to reinforce plutocracy, “but to entrench a hereditary plutocracy.”
Trump and the Trump family, and nearly every one in his cabinet members will see big benefits from this fast moving legislation. Please call, email or tweet Republican senators. We must stop this bill. In addition to Krugman’s comments I suggest the near $2 trillion up front cuts to Medicaid and Medicare will devastate programs for disabled vets, critically ill children and vulnerable seniors. This is wrong.
Giving trillions of dollars to international companies is unconscionable. Make these creeps accountable. They are not invulnerable. The 2018 elections are fast approaching. We must create a Blue Tsunami to take back the halls of government for the 99%, #NotOnePenny for the 1%. Vote Democratic. Stop the GOP tax bill.
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**Thanks again to the Paul Krugman for his insight**