GOP’s Sneaky Tax Plan

GOP’s Sneaky Tax Plan

D. S. Mitchell

The American tax system is not broken and it certainly does not need the type of disastrous overhaul being rammed down the throats of the 99.8% of the American tax payers all for the benefit of about five thousand people, and a boat load of international corporations. Trickle down economics was debunked 30 years ago and why we have allowed the Republicans to bring it back into the tax conversation is beyond me.

On December 2, 2017 at 2 a.m., in the dark of night, without a single public hearing, Senators passed a 479 page tax bill, which included several illegible hand written notes in the margins. GOP Senators passed what could become one of the most important legislative bills in recent history. If the Republicans actually maneuver this monstrosity through the congress it will revamp the national tax code, disrupt our national health care system, while adding trillions of dollars to the national debt, thereby impacting every person in the United States.

From personal experience, I know that 2 a.m. decisions are usually stupid decisions. Decisions, that when viewed from the light of the following morning are often regrettable. So, we ask, why are the Republicans so desperate to pass such important legislation in the middle of the night? Without public hearings, written seemingly by corporation lobbyists, and supported by almost no one, we keep asking, why?

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Class Warfare, GOP Style

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.

Calamity Politics is an on-line political news magazine. Calamity Politics supports a Progressive agenda and offers comment and opinion on the events of the Washington political scene. Join the Resistance.

Dar

**Thanks again to the Paul Krugman for his insight**

That Stench You Smell Is The GOP Tax Plan

That Stench You Smell Is The GOP Tax Plan

D. S. Mitchell

The GOP plan is to raise taxes on at least 38 million middle class families, destroy health insurance  coverage for millions so as to give massive breaks to international companies and the wealthiest among us. A last-minute add-on in the Senate bill is a provision that would repeal the ACA (Obama health care law) that mandates all Americans get insurance coverage.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has projected that dismantling the requirement would mean 4 million more uninsured people by 2019 and 13 million uninsured by 2027. Worries about an increasing population of uninsured was one of the causes of the GOP failure last summer to repeal ObamaCare. The repeal action failed amidst protests in the streets and the halls of congress.

In another last-minute move the Senate bill was altered to end personal tax reductions in 2025. Corporate tax cuts however, will be permanent. This includes dropping the corporate tax rate from 35% to 20%. The corporate handouts are permanent, the family breaks are not,” said Oregon Senator Ron Wyden. Wyden is my senator, and he is great. Here’s what else he had to say, “To pay for these handouts to multinational corporations, millions of Americans are going to lose their health care, millions will see their premiums skyrocket, and millions will get hit with a tax hike.”

The Republicans have been promising jobs through “trickle down” economics.  Trickle down is a proven failure. Don’t be taken in. It’s all a shell game. A bunch of nonsense.

The GOP tax bill will 1.) Repeal pro middle class personal exemptions 2.) Will eliminate medical expense deduction for approximately 10 million people 3.) Will gut the state and local tax deduction 4.) Companies that outsource US jobs will get tax breaks 5.) Gutting 1.5 trillion dollars from Medicaid & Medicare will devastate services for disabled veterans, seniors and critically ill children 6.) Eliminate the ACA mandate.

The GOP tax cuts will add 1.5 trillion dollars to the deficit. This is disgusting. The 1% do not need any tax cuts. Secondly, the elimination of the estate tax only effects people who are worth more than 5 million dollars, and if you have a good CPA he is smart enough to adjust those numbers for the beneficiaries of an estate worth over 5 million. The estate tax, or the “death tax” effects the most wealthy, and by eliminating the estate tax the GOP will be perpetuating the wealth of the 1% into perpetuity.

Now is the time. Call and tweet Republican Senators and tell them No to their tax fraud. The idea that Republicans are so desperate to pass anything is a sad state of their governing. A bad bill is a bill that helps the few, and harms the many. That’s what we have here. Bad legislation based on donor needs, not the needs of the 99%.

Calamity Politics is a political on-line news magazine that offers a lot of opinion & comment with a progressive agenda well identified. Join the Resistance.

Darlene

An Obligation To Preserve Health Care

The Obligation To Preserve Health Care

D. S. Mitchell

The Trump administration seems bent on destroying health care in America. Despite promises to “guarantee health care for all” while on the campaign trail, Trump has moved back to the GOP corner, now calling for Repeal and Destroy.

Open enrollment for the ACA (ObamaCare) starts on November 1st and extends through December 15, 2017 for health care policies starting January 1, 2018.  I would wager that a large part of Americans are unaware of these important approaching dates.

Why wouldn’t they know?  The problem comes from the Trump administration’s dramatic cut backs on efforts to tell people about deadlines and other matters related to the ACA.  The strategy is to openly sabotage the national health care system. Americans should be given time to check their current coverage and make health care decisions to avoid being trapped in a policy they don’t like, or in a policy that no longer fits their needs.

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Time To Plug-In

Time To Plug-In

D. S. Mitchell

Calamity Politics had a “plug-in failure” Sunday night.  The failure involved temporary loss of multiple features on the blog.  This failure was extremely aggravating, and it wasn’t resolved until Jane worked her magic.  However, she hasn’t been able to fix everything, yet. But, she is on it, and I’m sure all of our features will be available again, soon.

The reason I’m even mentioning our Calamity Politics catastrophe is because it demonstrates a life truth: shit happens. And when that shit happens to concern health care, there are several subsistence safety net programs for Americans. The big three are,  Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security.

My anger has grown steadily as the Republicans prepare to destroy American health care. Just  watching Mitch McConnell smirk into the camera surrounded by the Republican caucus sends me into a rage.   They are all looking tail-wagging happy with themselves.  Is that the way you are supposed to look when you are throwing millions of people’s lives  into chaos?

Last week in the Capitol of the United States of America handicapped individuals, protesting the proposed draconian cuts to Medicaid, were pulled from wheel chairs, zip-tied, and arrested.  It was one of the most disturbing and disgusting sights, I believe I have ever seen.

I believe the next 2 days are vital if we are to have any chance of stonewalling this legislation. Call Republican Senators and tell them to put conscience above party. Phone calls are very effective. Please call and demand they “vote no” on the Senate Repeal and Replace ACA bill.  Stop TrumpCare.

Join the Resistance

Dar

TrumpCare 2: All In One Place

TrumpCare Two: All In One Place

D. S. Mitchell

First 100

I had intended to talk about Trump’s first 100 days, today. However, I decided it was more important to talk about the proposed Republican health plan, TrumpCareTwo.  The 17% of Americans that supported TrumpCareOne should be thrilled with Episode 2.

Rural Perspective

Rural isn’t just about cows and open spaces. There are many faces to rural health care. I live and write from the beautiful Oregon coast.  I live half way between Seaside, Or. to the south, and Astoria, Or. to the north. The small beach development that I inhabit has a heavy preponderance of seniors. Most people living in my little enclave are old, medically fragile with pre-existing conditions, and living at the poverty level, dependent on Medicare or Medicaid for government supported health care.  In this little community, people will be negatively effected by the Republican proposed health care changes.

Critical Access Hospitals

Health care in the rural areas of the country is very different from urban health care.  Within forty miles of my house there are two small hospitals.  In that sense I am very fortunate. I know that Columbia Memorial Hospital, in Astoria, Oregon, is a Critical Access Hospital.  CAH is a designation given to certain rural hospitals by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services under a 1997 Budget Act. The CAH designation was in response to a tsunami of hospital closures, particularly in rural areas between 1980 and 1997.

Closures Still Happening

Closure of rural hospitals continues today. Maintaining hospitals in rural areas is vital for a large section of the American population. These CAH hospitals are dependent on ‘rural access’ benefits, and cannot be sustained without them. Dramatic changes to Medicaid and Medicare could potentially end up with nation wide hospital closures, most particularly again in rural communities, as occurred in the 1980’s and 1990’s.

Andy Slavit Breaks It Down

Andy Slavitt @ASlavin provided a complete review of TrumpCare 2.  Take a look at what this know nothing president and his henchmen put together in a couple of weeks. They held no hearings. There was no bipartisan advice. Here goes:

  • Eliminates access to care for 24 million people. One million more people lose coverage than if ACA was repealed and had no replacement.
  • 7 million employed Americans, and 1.2 million veterans will lose coverage. Many employers will be able to avoid providing lifetime cap protection.
  • Premiums expected to jump 15-20%, $2,400 average. Up to $13,000 increase for people over 50, and up to $10,000 more for rural residents
  • Deductibles would increase 60%
  • Medicaid cut by 25% and then capped.  Seniors, babies, children, low-income, people with disabilities, addiction treatment hurt. 3.6 million kids expected to lose coverage.
  • Medicare Trust Fund put into crisis.
  • Insurance companies permitted to underwrite and charge sick people–like $5,000 more for Autism, $17,000 for pregnancy, $140,000 for late stage cancer treatment.
  • Projected premiums in high risk pool? Estimated $25,700.
  • Eliminates pre-existing condition protections which could impact 100,000,000+.
  • Lifetime caps and limits would be allowed if your upon state request.
  • Because they intend to allow selling across state lines, all these waived rules would apply anywhere.
  • 1.2 trillion pulled from health care to pay for massive tax cuts to pharmaceutical companies, insurers, insurer CEO’s, tanning salons & medical device companies.
  • In the average congressional district 55,000 people would lose coverage and 300,000 people could lose pre-existing protections.

A Generational Impact

“Doctors, nurses, hospitals, seniors, patient groups–not one of them agrees with these dangerous changes to health care”, states Slavitt. The Republican strategy has been to rush, get it done with no public hearings, no updated Congressional Budget Office score, suspension of rules, no debate, secret drafting, all closed-door sessions. For a bill that would have generational impact. Thanks again, to Andy Slavitt for laying it all out for us. He told me to share.

Suzanne Bonamici Speaks Up

Suzanne Bonamici, Oregon 1st District Representative, said this in an email: “The latest version of Trumpcare has a lot in common with the first-except this time it’s worse. It would allow states to opt-out of providing essential health benefits –like maternal care, mental health treatment, prescription coverage, and emergency services-which would be harmful to millions of people across the country.  Once again we would go back to the days when people paid for insurance and then found out it didn’t cover them when they needed it. No one should have to choose between putting food on the table and paying for lifesaving medical procedures.”

The United Nations Is Concerned

Slavitt and Bonamici laid it out pretty clearly.  TrumpCareTwo is worse than TrumpCareOne. The state of health care in the United States is so alarming that the United Nations issued a statement.  The UN addressed an “urgent appeal” to the Trump Administration warning that repeal of ObamaCare (ACA) without adequate replacement could violate international law”.

My Opinion

All I can say is, it’s a sad day when the world community is more worried about the health care of the American citizens than their own government. Truly alarming.

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Twitter Madness

Twitter Madness

D. S. Mitchell

It was me, not Trump.  I admit it.  I went on a Twitter rant to several Senators and cable news channels this morning.  Central to the rant was outrage over Trump’s unprecedented $3.6M weekends at Mar-a-Lago, but no Medicaid, no Meals On Wheels, no TIGER, no PBS, no Muppets.  Just ANOTHER million or two burned up while Trump and his entourage parade around like Louis the XVI.  I’m waiting for Melania Antoinette to suggest we, “eat cake.”

With the severe budget cuts this president is recommending many of his most devoted voters will be hurt the most.  Some of these folks are barely hanging on.  With the damage Trump and his cronies are planning,  many of his supporters will be on the street, living with relatives, or dead.

How can a newly elected president, who is an Electoral College President, not a Popularly Elected President, hurt so many of his supporters, mostly elderly, rural poor, in such a devastatingly malevolent way.  Many of these seniors can’t make it without the ACA (Obama Care), Medicaid, rural hospitals and clinics, and Food Stamps. From the looks of it, TRUMP LIED AGAIN.  He is a master of the con, and has, over the years, fucked just about everybody, in one way, or another; at one time, or another.

I’ve written an average of two posts a day for my political blog, Calamity Politics for at least the last two months. There is so much going on with the U.S. political scene. I can’t stay quiet. So, if it seems sometimes like I might be screaming, I just may, be.

I  intend to add, probably a third post to my daily political blog journal for just, today. I have a need. A need to comment when I see an outrage.The Fire Around Trump is white-hot. The Trump discussion is white-hot and I plan on keeping the fires stoked, with nothing more than a reporting of the outrages that Trump and his chorus of Trumpettes have perpetrated on the American people over the last 24 hour news cycle. We need to crank up the volume. I’m just wondering if we can light the investigatory fire in this heavily Republican government?

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Trump Sucker Punches His Voters

Trump Sucker Punches His Voters

D. S. Mitchell

It’s freaking Cold

It seems to have been a colder than usual winter. I’m not talking about climate change at the moment, more a comment on how a string of seventy days of freaking’ cold days, ran both my electric, and my gas bills to unimaginable heights. Natural gas prices are low, but my consumption went through the roof. I wore sweaters and sweats continuously and haven’t gone to bed in the buff, since last December. So, I’m out of bed, fireplace is going and the chill is slowly being driven off. I’m about to check out the morning political shows and plan on getting to Calamity News and Politics after I brew a cup of coffee.

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Jason Chaffetz, Get Real

Jason Chaffetz, Get Real

D. S. Mitchell

You’ve Seen Him

I know you’ve seen this guy. He was especially loud and intimidating during the Benghazi, hearings. It seemed his primary goal was to try to embarrass and de-legitimize Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. Jason Chaffetz said he would continue the Hillary Clinton Benghazi investigation “even if she wins the White House.” Really? How long did he plan on holding hearings, another 8 years? Sick and twisted ideology.

Seven

Calamity Politics is a progressive political blog. I want you to know that I believe most of the Representatives and the Senators are hard-working folks. There are a handful that are just plain objectionable. Those few that I find really irritating are Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Jim Jordan, and Jason Chaffetz. Not in any particular order. Amazing, they are all Republicans. And quite honestly, I think the American political landscape would improve greatly if this seven guy team would find jobs outside the government. I know I would not mind clearing all seven of them off of the U.S. political news scene.

Lacks Understanding

Jason Chaffetz, Republican Congressman from Utah was making the political morning shows on 3/7/2017 when he showed, not only his lack of understanding of ‘living poor,’ but any basic human compassion.

Trump Care Plan

At first perusal, the new Trump Care Plan will give huge tax cuts to the richest Americans, while delivering a brutal blow to health care for lower-income Americans.  The Republicans are rushing this terrible bill through Congress.  Besides helping the wealthy, it reduces access for low-income and rural Americans to health care. It weakens Medicare, and guts Medicaid.  Furthermore, this bill is a direct attack on women’s access to reproductive health. The bill would de-fund Planned Parenthood, where over 50% of low-income women in the United States receive health care.

Feeling The Hate

Chaffetz told the CNN viewing audience that, “Americans have choices, and they’ve got to make a choice.  So, rather than getting that new iPhone that they just love and want to go spend hundreds of dollars on that, maybe they should invest in their own health care.” Wow! Utah’s Congressman seems to have no understanding of the cost of health care insurance and the equipment people need to get by in a modern society. Studies show that cell phones are the primary means of internet access for many lower-income citizens.  In a 2015 Pew study, at least 13% of Americans rely on their phone to connect to wi-fi.  Furthermore, the cell phone is a necessity for finding a job, and maintaining one.

Significant Expenses

According to Obama administration reports, only 77% of people currently enrolled in the ACA will be able to find a plan for less than $100 per month this year.  Nearly 30% of cell phone users have had financial issues significant enough that their phone service was either suspended or cancelled. On Fox, Chaffetz, rephrased his CNN remarks. “Maybe I didn’t say it as smoothly as I could, but people need to make a conscious choice and I believe in self-reliance.  And they’re going to have to make those decisions.”

Healthy And Wealthy

I get so mad when I hear mostly wealthy, healthy able-bodied men say such bull shit.  Your life changes with chronic illness, disease or disability. Life changes when you are paralyzed and can’t get out of bed without help, your life changes when you lose your job, your life changes when your mother is diagnosed with dementia, your life changes when you have a special needs child, your life changes when you are diagnosed with cancer.  Sadly, not everyone is young, able-bodied or wealthy.

A Slap To The Head Might Help

Would somebody please slap these people upside their heads.  This country has had the largest transfer of wealth in human history since the 1980’s.  Four hundred families control 90% of this country’s wealth. And inexplicably the Congress and the White House are falling all over themselves to give the wealthy an even bigger share of the pie. It seems the lawmakers can’t wait to cut up the 10% of the remaining wealth among their big donors.

Conclusion

Some people should keep their mouths shut. Jason Chaffetz you have no compassion or understanding of the plight of the poor. Please retire, and let the people of Utah find a man with heart to fill your vacated position.

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DIE, DIE, DIE

Die, Die, Die

By D. S. Mitchell

My World

Calamity Politics is a political blog that presents the world as I see it. I am hard on the Republicans, but they deserve it. My political comments today center around the ACA and the Republican attempt to restore pre-Obama times.

A Healthy Citizen

Everybody in this crowd wants to go backward. What the fuck, is going on in their heads. A healthy citizenry is one of the best resources a country has at its core. Every civilized western country has health care for all. No questions, no arguments, it is a recognized right of citizenry.

The Grand Lie

Why is that concept so difficult for American politicians to embrace. This great, grand lie, that we make it on our own is some dime novelists idea of the American ideal. The fact is, we have a lot of sick people in this country that cannot pay the exorbitant cost of health care, or health insurance without government help.

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