Posted by: minnow | October 1, 2017

Trying to Keep Up

Before I dig in let me offer a gentle reminder: Monitoring everything the current administration and the Republicans in Congress have thrown at us can be exhausting. So, the first rule of response must be: take care of yourself.  Don’t try to read every article or all the comments. Don’t stress over every “disaster”. Don’t try to follow every issue. Pick your top two topics of concern and focus most of your energy and time on those. Network with others who also care about what’s happening and want to keep informed. Stay in contact with two or three others you trust to have your back. Let them follow the issues you aren’t personally following as closely.  Then when a major action is underway you’ll know in time to offer important support  such as emails and phone calls. In order to stay in this fight for the long haul we need to effectively network and we need to take a break every now and then.

That said–this has been a busy week.  While many of us were defending #takeaknee protests or calling attention to the disaster in Puerto Rico and our President’s lame response, the GOP unveiled their tax cut plan. While they may label it a tax cut for the middle class, not surprisingly the super wealthy and large corporations actually benefit the most.

Short on details as to how these cuts will be paid for the stated focus is to eliminate loopholes and streamline the code. Even with that laudable goal, it is difficult to see how the middle class will benefit. The rate for the highest income bracket (individuals with taxable income over $400,000,000) decreases by 4.5% while the rate for the lowest income bracket (those with taxable income under $9,300) increases by 2%. Corporate tax rates decrease by 15% and the estate tax, which only effects those with assets over $5.49 million, will be eliminated. Their stated goal–to simplify the tax code–plays well to audiences but the devil is indeed in the details.  One deduction on the chopping block is the deduction for state and local taxes, which incidentally targets states currently run by democrats, like New York and California. Finally, even the GOP admits their plan is likely to increase the federal deficit by $1.5 trillion dollars over the next decade. Sadly, if they’re admitting that much it will probably be more.

Along with a simpler tax code backers of the GOP plan continue to proclaim trickle down economic theories as a reason to give the wealthy and corporations the biggest pieces of the tax cut pie.  But history has proven something must be blocking the flow–after all, we’re all still waiting for the Reagan tax cuts to trickle on down to the middle class. The truth is, prior to Reagan’s tax cuts the poorest workers generally saw the largest positive income growth while the most wealthy showed growth but at a modest rate. 30 years later, the poor actually experience negative growth while the very affluent have seen sharp increases, well beyond the modest growth they experienced in the 1980s.

When looking at how the economy works we must keep in mind this common sense fact–if you spread the buying power across more consumers more goods will be consumed.  Thus the economy will grow.  Even if the super rich each had seven mansions and five cars they still could not make up for the 100 million consumers who must tighten their belts every time the rich get another tax cut.

Please America–don’t get swallowed up by nicely worded sound bites!  The GOP tax plan is NOT FOCUSED ON HELPING THE MIDDLE CLASS. Republicans in Congress owe their donors.  They couldn’t get it done by shutting down the ACA so now they want to maintain favor but sticking it to the middle class via their tax plan. Demand the GOP show us the fine print before they implement their plan! Expect them to tell you how they plan to pay for their the cuts, the cuts that benefit the wealthy and corporate America. Hold them accountable for the deficit. Remind them they’ve already proposed increasing the military budget by $80 billion dollars.

You wanted change?! DEMAND IT! And if your representatives in Congress don’t listen to you–VOTE THEM OUT OF OFFICE!

 

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