In a last ditch effort to satisfy their donors, Republicans attempt to kill the ACA and transfer billions of dollars to America’s super-rich by calling it a “middle class tax cut”

Remember how, this past summer, we all came together, fought like hell, and killed the Republican health care plan that would have robbed some 22 million Americans of their coverage? Well, it looks like it’s time for us to get back in fighting shape, as the Republicans seem hellbent on pushing legislation through Congress before the holidays that would, among other things, increase the taxes of 36 million working class and middle class households by 2027 and leave 13 million Americans without health care.

Yes, I know what you’re thinking… When the Republicans first told us about this legislation of theirs, which they’re calling the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” they said it was a middle class tax cut, right? Trump, after all, said himself that it was “a tax bill for middle class.” In reality, though, it turned out to be a bill for the idle rich, which maintains tax breaks for golf corse owners and eliminates the estate tax, while shifting the burden to middle class families, who would, among other things, lose their state and local tax deductions, and have to start paying taxes on their student loan interest. And, this, as you might imagine, is proving to be somewhat awkward for politicians like House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who are now having to walk back their earlier statements… McConnell, for instance, who, just a week or so ago, promised that “nobody in the middle class is going to get a tax increase,” just recently had to confess to the New York Times that he’d “misspoke”, and that taxes would actually rise for a significant number of people in the middle class.

As for why this is happening now, it definitely doesn’t have anything to do with voter sentiment, even among Republicans… According to recent polling, only 17% of Republicans believe corporations are taxed too little, and nearly two-thirds of Americans believe corporate taxes should be increased… But it’s not the voters who the Republicans in Congress are listening to. By their own admission, it’s their wealthy donors. House Republican Chris Collins just recently said that his donors had told him, if he didn’t pass tax reform, he shouldn’t expect another dollar from them. And Republican Senator Lindsay Graham has said publicly that, if this legislation fails to pass, “financial contributions will stop.” Make no mistake, this is all about the idle rich and the CEO class, who want to kill the estate tax, speed the transfer of wealth to the super-rich, and establish themselves as members of a new American aristocracy. And, if you don’t believe me, listen to former investment banker Gary Cohn, the director of the National Economic Council and chief economic advisor to Trump, who has said publicly, “The most excited group out there are big CEOs, about our tax plan.”

Meanwhile, across town, economist Gene Sperling, who was Director of the National Economic Council under Presidents Clinton and Obama, had a much less enthusiastic take about what this poorly thought out legislation would do to our country.

“But, Mark,” you might ask, “don’t we need to lower taxes on corporations and the wealthy in order to spur growth and create jobs?” Well, the answer is no. There is absolutely no evidence that trickle down economic works. We’ve tried it, and we know the results are disastrous. And, for what it’s worth, we also know what actually works to spur the economy, which is putting money into the pockets of working men and women, and growing the middle class. But this, as I think we’ve established, was never about spurring the economy or creating jobs, but about putting money back in to the coffers of our most rich. The truth is, our corporations are raking in record profits right now. As Trump himself tweeted just a few months ago, “corporations have NEVER made as much money as they are making now.” In spite of that, though, they aren’t investing. And, for what it’s worth, there’s no evidence that they’d start investing if this new Republican tax plan were to pass. In fact, check out this Wall Street Journal video, where Gary Cohn asks CEOs to raise their hands if they intend to invest, should this tax bill get passed. [Spoiler alert, very few hands go up.]

One hopes, now that the Republicans are talking about adding a backdoor Obamacare repeal to the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” the American people might actually get motivated to push back, like they did this past summer. [From the New York Times: “Senate Republicans have decided to include the repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that most people have health insurance into the sprawling tax rewrite, merging the fight over health care with the high-stakes effort to cut taxes… If it becomes law, the repeal would save more than $300 billion over a decade but result in 13 million fewer Americans being covered by health insurance by the end of that period, according to the Congressional Budget Office.“] But, as of right now, I haven’t seen much sign of action. In fact, while I’ve heard that Senator Susan Collins has concerns about the legislation, I’ve also heard that the Republicans currently have all the votes they need in the Senate, which is where the battle will be won or lost.

Given the current makeup of the House, anything that’s brought to a vote will be passed by the Republicans. In the Senate, though, as we saw with this past summer’s multiple unsuccessful Obamacare repeal efforts, there’s a chance, as Republicans like Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), and John McCain (Arizona) showed backbone and stood up against the likes Trump, Ryan and McConnell. Sadly, though, I haven’t seen any evidence yet that they might be up for another fight… So, with that in mind, I’d like to ask, if you have a few minutes today, that you call your Senators, especially if you live in states represented by the likes of Collins, Murkowski or McCain… or even Bob Corer (Tennessee) and Jeff Flake (Arizona), who have been more outspoken about the President in recent weeks… and demand that they vote no on the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” (as even Alan Greenspan has suggested) or, at the very least, hold open, public hearings before bringing the legislation to a vote. And, if, like me, your Senators are Democrats, call them anyway, and demand they do everything in the power to slow this down, giving us time to get the word out about how this will impact the working families of America. [For instance, did you know that, almost immediately upon passing, this legislation would cut Medicare by $25 billion per year? Well, it would. And everyone should know that.]

You can find contact information for your Senators here.

This, as Joe Biden might say, is a big, fucking deal… So far, we’ve blocked every piece of legislation that the Trump administration has tried to pass, and we can’t stop now. We have to keep fighting, if not for ourselves, for our children, who will inherit this mess.

Tell your friends. Call you Senator. Stop this giveaway to the super-rich that’s being funded on the backs of working American families.

And one last thing… To Paul Ryan and those Republicans who keep telling me how awesome this legislation will be for me and my family, as it’ll simplify our tax forms and cut our annual federal tax bill by a few hundred bucks a year… With all due respect (which isn’t much), fuck you. Whatever small amount of savings we may receive, will be immediately eclipsed 100 times over by the loss in services that we’ll experience as the federal government contracts to cover the $1.7 trillion in unfunded tax giveaways in the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act”. And I have no doubt whatsoever that whatever extra money we might have, if there is any, will go immediately to help friends left without health insurance due to the passage of this legislation… I get that, in order to get this monstrosity of a bill passed, you have to lie about its contents, but it would be refreshing if, for just once, you had the courage to be honest about your motivations and intent… Why not, for instance, call it the “Make The Super-Wealthy Even Richer While You Pay For The Chemotherapy Of Your Friends Act”?

Oh, speaking of Paul Ryan, did you happen to see this? What a fucking load of shit. Giving working people back a few hundred dollars while slashing Medicare, kicking 13 million people off their health care plans, and increasing the burden on the elderly does not give anyone “peace of mind,” you evil, lying asshole.

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21 Comments

  1. Anonymous
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    Has anyone else noticed that our resident Republicans disappeared when the news broke about Roy Moore’s predilection for children?

  2. Jean Henry
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    Don’t invite them back, Anonymous. You know they have the same answer for that that they have for every claim against one of their own: set up. Vast Left Wing conspiracy. Fake News.

    I don’t think the GOP will pull this off. But. they added on the end of the individual mandate. That may prevent the two no GOP votes needed to kill this thing. Basically the GOP are caught between their promises and the real impact of those promises. They have kicked that can down the road past 2018, so they can be re-elected.

    It may work. So may resistance. I’ll call, but I’m losing my steam with this stuff. I’m wondering if thats the best use of my energy when my reps are Dems. I suppose the swarm effect is good. We should be doing this by algorithm by now though. I think I’m probably better off using my energy to pay attention to what happens at the state and local level. In truth, what I need to be doing is preparing for the 150% rise in my ACA health care next year and a likely rise in my taxes. As an independent contractor, single mother of very middle class means, I’m totally screwed, short and long term.

    It’s hard to engage in the struggle when caught in the struggle, if you know what I mean.

  3. JM
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    Even if it was only tax reform for individuals, it’s a bad bill.

    As a single individual, I’ll get such a minor tax cut it’s laughable.

    People with multiple children or dependents will see their taxes increase.

    There’s no reason that any average person should support this bill.

  4. Demetrius
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    Trump is becoming ever-more erratic, and his poll numbers are tanking. Given the Moore scandal in Alabama, Republican control of the Senate is wobbling, and a Democratic takeover of the house in 2018 seems increasingly likely.

    Therefore, they know the likelihood of getting any of their goals accomplished – especially the ones they’ve promised their big-money donors – is rapidly slipping away.

    Their solution? Cram as many right-wing wish-list items as possible into a single, giant “mega-bill” (kill “Obamacare,” big tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, eliminate as many benefits for the poor and middle class, etc.), then pass it as quickly, and with as little fanfare as possible – while they still can.

    This clearly reeks of desperation.

  5. 734
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    This video from Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio is also worth watching.

    “Expert tax witness confirms – instead of putting money in the pockets of the middle class, the Senate Republican tax bill actually encourages corporations to outsource their jobs and keep their profits overseas.”

    https://twitter.com/SenSherrodBrown/status/930496229418655744

  6. Jean Henry
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    Mark— as a married parent of two, you are unlikely to see a reduced tax bill as the personal and dependents exemptions are gone. As a single parent, I’m doubly screwed. My standardized deductions are dropping by half at least.
    https://slate.com/business/2017/09/the-gop-tax-plan-could-raise-taxes-on-single-moms-and-working-class-couples.html

  7. M
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    This is classic overreach. They could have gotten a modest tax bill passed, but they went to far when they included the ACA Mandate. Now they’ve woken the sleeping giant, and they’re likely to get their asses kicked again. They are as inept as they are evil.

  8. Seth Abramson by proxy
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    Collins, McCain, and Murkowski will look like suckers of epic proportions to their constituents if, after opposing the repeal of Obamacare on multiple occasions, they fall for a transparent ploy like wedging a repeal of the individual mandate into a crappy tax bill for the rich.

  9. Dave
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    I assume Paul Ryan considers himself a man of faith, based on his recent offering of his “thoughts and prayers”. On a recent episode of The Record on KUOW titled “thoughts and prayers are not enough”, Radke interviewed three leaders of local congregations. A quote from the pastor of the Lutheran church ( at about the 7 minute mark ):

    “We pray as people in order to hear a response that drives us to action, and to stop at thoughts and prayers is theological abuse”

    http://kuow.org/post/thoughts-and-prayers-are-not-enough-faith-wake-sutherland-springs

    The assumption I am making when I hear that is that there is a Good that we seek…and a Right action that moves toward it….that prayer / mediation / silent reflection helps us to realize the right course.

    For Ryan and others to be in a position of comfort and security in which they are responsible for taking actions that protect the Good of all citizens of this country, and then cave to the interests of the few (whose wealth has brought these few not only comfort and security, but luxuries beyond the imagination of most of us ) so that they can have more luxury at our expense rather than help stabilize the lives of millions of fellow citizens is dereliction of duty.

    The feverish avariciousness is bad enough, but to suggest that faith informs your sense of right and wrong action( through the lense of ideas like Equality and Justice ) and then acting inconsistent with the obvious answer.. that is at least as bad if not worse. They may be praying to the Koch brothers though, which would equate the Good with Inequality and Injustice and have its own inverse consistency.

  10. Tommy
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much, it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.

    FDR

  11. Tommy
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    Meant to add – etched in stone not too far from the Capitol.

    Every Congressperson should have to read this quote everyday, along with we the people, all men are created equal, and all those other thing about which our country is supposed to be about

  12. anonymous
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    ChrisMurphy of CT: “It’s not a tax bill anymore. It’s a health care bill.”

  13. dave
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    That quote is wonderful, Tommy. Thank you for sharing.

    I second your proposal for the required reading. I am confident there are still statesmen out there that just need to be reminded of their duty.

  14. From the Washington Post
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    GOP senator throws tax plan into doubt by saying he opposes bill because it benefits corporations at expense of other businesses

    The unexpected defection of Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), combined with several other senators who say they remain undecided, casts doubt over whether the bill can pass. Republicans, who hold only 52 seats, need 50 votes to pass their tax bill.

  15. Jean Henry
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    Health care has become the wedge issue the Dems have needed in rural red areas. Most of which take a lot more in federal subsidies than they contribute. Why the wedge issue is not corporate welfare I do not know. I guess Trump ran on ending it, and clearly his supporters are not holding him to it. If the Dems can pivot to an economic message v a social benefits message by 2018, I think they’ll be in good shape. It’s not that red states don’t take federal support, it’s just that they don’t know they do. They have been sold on the idea that they are the hard working and others in cities are the beneficiaries. That’s demonstrably false but it doesn’t matter. I hope the Dems can figure out how to send a positive economic message without caving to protectionist tendencies. I don’t think running on trump being a loser alone will work. Unfortunately, the left is far from aligned on how to best offer support to those who are struggling. Every failure now can only help us later. Even if it only results in dismal turn out by a disaffected GOP. I’m really hopeful this tax reform bill dies. We’ll see.

  16. Tommy
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

    If you want a very detailed analysis of what is actually in this tax bill, I suggest reading the following article https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/11/13/the-trump-us-house-4-6-trilliontax-cut-who-pays/ Well worth the ten minutes to truly understand how diabolical these bastards are in protecting the wealthy and the corporations.

    This ‘Tax Cut and Jobs Act’ should be called ‘The Middle Class takes it in the Ass’ bill.

  17. Donald Harrison
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

    Agreed and done. Also, one of several good resources for making it easy to call your reps about timely, critical issues:

    https://5calls.org/issue/insurance-mandate-tax-reform

  18. EOS
    Posted November 16, 2017 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    Does anyone pay attention? They have to find somewhere in the budget to reduce expenditures in order to call this a “reconciliation” and pass it with a 51% majority. That’s because this “tax cut” raises taxes and they need to find an offset. So essentially, allowing persons to opt out of mandatory health care coverage, would provide the necessary offsetting cuts. And everyone who would “lose” health care would do so voluntarily, because their personal cost exceeds the perceived benefits.

    Congress is broken and has been for some time.

  19. Tommy
    Posted November 16, 2017 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    Very important point EOS and outlined in the article I linked to above, but in essence,

    ‘By Congressional rules, if the Trump-Ryan version can keep the budget impact to $1.5 trillion, it needs only 50% votes (plus one) in Congress to pass; but if the hit to the deficit is more than $1.5 trillion, it takes 60%.’

    The House plan has an impact of 3x the 1.5 trillion amount and there has to be an offset (i.e. cuts elsewhere) to assure passage with 51 votes. Couldn’t get to the magic 1.5 number by fucking over normal folk with tax ‘reform’ alone, so why not fuck with healthcare as well?

  20. Anonymous
    Posted November 16, 2017 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    The House passed the bill. Now it’s on to the Senate.

  21. Meta
    Posted November 20, 2017 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    Vanity Fair: “IT’S A PONZI SCHEME”: WALL STREET FEARS TRUMP’S DERANGED TAX PLAN COULD KICK OFF ECONOMIC EUTHANASIA

    It’s a Ponzi scheme,” a Wall Street executive told me, dismissing the idea that a multi-trillion dollar tax cut for multinational corporations would trickle down throughout the economy and also pay for itself. It’s a view that’s widely shared among the bankers, hedge-fund managers, traders, and quants whose job it is to determine, with Vulcan accuracy, how the Republican tax bill that passed the House yesterday will actually affect the markets. It’s also more than a little ironic, given that the plan was spearheaded by two former senior partners of Goldman Sachs turned Trump shills—Gary Cohn and Steve Mnuchin—a pedigree that has done little to reassure Wall Street veterans who worry that the White House may accidentally nuke the economy in the name of “tax reform.” “Will this be the first tax cut in American history that actually results in a recession?” the executive asked.

    It’s a great question. And the House plan provides plenty to be worried about in that regard. Take, for instance, the proposed elimination of the deductibility of state and local taxes. That is obviously a cynical, politically motivated ploy on Donald Trump’s part to penalize voters who didn’t vote for him (for good reason) in high-tax blue states, such as New York and California, and to give a benefit to the red-state voters who did vote for him. (I get it, elections have consequences.) Eliminating the deductibility of state and local taxes is an incredibly divisive plan. “It’s a transfer to red-state wealthy guys,” said the executive, who lives in a blue state.

    Worse, he says, it could lead to another housing crisis, just as the last one is (or should be) still fresh in our collective memories. Here’s his thinking (which is hard to refute): Since, generally speaking, one of the largest state taxes is on property—your home—eliminating the federal tax deduction for state property taxes will inevitably cause the cost of homeownership in states with high property taxes to go up. It follows, logically, that if the annual cost of home ownership goes up, then the value of the home—which is for most people their single most-valuable asset—must go down. The National Association of Realtors commissioned a recent study that predicted that the elimination of the deduction for state and local taxes could result in a decrease in home valuations of between 10 percent and 17 percent.

    That would wipe out a huge amount of homeowner equity, with the usual expected consequences: the sick feeling that comes from knowing that suddenly you are poorer, which can then lead to lower consumer spending, kicking off a recession. Furthermore, if the value of homes goes down, then whatever equity has been built up in those homes will also go down, and the ability to unlock that equity—through home-equity loans or reverse mortgages—will also decrease. Lower home values could also lead to problems—again—for the government-sponsored entities Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that have guaranteed some home mortgages, which are secured by homes worth materially less. New problems for the G.S.E.s will make it harder for people to get mortgages, leading to a lower level of home ownership than already exists.

    Once upon a time owning a home was the chief pillar of the American dream. (Home ownership rates reached a 50-year low in 2016.) It has proved historically to be a typical American family’s greatest chance for wealth creation. Poof goes the American dream, again.

    Wait, there’s more. The House plan of course does not pay for itself. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, it will add around $1.5 trillion to the federal debt over 10 years. Forget for a moment that candidate Trump repeatedly castigated President Barack Obama for allowing the federal debt to approach $20 trillion—it is now $20.8 trillion and counting, 108 percent of G.D.P., making us the 12th most-leveraged country in the world already—and said that he would reduce the federal debt as president. That clearly ain’t happening. The federal government is the single largest borrower in our country. With interest rates heading up along with the federal debt, that will mean higher interest expense and higher annual budget deficits.

    Read more:
    https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/11/wall-street-fears-trumps-deranged-tax-plan-could-kick-off-economic-euthanasia

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  1. […] have passed a $1.5 trillion tax cut that, if signed into law, would, among other things, take health care coverage from 13 million Americans and raise taxes on the middle class. You would think those two things alone would be enough to motivate people to call their elected […]

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