Republicans after adding over $1 trillion to our national debt to fund tax give-aways to the rich, say they can’t find $8 billion to extend health care for 8.9 million children living in poverty

While sold to the American people as a “middle class tax cut” that wouldn’t help the super-rich like Donald Trump, the tax reform legislation just passed by the Republicans is, in fact, a windfall for the rich that does considerably less for American’s middle class than the Obama stimulus package of 2009 did. Had the Republicans wanted to pass a true middle class tax cut, that would have boosted the economy, they certainly could have done so, but they chose instead to pass legislation primarily built around a $1 trillion permanent tax cut for American corporations.

As for why Republicans chose do to this, the answer, I think, it two-fold. First, it’s a big payoff to the corporate donors, who have been bankrolling conservative politics for decades, even as popular support for Republican policies has waned. And, second, by adding some $1.414 Trillion to the federal deficit, it gives the Republicans in Congress an excuse slash welfare, Medicare and social security, something the rich have been wanting to do since the passage of FDR’s New Deal. And, no this isn’t a conspiracy theory on my part. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has admitted as much, saying, “We’re going to have to get back next year at entitlement reform, which is how you tackle the debt and the deficit.”

So, to sum up, yes, working class Americans got a bit of a tax cut, but, in the end, it probably won’t offset the increases in health care premiums we’re likely to see in the wake of the tax plan passing (as the tax plan eliminated the Obamacare mandate), or the cuts we’re going to see to social safety net programs. And, those relatively small middle class tax cuts, by the way, are temporary, whereas the corporate tax cuts are permanent. So, yeah, basically we’re all fucked. [Oh, the new Republican tax plan also encourages American businesses to move jobs abroad, but we’ll talk about that some other time.]

OK, if all of that was too abstract for you, here’s a very easy to understand example of what’s going on that I think should make it clear to you just how upside down things are right now.

At the very same time Republicans were passing this unprecedented trillion dollar tax give-away to the rich, they also failed to extend funding past March for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the Medicaid program through which 8.9 million American children in poverty receive their health care, saying that we couldn’t afford to increase the deficit by what it costs to fund CHIP… And, that’s right, the Republicans were saying this just the day after unanimously voting to increase the deficit by $1.414 trillion in order to fund tax breaks for America’s most wealthy.

As Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein just said, “Two days after wasting $1 trillion on tax cuts for the rich, Republicans now claim we have no money for children’s health insurance. I can’t imagine anything more heartless than ignoring our most vulnerable while giving more money to millionaires and billionaires.”

Here, with more, is a tweet from journalist Ezra Klein, followed by a clip from a recent report in Vox. [Check out this graphic.]

The government spending bill released on Thursday, which Republican leadership hopes to pass in a matter of hours, would provide $2.8 billion that is supposed to fund the program through March.

It would prevent an impending disaster — nearly 2 million kids could lose coverage in January without congressional action — but it is a long way from the five-year extension CHIP advocates are seeking and that Congress has been sitting on for three months.

“It’s better than nothing, but the program will sputter along without the certainty it needs for states to feel confident enough to do outreach and put out the welcome mat for children,” Joan Alker, executive director of Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families, told me Thursday morning.

She added of the preferred five-year extension: “Why not do that instead and do right by kids for the holidays? It is troubling that they can’t get this done when they have had bipartisan agreement on the policy for months now.”

In a matter of days, at least two states — Alabama and Connecticut — would stop enrolling new children in the program. Real negative impacts will be felt by some number of children across the country the longer Congress fails to act. This would be an unprecedented breach of trust for this program that everybody seems to agree is good and should be funded.

“Our phones are ringing off the wall,” Alabama CHIP director Cathy Caldwell told reporters this week. “We have panicked families wondering what in the world they have as options.”

It would cost a mere $8 billion for Congress to extend the program, which covers 9 million American children, for the next five years. There is bipartisan support for the program. There is a working plan to do it, which the House already passed. There is no discernible reason that CHIP has been left unfunded for nearly 90 days or that families are starting to receive letters warning them that their coverage could soon end…

CHIP costs about $12 billion to $14 billion each year. But because the Congressional Budget Office assumes the program will remain indefinitely, even if it hasn’t been funded yet, it technically only “costs” about $8 billion to extend CHIP for five years. (This is wonky congressional budget math, but that’s how it shakes out.)…

And that, I think, pretty much tells you everything you need to know about Republican priorities… Oh, and it’s being estimated that the Republican tax plan, thanks in part to the last-minute “Corker kickback,” will net Trump $15 Million… So much for his promise that the new plan would cost him a fortune.

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  1. Lynne
    Posted December 23, 2017 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    I actually think Paul Ryan really thinks that this is what is good for the country, for the middle class, and even for the poor. I think he really thinks that the Free Market Fairy will come down from on high and bless everyone with prosperity. I believe his sincerity is part of why he can be so convincing to the very people this tax plan is going to hurt.

    However, there are other guys, like Michigan’s Mike Bishop who know how damaging this will but dont care. Trump himself seems to fall in this category. I have found that most people, but especially rich people think that they have risen to their station in life based on their own merit without any luck or better access to opportunities and thus feel completely entitled to create a tax structure that favors the rich over the poor. They dont feel that the poor deserve anything but somehow are ok with forcing people to pay for those programs which benefit rich people the most.

    Like our biggest program, our military. Dems fall into this trap too. We fetishize military service . We lie and tell our soldiers that they are fighting for our freedom or the rights of everyday Americans yet, there has not been a war in my entire lifetime where the freedoms of everyday Americans were at stake. What is at stake are the profits of the super rich and investments in areas where their exploitive practices have let to war.

    Unfortunately, we all get the government we deserve. We could have voted differently but we did not. However there is still hope. The worst effects of this tax bill aren’t going to hit right away. A massive turn out in the midterms could change everything. There is nothing being done which cannot be undone.

    And if it doesnt get undone? I think at that point things will get really bad. My hope would be the people would direct their anger appropriately at those who actually harming them, ie rich people but more likely they will direct their anger down towards those LESS privileged. I haveseensome talk in far left groups about an organized campaign of property destruction and while I cant support that because of the potential for people to be hurt, I will just say that there is a reason Robin Hood is a hero and not a villain

    I am worried that people will buy into the Paul Ryan worldview that the poor are poor because they are lazy or because govt regulation is keeping them from reaching their full potential. They will direct their anger at POC and immigrants because status is more important than money to a lot of people which combined with a lack of understanding of how macroeconomic policy hurts them is just creates an environment where things like Trump happens. I worry that next time Russia will back someone more competent than Trump (or Jill Stein. – god I hope this investigation takes her down!)

  2. wobblie
    Posted December 23, 2017 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    “They dont feel that the poor deserve anything but somehow are ok with forcing people to pay for those programs which benefit rich people the most.”
    Better watch it Lynn sounds like “hate speech” or a veiled call for class war.

    “Unfortunately, we all get the government we deserve.”—Tell that to our colored brothers and sisters as they are gunned down by the cops. You are seriously confused about how our country has come to this sorry state.

  3. EOS
    Posted December 23, 2017 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

    Really, what kind of monster would want to lower our taxes, secure our borders, protect the citizens, create jobs, raise the GDP, take down DC corruption, destroy ISIS, put America first, fix the healthcare abomination, strengthen the military, and build an embassy in the capital of our greatest Mideast ally? How dare he begin cabinet meetings with prayer and asking God to save our country and protect our way of life? By the way, the funding for CHIP is extended until March, and will continue to be funded if Pelosi and her gang don’t vote to shutdown government.

    I personally didn’t see a dime from the Obama “stimulus package”. It transferred a great deal of taxpayer funds to energy companies whose CEO’s profited enormously up until the point where their firms went bankrupt. But I did get a 21% return on my 401K this past year and a promotion to a better paid position at work. I’ve been extremely blessed this past year and I can’t wait to see what’s to come next year once we stop the Deep State obstructionists. Merry Christmas everyone!

  4. Sad
    Posted December 23, 2017 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

    All of the citizens of Michigan saw the effects of the Obama “Stimulus package”.

    What did your 401k do in Obamas first year in office and for the 8 years he was president?

    You really need to reflect upon the meaning of the season. Or a least save the bomb throwing until a more appropriate time.SMH.

    You should read Peggy Noonan in the WSJ today, at least she’s reasonable.

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