The latest Harvard-CAPS-Harris survey of US voters found that 64 percent of respondents oppose the Republican tax cut.
How could nearly two-thirds of the American people be against a plan touted by President Donald Trump as “the greatest Christmas present that a lot of people have ever received?”
Because they know that Trump’s “tremendous tax cut” is really a great big lump of coal in the stockings of hundreds of millions of middle- and low-income Americans.
In a sentence, the GOP plan slashes public revenue — and raises the deficit — by nearly $1.5 trillion to fund massive tax breaks to corporations and the wealthiest Americans, while temporarily lowering — and ultimately raising — taxes for most middle-class and poor workers.
Under what we know of the plan, the corporate tax rate would be dramatically and permanently reduced from 35 percent to 21 percent, while middle- and low-income families would receive smaller cuts that would expire after 2025, leading to higher taxes for Americans earning less than $75,000 annually. Furthermore, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has warned that spiking the deficit by $1.5 trillion to make the richest even richer could trigger massive automatic cuts to Medicare ($25 billion), veterans’ compensation ($7.5 billion), National Flood Insurance ($1.5 billion) and other essential programs under the Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2010 (PAYGO). Erstwhile GOP deficit hawks now seem content to borrow $1.5 trillion, give it to the wealthiest people and businesses in the nation and then turn around and tell the neediest Americans that, after all the corporate largesse and trillions of dollars in public funds spent on fighting a never-ending war of choice, there’s just no money left to fund life-saving services that will face even more future cuts. That’s exactly what tax cut-supporting Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) argued as he let funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) expire last week, while adding insult to injury by outrageously implying that sick children are lazy mooches.
Big winners under the GOP bill include the corporations enjoying quarter after quarter of record profits and the One Percent who now control more of the nation’s wealth than ever before. That includes Trump and his family, despite the president’s claims to the contrary.
Big losers include the most vulnerable Americans: the poor, the elderly, children and the sick — especially given the 13 million people who will be left without health care coverage due to the measure’s repeal of the Obamacare individual mandate and the automatic PAYGO cuts. Families earning less than $30,000 will be immediately harmedby the bill — both in terms of higher taxes and reduced services — and will collectively lose some $2.6 billion in 2019 and $43 billion over the next decade. The increasingly vulnerable environment, reeling from the intensifying effects of climate change, will also take a huge hit as the final GOP bill will allow for oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
The more honest Republican backers of the bill have publicly admitted what it’s really all about: a massive transfer of wealth from the ever-thinning wallets of middle- and low-income Americans to what is alternately called the “corporatocracy,” the “plutocracy” or the “donor class.”
“My donors are basically saying, get it done or don’t ever call me again,” a flustered Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) said of the tax bill last month.
“Financial contributions will stop” if the bill doesn’t pass, fretted Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) while contemplating the cost of potential failure.
While gushing over the windfall the wealthy will reap under the plan, Trump economic advisor and former Goldman Sachs COO Gary Cohn let slip that “the most excited group out there are big CEOs, about our tax plan.”
These admissions drew this facetious response from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT):
“I want to congratulate some of my Republican colleagues for being honest about that. What they said publicly is, if they don’t pass this bill, their wealthy friends will stop contributing. I appreciate that honesty.”
Corporations do not need tax breaks. They are enjoying record high profits while paying record low — and often no — taxes thanks to breaks and loopholes they’ve engineered through their increasing control of our political process.
The One Percent do not need tax breaks. They now control an historic high of 38.6 percent of the nation’s wealth. Meanwhile, for the bottom 90 percent of US earners, their slice of the national wealth pie has been steadily shrinking for over a generation, now standing at just 22.8 percent. Between 1979 and 2012, wages increased over 150 percent for the One Percent, while inching up a meager 17 percent for the bottom 90 percent.
Middle- and low-income American families do need tax breaks. They need affordable, quality health care, education, housing and food. They need clean air and water. They need the type of robust veterans’ and senior services that make proclamations of how Americans “support the troops” and care for our elders ring more than hollow. They need to believe that this nation is still a land of opportunity for more than just the rich and the corporations they own and run. The Republican tax bill is the last thing they need, and that’s why nearly two-thirds of the American people oppose it.