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Oh No! The Republicans Are Helping Again!

November 20, 2017

By Bill Hohlfeld

Here we go again. The Republicans have once again repackaged and offered up to the people good old fashioned supply side

Bill Hohlfeld at the mic.

economics. So, once more it is the task of those of us who are actually listening, to tell them that we are not interested in what George Herbert Walker Bush once famously referred to as “voo-doo” economics. Often described as “trickle down,” the theory goes like this: If we give really big tax breaks to really big corporations, they will be enticed to expand their businesses, thus becoming (and this is my favorite) “job creators.” At that point, we will all be working and have lots of money and everyone will be happy, because all of that wealth that our well-meaning corporations will have created, will just come trickling down until we are all much better off.

Now, I enjoy a good fairy tale as much as the next fellow, but if we listen closely to this “reform” yarn Ryan and his cohorts are spinning, and allow ourselves to drift off, there will be no sweet dreams. It will more like waking from a nightmare to find our sheets drenched with sweat. For starters, let’s look at the corporate tax rate.

This current house plan calls for a permanent 15% cut, from 35 to 20 percent. This will supposedly remove the burdens from American corporations and make them more competitive. Hmmm? So, what we are supposed to believe here is that lower tax rates are going to persuade the no longer beleaguered companies like Exxon Mobil, Microsoft and Apple to close down all those foreign production plants and deliver those jobs to American workers at wage rates designed to sustain the workers and their families. Everything will then have a “Made in the U.S.A. stamped on it.

And how do we know this is all true? We know it works this way because when Frick, Carnegie, Pullman, Gould, Vanderbilt, Morgan and Rockefeller were in their heyday, and weren’t paying any income taxes at all, they spread their wealth among the workforce that created all that wealth for them and… Wait a minute; that’s not what happened, is it? No, they hired strike breakers goons and thugs to intimidate workers and keep them in their place. They pitted workers against each other by race, gender and national origin and kept wages as low as possible by any means necessary in order to build their empires. They lit their cigars with $10 bills, ate Oysters Rockefeller, and laughed while people outside the gilded halls of power begged and went hungry. But, that could never happen today, could it?

Then there is the other “break for the middle class,” that the Republicans want to give us. That would be the one where they remove the deduction for all the state and local taxes we pay. Then, there is the removal of the tax exemption for mortgage interest.  All this simplification has been described by President Trump as “a big step toward fulfilling our promise to deliver historic tax cuts for the American people by the end of the year.”

That statement doesn’t seem to quite line up with the results of the most recent Quinnipiac poll whose results are as follows:

  • Sixty-one percent of voters said the plan would mainly help the wealthy. Twenty-four percent responded that it would primarily benefit the middle class, while only 6 percent said the same about low-income people.
  • The proposals favor the rich at the expense of the middle class, 59 percent of respondents said. Only 33 percent disagreed with that statement.
  • Only 36 percent of respondents said the GOP effort will lead to more jobs and better economic growth. A majority, 52 percent, disagreed.
  • Thirty-six percent of voters said the proposals would not have much of an effect on their taxes. Thirty-five percent said the plan would increase what they pay, while 16 percent said it would reduce their tax burden.

I stand pretty clearly on the side of the 61%. I see windfall profits for the corporations, little relief for small business, and a greater burden for those of us who already feel like we are dancing as fast as we can. At this point, there are two threads of help at which we can cling. The first is that when this bill arrives at the Senate floor it either dies or gets modified to the point of sanity. The second is that the Republicans don’t help us with another health care plan, unless of course we wind up getting the same one that Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnel already have.

November 20, 2017

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