Americans are not happy with the tax bill that Congress just passed. They believe it’s a give-away to the rich, explodes the deficit and adds to the national debt. They’re right.
Unlike the early 1980s, the public wasn’t clamoring for a tax cut. Only the wealthy and big corporations (otherwise known as the GOP donor base) were. Republicans thought they could buy off the American people by offering them a relatively small tax break but it’s not going to work.
The pain from the Great Recession is still too great. Middle income families still have not recovered and the working poor are faring even worse. Since 2007, middle income families have seen their net worth shrink by $53,000. Low income families are now worth $8,000 less, losing almost half of their net worth in less than a decade.
In contrast, people making over $127,000 a year have seen their net worth increase by $70,000. The stock market is at record highs, with the Dow closing at over 25,000 yesterday. Those gains may give people confidence in the economy and the security of their jobs but it also points out that somebody is doing a lot better financially and it’s not them.
With the exception of the people who delude themselves with Fox News, most Americans know that this tax plan is going to help the people who are benefiting from that stock market a lot more than it’s helping them. They also know that somebody is going to have to pay for that $1 trillion bill and it’s quite likely going to be them.
To pay for his tax cut, Paul Ryan is wants to cut food stamps, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, Social Security and medicaid . He’s going to start with food stamps because, politically, they’re easiest. Much of the Republican base thinks food stamps are for lay-abouts and moochers. In fact, most food stamp recipients are children and about 60% of those who aren’t kids, disabled or elderly are working. So, the real moochers are companies that don’t pay their employees enough to feed their families.
Just once I would like to see a tax reform bill that put money in the pockets of middle class families and was paid for by the richest Americans. Instead, of taking food stamps and health care from poor people to pay for our debt, we should be asking the people who have benefited from the recovery to pay just a little bit more. Maybe when the middle class tax cuts are set to expire next decade, Democrats will have the backbone to say we can’t let those tax cuts for the middle class expire, but we can make the rich pay for them.
Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent twenty years as a political and public affairs consultant. Learn more >