Read ’em and weep:
The Winners and Losers in the Tax Bill
President Trump has called the $1.5 trillion tax cut that Republican lawmakers are on the verge of passing a Christmas present for the entire nation.
But the fine print reveals that some will get a much nicer gift than others, the benefits will change over time, and some will be left out in the cold. Real estate developers and technology companies could see big tax cuts, while low-income households and people buying health insurance could lose out….
This is the public face of the disaster. But it goes a lot deeper than that.
Bad bills have made it through a corrupt and venal congress before. That isn’t really anything new. But we have never really seen anything like this.
The process started a few years ago, seemingly meaninglessly, when Paul Ryan was given SOLE authority to write the budget. Since no budget was passed for years, this didn’t seem so terribly awful, save for this: for the first time in the life of the Republic, ONE man was writing the budget without any input from his own party, let alone the loyal opposition.
Nary a peep was raised, since it either didn’t seem meaningful at the time, or, more likely, nobody in the press corpse had any idea what an abomination and perversion of our fundamental institutions it was. Americans have been systematically dumbed down to near-moron status in the post-Reagan intellectual interregnum and the likelihood that any reporters actually comprehended the sea change that this idiocy presaged is about nil.
Bringing us to THIS moment, carefully pre-rationalized by the GOP’s Talking Points Machine: “Oh, well, Obamacare® was passed without a single Republican vote!”
Au contraire, mon Hitlaire: The Democrats, with a supermajority, fought mightily for months to include Republican suggestions and amendments, etc. It was a semi-bipartisan bill until the last moment, when the Republican leadership decided to enforce a strict NO ON OBAMA regime that continued from the night of his inauguration until he finally stepped onto Marine One, for the flight from the White House.
It was the most vicious (and racist, don’t make any mistake) act of legislative rebellion and duplicity in the history of the Republic. Had Benedict Arnold and several of his clones been in the Continental Congress to enact similar viciousness and obstruction, we’d all be speaking English today.
The Boston Tea Party (Library of Congress)
The quaint notion of “compromise” — enshrined in the Constitution — had been thrown out the window in favor of an opaque, authoritarian mode somewhere between a kabuki play at “legislation” and the dark, secret machinations of the old Soviet Politburo.
As the flagrantly Republican majority of SCOTUS had, in Citizens United, handed the reins of power over to the moneyed classes to buy and sell elections (including one of their own ranks insinuating himself into the presidential chair), so the razor-thin Republican majority in the Senate and their somewhat larger but much more fractious brethren and cistern in the House attempted to PERMANENTLY tilt the playing field to the wealthiest one percent of Americans, virtually ensuring an oligarchy-in-all-but-name until the installation of the First Emperor of the United States, possibly within my lifetime.
Think about it: a bill that will affect EVERY SECTOR of the American economy is put together in secret in the House and the Senate. Both bills pass, using legislative tricks like ‘budget reconciliation’ to sidestep normal process, holds no hearings, allows no input from or information TO the opposition party, engages in backdoor trading, all-but-bribery and all-but-extortion in secret, then passes both versions and “reconciles” the final bill again in secret, again behind closed doors in formerly smoke-filled rooms, as every single Republican senator is carrot-and-sticked into voting for the final bill, which was only released on Friday in the afternoon.
Five hundred pages, clearly slanted towards the wealthy at the expense of the poor, the indigent, the sick, the young and the old. Never has a bill so tall been legislated by a process (and men) so small.
So much for the notion that Republicans are “pro-life.” No: they’re pro-fetus, and then you’re on your own, you moocher in diapers!
They are — Orrin Hatch’s astonishing crocodile-tears of earlier this month notwithstanding — openly bribing the plutocracy to keep them in power with voter-suppression rubber-stamped by ever-more pliable federal courts and judges, and did I mention Mitch McConnell’s strategy of retarding the Obama judicial nominations process to a pace akin to that of molasses in January in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan without an artificial heat source? It seems to be working, as hundreds of judicial vacancies are being filled, with nominees of sometimes almost laughable qualifications.
Another Trump judicial nominee!
But that’s just by the by.
The new tax code even has the buffrontery to blatantly favor and enrich Donald Trump and his family, long after the speeches that “believe me, I will take it on the chin.” According to the New York Times [ibid.]:
PRESIDENT TRUMP AND HIS FAMILY Numerous industries will benefit from the Republican tax overhaul, but perhaps none as dramatically as the industry where Mr. Trump earned his riches: commercial real estate. Mr. Trump, along with his son-in-law Jared Kushner, who is part owner of his own real estate firm, will benefit from lower taxes on so-called “pass through” income, which is money earned by partnerships and other types of businesses whose income is passed through to its owner and taxed at the individual tax rate. Mr. Trump and Mr. Kushner benefit since they own properties through limited liability companies and other similar vehicles.
But we expect that from Trump, whose serial mendacity continues to set new world’s records. We ought just go ahead and change the name of the game of Liar’s Poker, to Trump’s Poker, and be done with it.
What we have not seen before is congress so blatantly hijacked by partisan special interests that the entire tax code is revised to the benefit of billionaires in back rooms devoid of the slightest scintilla of sunshine. Which is, perhaps, entirely apt.
This is a dark bill, even as its vilest provisions were shorn away in the compromise process between House greedheads and Senate greedheads without the slightest input from er, We, the People.
Never before has even the slightest shred of “democratic process” been so haughtily discarded by partisans. The fundamental compact of the Constitution is, in every spiritual and reasonable sense, discarded. In a hurry to do SOMETHING in their fustercluck of a first year of complete control of all branches of government, a monstrous giveaway to the wealthy at the expense of everyone else has been patched together in a process that makes the construction of Frankenstein’s monster a model of elegance and ethical behavior by comparison.
And at the very end, as the maraschino cherry on top of this sundae of kleptocratic excess garnished with the tears of hungry children, they tossed in a big bone for the big dog. Woof woof.
The tax bill itself is almost entirely a separate subject, and its particulars ought not be adjudicated here, but we need to understand that a fundamental principle of our form of governance, already on life support, has died.
A majority of Americans are opposed to it, but that matters little to the GOPs of today — or should I say “toady”?
83 percent were opposed to striking down Net Neutrality, but the chairman of the FCC, a “free market” GOP does not extend that freedom to the franchise. Ayn Rand, you know. The virtue of selfishness, or as the Republicans actually behave: we expect greed (the most toxic of human drives) to miraculously solve all human problems.
Never mind the guys who jack up drug prices a thousand percent and more because they know that without the medicine people die, and they’ll pay through the nose to stop that. Free market solving all human problems, you know.
Oh, and the Tea Partiers? Appropriate question since today marks the anniversary of the Tea Party in Boston in 1773 and Beethoven’s third birthday party, as I write this.
Deficits were going to kill their grandchildren, and they were “Taxed Enough Already”?
An original Tea Party recruiting graphic
Good news. The latest GOPopoly property comes with a $1.5 trillion deficit over the next ten years, but not to worry. This “stimulus” to an economy already recovered and healthily growing along will make it BOOM and grow even faster and it will PAY FOR ITSELF, JUST LIKE THE IRAQ WAR!
Fool me once.
Seriously. “Trickle down” theory (that the rich will take all their new money and invest it in products and jobs that will raise the economy for all) has been propounded by GOPsters since at LEAST the Democratic candidacy of William Jennings Bryan. And IT. HAS. NEVER. WORKED. Wikipedia:
In 1896, Democratic Presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan described the concept using the metaphor of a “leak” in his famous Cross of Gold speech:
- There are two ideas of government. There are those who believe that if you just legislate to make the well-to-do prosperous, that their prosperity will leak through on those below. The Democratic idea has been that if you legislate to make the masses prosperous their prosperity will find its way up and through every class that rests upon it.
Humorist Will Rogers jokingly advised in a column in 1932:
This election was lost four and six years ago, not this year. They [Republicans] didn’t start thinking of the old common fellow till just as they started out on the election tour. The money was all appropriated for the top in the hopes that it would trickle down to the needy. Mr. Hoover was an engineer. He knew that water trickles down. Put it uphill and let it go and it will reach the driest little spot. But he didn’t know that money trickled up. Give it to the people at the bottom and the people at the top will have it before night, anyhow. But it will at least have passed through the poor fellows hands. They saved the big banks, but the little ones went up the flue.
Nothing has changed. The Reagan effort to revitalize the old chestnut fell as flat as did every other attempt. Historically, trickle down economics doesn’t work, but our happy Republicans rejected reason and science long ago (witness the wholesale castration of science and science advisory boards under the Trump Usurpation).
And, therefore, riding their unicorn down to the chocolate ocean, the GOP plans, next week, to release their rainbow butterfly of a tax code revamp and then we will all eat at the ice cream fountain with sprinkles. Amen. Speaking of which, even Pope Francis objects to the notion [ibid.]:
In 2013, Pope Francis referred to trickle-down theories (plural) in his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium with the statement (No.54) (emphasis added)
“Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system.”
Or, shorter: Do you really expect greedos to share with you?
Today, Texas Senator John Cornyn admitted that the real estate pass-through rules were written to get retiring Senate objector Bob Corker (R, Tennessee) to relent on his horrible Tea Party notion that deficits (especially $1.5 trillion deficits) are bad. TRUE Republicans know the truth: deficits are ONLY awful and toxic, unsupportable and inadmissible under DEMOCRATIC administrations. When Republicans do it, it’s OK. Or, It’s Okay If You’re A Republican.
That’s pretty much open bribery; else it is a perfect object lesson on how highfalutin’ “principles” are dealt with by today’s toady GOP Senate Leadership. Treason Turtle strikes agin! (sic)
I seem to have gotten into the weeds of policy. Let us return to the fairway of persiflage, mendacity and the partisan looting of the public treasury.
As President Putt-Putt take his miniature golf show on its final tour of the $9 million taxpayer subsidized season, he brags about the poisoned pill that the GOPsters want us all to swallow. If I noted that he’s a lying sack of offal, it ought not surprise anyone, and consequently, will move no one. You already either knew that, or have your own arsenal of sophistries to explain it away. We shall move on.
The process of a democratic republic no longer holds. We are now, as Princeton noted, an oligarchy, and less noted, we are an entirely OIL-based oligarchy at that.
Which is, teleologically, self-defeating. As our economy and economic policy continues in thrall to the nouveau riche of the dying fossil fuel industry, we have all but irrevocably tied a millstone to our collective necks and taken a long walk off the short pier of world history. The world moves forward as America, the last superpower, foolishly blunders backwards to the metaphorical IR layer of extinction.
That extinction begins this week, as the desperate attempt to prove themselves “relevant” in governance thrusts the GOP even further into dinosaur territory, with the effects to be felt, not by them — they are almost ALL millionaires — but, rather, by YOU, dear reader, as the GOPtopia of sick children, pollution, global warming, economic serfdom and a permanent, clueless oliGOPoly destroys our standing in the world and ends the American experiment in self governance and We, the People.
The simple sad fact is this: The modern GOP doesn’t give a DAMN about “We, the People.” We are seen as moochers, parasites and “second-raters,” in the Nazi-esque rhetoric of Ayn Rand, the patron saint of present Republican cruelty and dismissiveness.
Funny: all those “alpha” males and females of the GOP seem something less than “world-class.” Indeed, they seem to have no class at all.
Wave goodbye, kiddies. Hereinafter, the sham of voting seems more and more like electoral karaoke, with the zillionaires calling the tune, and the anti-human policies of fanatics and ideologues become the holy writ of our Kleptocracy.
On this Third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday, JOY Sunday, there is very little to be joyful ABOUT.
Land of the fearful; home of the subjugated.
In GOP we trust.
And to our doom we dance.
A writer, published author, novelist, literary critic and political observer for a quarter of a quarter-century more than a quarter-century, Hart Williams has lived in the American West for his entire life. Having grown up in Wyoming, Kansas and New Mexico, a survivor of Texas and a veteran of Hollywood, Mr. Williams currently lives in Oregon, along with an astonishing amount of pollen. He has a lively blog, His Vorpal Sword (no spaces) dot com.