On Wednesday, November 29th, on behalf of Lewinsville Faith in Action, I attended a Mom’s Rising press conference on the Republican’s “obscene” budget proposal in the Senate’s LBJ room. Senators Bob Casey (Pa –D) and Senator Mazie Hirono (Hi –D), armed with facts and barely concealed moral outrage, slammed the Senate Republicans’ proposed tax bill. Following the senators’ presentation, two mothers spoke movingly about how, if passed, this budget proposal would radically effect, if not ruin their families.
The press conference proved to be a brilliant interweaving of policy, of tangible impact on actual people and impact on who we are as a people, a people who reach out to help up, not people who take from to keep down.
As written, here’s what the bill will do – in short, the “have nots” will pay for the “already haves.” Specifics: in 2019, the 34.6% of American households making less than $30,000 will see a tax increase; the 66.4% making less than $75,000 will see a tax increase by 2027; those making $75-100k can get a $1,200 tax break; $100-200k a $2,100 break; $200-500k a $6,500 break; $500-1mil a $21,700 break, and millionaires can get a $60,000 tax break (data from PBS Newshour). So the tax cut benefits are hardly significant to most of those getting them while all those just scraping by will pay more taxes. Unbelievable.
Senator Casey described the current tax bill as theft:
- Theft of Future: Without mortgage and student loan deductions and reductions in supports for children and families, millions of those just starting out will be robbed of their futures.
- Theft of Health: 13 million Americans will lose health care insurance.
- Theft, Hijacking, of Process: No open hearings on the first major tax bill in a generation.
Senator Hirono described the bill as a “a solution in search of a problem.” She rightly questioned why an economy with record high corporate profits and stock market valuations needs to give tax cuts to corporations. She scorned the argument that corporations would really use yet more cash to create jobs or raise wages. Indeed, after giving big banks almost $1 trillion in 2008, Republicans suddenly discovered the “debt/deficit problem” and fought against President Obama’s stimulus bill at a time when stimulus was needed to stoke demand and create jobs. Now that such stimulus is not needed, Republicans have forgotten about debt hampering our children and grand children and argue for stimulus via tax cuts. Economics 101 turned on its head!! Or perhaps Senator Casey nailed it when he concluded by saying the increased debt, $1.5 trillion over the next decade, will put pressure on Congress to deeply cut essential programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, SNAP (food stamps), housing assistance, education, environmental protection, and countless others.
A tax bill is actually a credo – what we believe, what we value, what we will support and defend. The bill stands as the quintessential opposite of “love thy neighbor.” Rather, it’s take from your neighbor, deplete him/her as much as you can, putting more into already overly-bulging wallets.
This is not governing. I agree with Senator Casey: It’s theft.