Published in the Center City Concerned Citizens Review, January, 2018
By Joseph Batory
There was widespread jubilation among the Republican majority in Congress and their imperial President when the tax reform package was passed in late December. But you have to wonder what these politicians were so happy about.
Prior to the tax reform bill passage, the highly-reputable University of Pennsylvania Wharton School had released an ominous analysis of the Republican tax plan which concluded that even under favorable economic conditions in the future, the plan would add more than $1 trillion to the national debt. Additionally, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office had issued similar dire warnings in advance of the vote. So now we have legislation which will bequeath a dramatically increased national debt to future generations of Americans. And yet, this debacle set off a joyous celebration among Republicans. Ironically, this new tax bill totally betrays Republican conservatism. And beyond politics, it is in fact economic lunacy which echoes Trump’s history: Spend extravagantly and let someone else deal with the bill later!
Republican elected officials clearly failed to listen to the American people regarding this tax reform proposal. Just prior to the Congressional vote, an independent poll financed by CNN revealed that 55% of the public were opposed to the bill with only 33% in favor. Other polls by Gallup, Quinnipiac University, and CBS produced similar substantial opposition among our nation’s citizens to this legislation.
So who were these politicians listening to and who are they serving? The answer is that this tax reform bill is primarily about “corporate welfare, “giving huge tax breaks to businesses and wealthy individuals.
Meanwhile, the real needs of our nation have been ignored by this Congress. The latest United Nations report has reported that forty million Americans live in poverty, nearly twenty million in deep poverty. The United States now has the highest child poverty rates — 25 percent — in the developed world. The extremely poor in our nation don’t have access to basic human services such as sanitation, shelter, education and health care. This UN report summarizes:
The American Dream is rapidly becoming the American Illusion since the United States now has the lowest rate of social mobility of any of the rich countries.” In 1981, the top 1 percent of USA adults earned on average 27 times more than the bottom 50 percent of adults. Today the top 1 percent earns 81 times more than the bottom 50 percent.
All of this is reminiscent of a “let them eat cake” philosophy which ultimately led to the French Revolution. The Republican tax reform is little more than a “gift to the rich.” It is brutally devoid of programs to rebuild the self-respect, humanity and quality of life for those most in need in our country. It is the antithesis of what great political leadership in the USA throughout our history has been about.
The New Deal and The Great Society once emphasized that government should follow a moral principle that everyone in America is worthy of a decent life. Social Security, Unemployment Insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps, and other such programs stressed the ideal that Americans should not be left to fend for themselves in difficult times and circumstances.
Unfortunately, this Republican led government today has changed that egalitarianpriority of “concern for all” to a new model of prioritizing humongous taxpayer gifts to corporations and American aristocrats.
Joseph Batory, is the author of three books and has been widely published on politics and education.