About 100 outraged citizens recently demonstrated outside the office of Rep. Steve Knight, R-Palmdale, in Simi Valley. We demanded that he “Kill the Bill,” namely, the deeply unpopular Republican tax bill. It will produce a massive transfer of wealth to the super-rich at his constituents’ expense. Yet he voted for it. Why?
“It’s hard to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it” (Upton Sinclair, novelist). Republican politicians get campaign contributions from billionaires, who made it plain that they expected a return on their investment.
Knight is counting on voters’ ignorance. He said, “The numbers are pretty clear. When they sit down with their [accountant] or by themselves, I think they are going to see a difference.” Indeed, Knight’s voters will get a tiny break, around $60, for a few years. But then comes the booby-trap. Later on, many will pay HIGHER taxes, siphoning wealth upwards via the tax code.
The cuts for taxpayers earning under $75,000 will expire. But tax cuts for companies and the wealthy will remain in place. The top 1 percent will get 83 percent of the benefit from the scheme (Tax Policy Center). People like you in the bottom 99 percent will pay for Knight’s cronies gorging at the trough.
I have visited pig farms. It is not a pretty sight to see pigs gorging. And it was not a pretty sight as Republicans rushed the legislation through Congress, squealing with delight at looting the treasury to fill the trough. For once, the media have done a decent job of pointing this out.
And to pay for more banquets for plutocratic piggies, the Obamacare subsidies that kept insurance underwriting pools viable will be abolished. An estimated 13 million will lose health insurance. Another 9 million children will lose Medicaid coverage. Thousands will suffer. These are Republican “family values.”
Once again, Americans have been told the lie that the tax cuts of nearly $1.5 trillion will generate so much economic activity that tax revenues and employment will magically grow. But not even the conservative Economist magazine expects this. Corporate executives have made it clear they will pass the tax cuts along to their shareholders, to drive up stock prices and boost executive pay.
And we have seen this movie before. It is a horror movie. We saw it under President Ronald Reagan. His tax cuts nearly tripled the national debt. Furthermore, here is a chart from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. President George Bush Junior’s tax cuts (yellow, top area of chart) also produced nothing. They simply inflated national debt.
This projection of national debt was on the low side. Bush’s wars (red area, second) did not end, as expected. The economic downturn (mid-blue, third) lasted longer than expected (due to our old friend Reaganomics, still throttling the economy). Most importantly, Bush’s tax cuts (yellow, top) were extended under President Barack Obama due to Republican blackmailing tactics.
The Reagan and Bush tax cuts ran up America’s debt massively: 70 percent of America’s debt incurred since 1836 was due to them when Obama took office. They produced virtually nothing except political contributions for Republican politicians. Republicans screamed about “deficits” under Obama, but will now use it to mortgage America’s future by another $1.5 trillion and pass the loot along to their cronies as payoff for political contributions.
In Orwell’s Animal Farm, the pigs live in luxury at the expense of the other animals. Job One for Steve Knight is to make sure they do so in America. Mr. Knight, sir, I too shall give you a contribution. It will be a can of ham. Keep it for when you get canned by the voters in November 2018.