Saturday, December 2, 2017

Senate Republicans Pass Their "Wealthfare" Bill, Get Ready To Gut Entitlement Programs

They just couldn't help themselves.

Once un-principled weasels like Maine Sen. Susan Collins, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, and Arizona Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake capitulated one by one to their tribal instincts to afflict the afflicted and comfort the comfortable, the Republican wealthfare tax bill was sure to pass.  And it did in the wee hours this morning by a 51-49 party line vote, with no "regular order" or time to review what was in the bill. Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker was the only Republican who voted no, due to his "concerns" about blowing up the deficit.

Here's a very brief summary of the lowlights:
Senate Republicans passed a $1.5 trillion tax bill early Saturday morning that bestows massive benefits on corporate America and the wealthy while delivering mixed blessings to everybody else. [snip] 
The centerpiece of the GOP plan is a move to lower the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent, starting in 2019. The Senate tax bill would also temporarily cut tax rates for families and individuals until 2025. 
But the bill would kill a number of tax benefits. It would subject fewer people to the estate tax, a levy charged on massive inheritances, but stop short of eliminating that tax altogether. 
The most recent review of the bill by the Joint Committee on Taxation, Congress’s nonpartisan tax analysts, found that only 44 percent of taxpayers would see their burden reduced by more than $500 in 2019 but that high earners would fare much better than the poor under the bill. 
And the bill makes other changes that reach far beyond the tax code itself. It repeals the individual mandate from the Affordable Care Act, a major change that was added in recent weeks as part of a broader GOP effort to dismantle the Obama-era law. The individual mandate creates penalties for many Americans who don’t have health insurance, but the repeal would leave 13 million more people uninsured. It authorizes oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. And by curtailing deductions for state and local taxes, it will put pressure on some state and local spending on education, transportation and public health programs. (our emphasis)
But, as sweet as this pile of steaming sociopathy is to Republicans, it's just an appetizer for the main course:
High-ranking Republicans are hinting that, after their tax overhaul, the party intends to look at cutting spending on welfare, entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare, and other parts of the social safety net. [snip]
While whipping votes for a GOP tax bill on Thursday, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) attacked “liberal programs” for the poor and said Congress needed to stop wasting Americans' money. 
“We're spending ourselves into bankruptcy,” Hatch said. “Now, let's just be honest about it: We're in trouble. This country is in deep debt. You don't help the poor by not solving the problems of debt, and you don't help the poor by continually pushing more and more liberal programs through.” (our emphasis)
Yes, those damn liberal programs like Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, the Children's Health Insurance Program, the Affordable Care Act, etc.! Hatch* wouldn't want to waste more money on that stuff when it can be given to corporations and the wealthy as tax cuts. It's feed- the- fat- cats- and- hope- something- trickles- down- but- it- never- does  economics.  Or, as the wonderful John Dingell put it before the final vote:

Make no mistake: this is Class Warfare at its most cruel.  This monstrous piece of reactionary wealth distribution needs to be hung around the necks of Republicans at every level, just as the Trump- Russia scandal and Roy Moore should be. It's another perfect example of their rotted- out core.

(Photo: You know where you can stick that thumb, right?)

*BONUS:  In case you don't know him, Hatch is this semi- mummified octogenarian millionaire --

Recent Hatch quote:  Rump is "one of the best I've served under."

BONUS IIHere's a little more demonstrating Hatch's capacity for inhumanity.

BONUS III:  Steve M. at No More Mister Nice Blog looks at uber- hypocrite Jeff Flake in "a conservative and his conscience." 


DivaNewYork said...

Love the way they co-opted the word entitlements when they are actually earned benefits.

We have to make them own this bill every single day and sweep them out in a blue tidal wave in November 2018.

W. Hackwhacker said...

Resist. Organize. Vote.