Chicago Sun Times
EDITORIAL: House GOP doesn’t care about your taxes, your kids, or you
Sun Times Editorial Board November 17, 2017
House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis., left, leads applause for his fellow Republican legislators on Thursday in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
They don’t care about you.
They don’t care about your taxes.
They care about their corporate patrons above all, the big companies that pay for their election campaigns, put them in office and make them rich.
The House tax overhaul plan that was approved strictly along party lines on Thursday — not a single Democrat signed on — would reduce corporate taxes dramatically and permanently. It would reduce your taxes, as a middle-class family or single person, only temporarily, if at all.
By as early as 2021, your tax bill would shoot right back up. Boeing’s tax bill would not.
They don’t care about your kids’ educations.
The House bill passed Thursday would eliminate the ability for young people burdened by huge student loans to claim a tax deduction on the loan interest. College grads just starting out literally could go bankrupt. It would get rid of a tax incentive for businesses to offer employees help with college tuition.
The House bill would put a tax on college endowments, which might be a good idea for places like Harvard, which has an endowment valued at more than $37 billion, but terrible for most small private colleges, which have only modest endowments and use them to cut tuition for kids who don’t come from money.
They don’t care about your democracy.
Not when it interferes with extreme notions of the unassailable virtues of capitalism, where pretty much all taxes and regulations are evil. These Republicans were elected from radically gerrymandered congressional districts and represent the interests of only a minority of Americans — and an out-of-touch minority at that.
Opinion polls show that most Americans strongly believe corporations should pay more in taxes, not less. But opinion polls are irrelevant when the people’s will, as expressed in a true democracy, is no longer the point.
They don’t care about your health.
Now that the House has passed its bill, this tax overhaul scam moves on to the Senate, where Republicans propose to take the opportunity to also kill Obamacare. The Senate version of tax reform, as currently envisioned, would repeal the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that requires people to have health insurance or pay a penalty. Without that mandate, which the federal government subsidizes, insurance premiums would soar for the sick and the elderly. Thirteen million people eventually would lose insurance.
Republicans in Congress have pledged again and again that they will not kill Obamacare without coming up first with a humane replacement. Where’s the replacement, humane or otherwise?
And why do they want to eliminate the individual mandate? To reduce spending by $338 billion to make room for tax cuts for billionaires.
Champions of Republican-style tax reform say the House bill will lead to higher wages and salaries for ordinary Americans. Corporations, they say, will put a big chunk of the savings into their workers’ pockets. But polls show that a majority of Americans do not believe tax cuts will lead to higher wages, and they are right to be skeptical.
More so than ever in the last half century, corporations shower their money on shareholders and top executives, doing as little as possible for those who work in cubicles, staff assembly lines and push brooms.
Last year, the average CEO of a large American firm was paid 271 times more than the average worker. Back in 1978, CEOs were paid only 30 times more.
Corporations come first in the House tax plan. It would cut the corporate tax rate to 20 percent from 35 percent.
Billionaires come second. The tax plan would cut their taxes, both on an absolute and percentage basis, the most. And it would phase out the federal estate tax by 2025 for even the richest Americans, such as Bill Gates, the Koch brothers and President Donald Trump.
Their children, even if they never worked a productive day in their lives, would possess the great bulk of America’s wealth. A dangerous concentration of American money and power into ever fewer hands would continue apace.
As for you? Get in line.