Sigh. If I’d known the tax bill was coming up early Saturday morning, I’d have called my senators, not that it would have made a difference.
While we don’t know exactly what’s in the bill, we do know it means big tax cuts for the rich. While a lot of press has focused on the donor pressure on Republicans, we should remember they’re rich men themselves: the bill amounts to giving themselves a massive tax cut (both Burr and Tillis are multi-millionaires) and screwing over the rest of us. As a lot of Dem Senators are wealthy too, I’m pleased none of them voted for it (Bob Corker was the lone holdout on the Republican side).
Next up: gutting Social Security and Medicare. Rep. Paul Ryan, who went through college on Social Security disability money his family received is looking forward to making it harder for other people to get the same help.
Jonathan Chait points out that lots of rich people see themselves as Ayn Rand-style superachievers: They’ve earned their wealth! Taking it away in taxes is like what Hitler did to the Jews (spoiler: no, it’s not). It’s a manifestation of the underlying fear that democracy is bad because it allows the poor to vote themselves welfare on the backs of the rich. Just like health coverage is a giveaway for people who don’t care for themselves.
Of course, we’ve never seen that massive poor-dominated Robin Hood take-from-the-rich thing happen; if anything it’s usually the rich sucking from the rest of us. As in this case.
Even if we assume that it’s unfair to raise taxes on the rich, it should be just as unfair to raise taxes on the middle-class or the poor, but the rich have no problems with that. And the conviction that being rich proves they’ve earned it is fallacious. CEO pay, for example, doesn’t track performance. I’ve read multiple accounts over the years of CEOs whose companies enter bankruptcy or see stock prices plummet; the board’s response is to reward the CEO because they did the best they could in a tough time, or to incentivize them to do their difficult job (apparently millions of dollars in pay is not an incentive in itself). Poor people need to suffer more to make them work, but rich people need more rewards.
Nor do their concerns about persecution translate into an enthusiasm for say, putting the people in Wells Fargo’s corrupt fake-accounts scam in jail or holding them accountable (no, that’s interference with business). Nor do they apply the same standards to people like Curt Schilling, the pitcher who took millions in loans from Rhode Island to launch a company but didn’t pay it all back when the company tanked (he did, however, pull his own money out). Schilling still insists (and perhaps believes) he’s not some welfare queen. Nor are they troubled by Trump evading his debts with multiple bankruptcies. And I doubt they’ll do much about Texas Rep. Blake Farenthold using $84,000 of taxpayer money (though apparently legally) to settle a sexual harassment case.
As for Republican voters, Breitbart has just announced We Win, Tax Cuts For All! Voters who rely on Breitbart, Fox News and Info Wars for the truth will never blame Republicans.