In America today, the golden rule means those with the gold make the rules; the rich almost always win, and it’s the rest of us who time and again merely hope for the best.
The good guys don’t always win, and the guys in the white hats aren’t always so good or honest. Both the House and Senate versions of tax bills are best described by a cartoon in the Chattanooga newspaper. It depicted a waiter labeled Congress holding in his right hand a large tray of fine food labeled the rich. In the other hand, a small McDonald’s sack labeled the middle class.
The conflict among the GOP members was best reflected in competing advertisements funded by separate conservative organizations, each pleading for voters to tell selective members of Congress how to vote on the tax bills. One said vote no, it will add more than a trillion dollars to the debt. The other said vote yes because it is all for the benefit of the middle class.
One ad was correct: Every non-partisan analysis estimates these cuts would add more than $1 trillion to the debt. The other argument is mere fantasy. And I am being kind. One assumes a fantasy is just that — rather than a bald-faced lie.
Yes, most of the middle class will see some financial gain from the tax cuts. Those gains pale in comparison to the gifts being handed to the wealthiest Americans and to big business. Furthermore, the middle-class gains are merely temporary, while the other gains are designed for permanence.
How does the GOP sell this? They tell you, as Trump did, that the rich are getting nothing from it and are unhappy, and that it is all for the benefit of the middle class.
How do they respond to those conservatives concerned about the federal debt? They claim that the cuts will miraculously pay for themselves. It matters not that all analysts not associated with the White House unanimously disagree. Even a Congressional study admits the cuts would, at best, add 1 percent to economic growth.
Ask yourself the following questions: Is our economy in such dire straits that it requires massive corporate tax cuts and giveaways to the wealthiest?
Do the rich get a larger share of the pie simply because they earn so much more? Does the trickle-down theory work?
The answers are no, no and no. Corporate America is doing just fine with record profits. Our financial institutions are sitting on a record cache of money.
The middle quintile of taxpayers would see a $660 per family gain while the top 0.1percent would receive an average of nearly $3/4 of a million annually, enough to purchase a new 52-foot yacht each year.
The bottom 95 percent of income levels would see temporary net income bumps of 1.2 percent versus permanent 30 percent for the 0.1 percent, because the middle class benefits disappear, the result of over 35 off-and-on-again gimmicks employed to fool you as to both your real gain and the real cost.
GOP leadership says to remember that a rising tide raises all boats. What they don’t say is that within a decade, only the yachts will maintain their lofty position. When asked, CEOs admit they intend to take the gains from tax cuts and pay down debt, buy back shares and increase bonuses for executives. Furthermore, corporate America’s biggest concern is not the creation of new jobs but, rather, how to fill current job vacancies lacking a labor force with the necessary skills.
It’s time middle class Republican voters snap out of it and realize their party hasn’t got their backs.
Michael Adkins is the former chair of the Hancock County Democratic Party. He lives in Greenfield. Send comments dr-editorial@ greenfieldreporter.com.