Ben Boyce


Tax cuts for the rich — the real death panel

Posted on December 22, 2017 by Ben Boyce
This week, the Senate, voting on party lines, passed their version of the mysterious ‘tax reform’ bill, which puts this generationally catastrophic wealth transfer to the 1% one step closer to becoming law. Policy wonks can get into the weeds and try to tweak the reconciliation legislation in the House/Senate Conference Committee.  That will require another vote in both chambers, which represents another power point to leverage Congress. The Republican leadership is desperately motivated to put any score on the board by the end of the year.

Only a massive grass-roots full-spectrum campaign, similar to the public outcry that preserved the ACA, might potentially peel off swing state Congress members on the ‘Tax Cuts for the Rich’ bill.  I am all for putting up a good fight, down to the wire.  That said, the most probable conclusion to this initiative is passage by Congress and on to the Oval Office for a signature on a regressive, social Darwinist, lobbyist-written shipwreck of a bill.

The trend described by the renowned sociologists Mann and Ornstein, in the book “It’s Even Worse Than It Looks” charted the asymmetric polarization of the American electorate. There is no polite way to say it. The Republican Party has become “…an extremist outlier, scornful of compromise, and unwilling to accept the legitimacy of their opposition.” The mainstream Democratic Party operatives need to wake up and recognize that politics in America is not a West wing episode. It is an increasingly transparent raw struggle for power.

There is no moral rationale, under any religious code or ethical system, for using the power of high office to pass a law that would immiserate and blight the lives of tens of millions for the sake of a few thousand ultra-wealthy plutocrats.

They seem to take satisfaction in stripping the threadbare coat off of poor single women and their kids, casually evicting working-class families living one paycheck from homelessness, and sending in platoons of Federalist Society trained conservative lawyers to strip-mine public sector pensions that were the meager protection in old age for teachers, social workers, and firemen.

The economic predators are driven to rob working families of a minimal sense of basic physical safety and stability, and all for what? To give a suitcase of public money to an elite few dozen billionaire families in the luxury suites and one big conference hall full of multi-millionaire plutocrats, hedge fund managers, trust fund babies, tax shelter scammers, and money launderers? What public good justifies these ethically indefensible cash bonuses to the wealthiest class, over and above their already extraordinary level of personal wealth?

It is hard not to disdain the self-absorbed plutocrats who pay PR professionals, tax attorneys, and off-shore banking Mafioso to cloak them from the legal consequences of their theft from the common good of our society. The irresponsible rich want us to treat them as if they had social respectability, as they cold-bloodedly steal from old people on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security and poor kids on food stamps. The obscene outsized tax handouts for the rich are paid for by redistributing the money from basic lifeline social services that provide food and shelter for low-income women with children, sick and disabled citizens in red states that spurn the Medicaid expansion, old people on Medicare, defunding public school systems and public universities, and refusing to invest in infrastructure maintenance.

This is a level of sociopathic indifference to the quality of life for tens of millions of poor and working class people that reveal a deep moral depravity. This grotesque Republican tax bill has brought out both my inner neo-Marxist. We clearly need stronger medicine than the exhausted 20th century liberal centrist project, which has been defeated. The cultural Left, unmoored from historical perspective and the intellectual discipline of socialist dialectic, will consume itself.

We need a sturdy 21st century progressive paradigm to stand as a counter-point to the rise of a white nationalist neo-fascist nativist movement. The identity card strategy of traditional liberalism is played out. The Right trumped it with their new ‘white patriot’ identity card. The progressive task is to make the nexus between economic reality and social conditions the foreground message.

On the local beat, the Sonoma Valley Democrats recently hosted the “Conversation with Sheriff Candidates” at the Sonoma Springs Community Hall on Monday, November 27th.  More than 60 local voters attended and asked questions regarding cooperation with ICE, community relations, and police violence. The remaining candidates are Mark Essick, John Mutz and Ernesto Olivares. This is the first genuinely competitive race for the County Sherriff in over twenty-five years. Social justice groups in the county are deeply engaged in this election, because they want to see a paradigm shift in local law enforcement. We need a good Sheriff, to heal frayed community relations.

One thought on “Tax cuts for the rich — the real death panel

  1. The Republican attack on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid is an attack on women. They have fewer resources for retirement but live longer. Many women rely on Medicaid for their children.

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