William Larsen: Selling ourselves for so little
Terry McLaughlin made a good point in her column on the tax bill. The problem is, with complex matters such as this, good points are easily had. In fact, they abound.
It’s what is not stated that reveals the writer’s understanding of — and concern for — the larger issue.
And what exactly is Terry’s point? As I read it, beyond getting in her partisan digs, the entire column came down to the indisputable (and oft repeated) fact that “we” — the ever beleaguered middle class who can still afford a buck to buy a newspaper — are going to get a tax cut. Of course, “only time will tell,” but “we” can expect to start seeing that bump pretty darn soon. And, oh yes, a full 91 percent of the one per-centers also get a tax cut, and you can bet it’s a lot more than yours (which is likely less than the “average $2,100” mentioned in Terry’s column). But still, “we” are going to do just fine.
OK, cool, who doesn’t like a bit more money? But what is not being stated here?
That would be the needs of children, the poor and the elderly. Really now, in a pluralistic society that is supposedly the home of the free, with “liberty and justice for all,” can’t we at least mention the effect this tax bill will have on the poorest of our people (not in any column by the political Right that I have seen)? Oh, I know, terms like “our people” are vomit sticks to many right-wingers. No offense, but I just happen to know and work with folks whose health and welfare will be very adversely affected by the domestic cuts coming because of this bill.
While another $1.5 trillion of boondoggle money is being added to our national debt.
In particular, this bill is a disaster for the elderly. AARP, the nation’s largest retirement organization, estimates that taxes will rise (not lower) for 1.2 million Americans over the age of 65 in 2019. Additionally, by 2027, there will be tax hikes for 5.2 million older Americans. What is worse, according to AARP’s president Jo Ann Jenkins, the huge tax break for the mega-wealthy will result in drastic future cuts to medicaid and other programs supporting the poor, ill, elderly and youngest members of our society. Ominously, this comes at a time when support for these programs are already being cut to dangerous levels.
Make no mistake about it. The reality underlying our need for a tax overhaul (our nation’s domination by the mega-wealthy elite) is fathoms deeper than the obvious facade of this politically motivated crumbs-on-the-table giveaway to the rich. Oh, I get it. The middle class has been knocked around for decades, and absolutely does need relief. But on the backs of the poor? The frail elderly? While the wealthiest among us make out like bandits?
And we accept this?
Here’s something else the great American middle class should consider. We probably all remember the heartbreaking lament from the Holocaust: “They came for the socialists and I did not speak out. They came for the unionists and I did not speak out. They came for the Jews and I did not speak out. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.” Well, get ready guys, the folks who brought you this tax bill will need to pay for their astronomical scam, and crucifying the poor and elderly isn’t going to make it. They’ll be coming for your MediCare and Social Security before long. Ryan and McConnell have stated as much. If you don’t stand for the disenfranchised now, who do you think is going to speak for you then?
Yes, the main point of McLaughlin’s column is undeniable. “We,” are going to get a few more bucks to maintain our standard of living. Undoubtedly, compromises do have to be made in formulating public policy, but politicians have prostituted themselves forever to maintain their power at the expense of the common good. And now (like their Republican representatives) the American people — who were overwhelmingly against the Republican tax plan — seem to be lapping up their tax breaks with little concern for the effects the bill perpetrates on their fellow citizens.
How sad that we’ve sold ourselves for so little.
William Larsen lives in Nevada City.
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