On September 27, 2017, Donald Trump described his tax plan as a “middle class miracle.” He has said repeatedly that rich people like him will be hurt by the plan.
Trump and his fellow Republicans think the rest of us are stupid. Not only that, they think we are lazy drunks who expect the government to take care of us.
On Saturday, December 2, 2017, hours after rushing through a tax bill that no one had the chance to read, without hearings, and without even time to have a clean copy typed up, Sen. Charles E. Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, said this about repealing the estate tax: “I think not having the estate tax recognizes the people that are investing, as opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies.”
A few days before that, Sen. Orrin Hatch, a Republican from Utah, said this about CHIP, the Children’s Health Insurance Program that provides coverage for more than 9 million American children and which expired last summer: “I have a rough time wanting to spend billions and billions and trillions of dollars to help people who won’t help themselves, won’t lift a finger and expect the federal government to do everything.”
So, let’s take a look at each of these claims by Republicans who claim to be the leaders of this great nation.
Far from being “hurt” by the Republican tax plan, Trump stands to save north of $30 million per year, based on looking at the one year of tax returns the public has had the opportunity to see (thanks to Trump’s second ex-wife). But that pales in comparison to the savings his children will enjoy from the elimination of the estate tax, which is likely to be in the billions.
Sen. Grassley seems to believe that rich people deserve to be rewarded with tax breaks because they have been disciplined enough to invest and not spend all their money on booze, women, and movies. Except that it is the heirs of those who have presumably eschewed those middle class vices of booze, women, and movies who stand to benefit from the elimination of the estate tax. Viewed that way, it seems much more likely that the tax bill was designed to preserve the status quo — that is, ensure that the rich stay rich(er) and those at the bottom stay in their place, at the bottom. Also, it plainly ignores the reality that most Americans are barely making ends meet — not because they spend all their money on booze, women, and movies but because their income barely pays for rent and groceries — and thus have nothing left over to invest.
Turning to Sen. Hatch’s lovely remarks, I literally have never met a single person ever in my life that fits his description. This is a theme the Republicans trotted out decades ago — the image of the welfare queen, popping out one baby after another in an effort to increase her welfare check. I’ve met a lot of people in my 58 years on this planet, but I have yet to meet someone who “won’t lift a finger and expect[s] the federal government to do everything.”
While there may, in fact, be some people who feel that way, it by no means is an accurate description of the average family that depends on the CHIP program to ensure their children receive proper medical care. This is a program that didn’t exist when my children were little. On more than one occasion, we had no health insurance for them. Contrary to Sen. Hatch’s assertions that people like us refuse to “lift a finger,” my husband and I both worked long hours. After spending a third of our income on rent and another third on day care — after taxes, of course — there wasn’t always enough left to cover a hefty insurance premium. That’s the reality many families still face today, whether Hatch wants to believe it or not. But it’s so much easier to demonize the least among us, isn’t it?
As for these huge numbers of people who don’t want to lift a finger to help themselves, it seems logical to me that the entire economy of the United States would collapse if there were really all these people who “expect the federal government to do everything.” I see an awful lot of people working, driving to work, dropping their kids at daycare before they go to work, celebrating when the weekend comes and they have a couple of days where they don’t have to go to work, and counting the days till their one or two weeks of vacation from work. So, who are these people who are sitting around expecting the government to do everything for them? Again, I suspect there are some — after all, every rung of the socioeconomic ladder has its rotten bits — but that hardly describes the vast majority of people, even those who do receive some government assistance.
Republicans are very good at lying, twisting facts, manipulating the truth, pointing fingers, and in general, putting on a good show that I guess is what allows them to sleep at night and most definitely is what allows them to keep their jobs. But sometimes they just can’t hide their utter contempt for the vast majority of Americans.
Republicans claim their tax plan will save the “typical American” $1,200 a year. That’s cool. Who couldn’t use an extra hundred bucks a month? But what exactly is the “typical American”? To hear Grassley and Hatch tell it, most Americans are lazy drunks who spend all their money chasing women and going to movies, who will not lift a finger to help themselves and expect the government to do everything for them. Are these the same people who can expect $25 less per week withheld from their paychecks? I’m confused.
If the descriptions Grassley and Hatch have offered is what they believe to be the “typical” American, then I am most certainly not typical. In fact, I don’t know anyone who is typical. As I explained in my post about why I stopped voting Republican, I work damn hard, typically seven days a week. So does my husband, my sons, and my daughter-in-law. One of my sons volunteered for the armed forces in a time of war. He has served for 8 years so far and spent 10 months on deployment in service to his country. Among Donald Trump, Chuck Grassley, and Orrin Hatch, not one of them has served one single day in uniform. Yet the paychecks they collect from the government are orders of magnitude higher than the meager one my son receives. Are they suggesting my son must spending every penny on booze, women, and movies just because he has nothing leftover after paying bills to invest and someday pass on to his daughter?
So, we’re told we might get to keep $1,200 more in our pockets each year — or we might not, depending on our situation — but that isn’t quite the same as the $30+ million benefit Trump and those like him will enjoy. In fact, it’s entirely possible that some of us currently struggling to make ends meet will end up paying more, not less in taxes.
Regardless, the truth has revealed itself. Had we not already been sufficiently disabused of the notion that Republicans give a damn about hardworking Americans, small business owners, or the deficit, all doubt has now been removed. We now fully understand what they think of us. Remember that next time you hear them preach about values. What Republicans value are rich people, and they have a vested interest in keeping the rest of us ignorant, uneducated, and in our place. Miraculous, isn’t it? Merry Christmas.