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Even a cursory look shows that the Republican tax plan will be a disaster for low-income and middle class families.

Republican Tax Cuts

Republicans plan on massive tax cuts for the wealthiest amongst us, including reducing the top marginal tax rate from 39.6% to 37%, permanently reducing the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%, and eliminating the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act. The cost to the rest of us will be staggering, with most economists projecting the vast majority of Americans will actually pay more taxes ten years down the road, and the ACA cuts will take away healthcare from 13 million people after a decade.

In California the impact of the plan will be felt even more deeply than in other states because the plan caps the amount of money homeowners can deduct for property and local and state taxes, ultimately creating strong pressure to lower these taxes which are the basis for funding our schools, libraries, and other essential services.

It is actually generous to call this trickle-down economics. To be more accurate and blunt, this broadly unpopular tax plan is a smash and grab, class warfare plain and simple.

Don’t worry though, buried in the details of the plan are even more insidious breaks for the wealthy base of the Republican party, with members of Congress personally benefiting from targeted breaks in order to win over their votes.

It is actually generous to call this trickle-down economics. To be more accurate and blunt, this broadly unpopular tax plan is a smash and grab, class warfare plain and simple.

We shouldn’t be too surprised. The tax cuts are part of a broader plan. The Republican Party knows what to do when they control the reins of government. Whether it’s local, state, or national government they move quickly to enact their anti-worker, anti-government agenda. They push through laws that make it more difficult for workers to unionize or keep their unions, and they enact laws to benefit their elite constituency. They may push back hard when progressives call it class warfare, but it is plain to see this tax plan exposes them for who they are.

They do so of course while appealing to working class voters who are not only dissatisfied with the lukewarm rhetoric of the Democrats, but who, unfortunately, buy into the notion that what is good for elite Americans also benefits them. Indeed, for many Trump supporters, his wealth is an indication of his inherent goodness, even though it was primarily earned by his father.

This tax bill may be a bridge too far though. People are not buying it. Sure, the President and Republican legislators give lip service to how this will lead to growth and more jobs. They talk about how this plan will be more simplified and how it benefits working and middle-class Americans. These preposterous claims are easily seen through by clear majorities of Americans who understand that cutting taxes for corporations and the wealthy will do little more than reward shareholders.

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The need for such dramatic cuts is also belied by the health of the economy. Job growth continues to be strong, and investment, at least as evidenced by Wall Street, sets new highs. That’s not to say that millions of Americans are not hurting. They are. But that’s the result of a global restructuring that has decimated broad swaths of this country with little chance of coming back in the near future unless American workers are willing to accept wages of $1.50 a day. The result is deepening income inequality and lack of investment in our infrastructure and schools, all of which will be made worse by this tax plan.

In addition to rewarding the extremely wealthy, what this tax plan is really about is creating a pretext for cutting what are essential, and very popular, government programs – Social Security and Medicare. Deepen the budget deficit and then argue that the only way to take on the deficit is to make cuts to these and other government programs, save military spending of course.

The not so hidden agenda for public education is to create worsening conditions for our schools and thereby drive parents to vouchers and privatization when neighborhood schools deteriorate from lack of funding.

Most legislators learn how to temper their comments to navigate the tricky world of social media. Occasionally they just can’t help themselves from saying what they really think. Republicans’ unabashed disdain for working Americans was exposed in full glory when Iowa Senator Charles Grassley justified eliminating the estate tax by resorting to a familiar refrain about working people “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.”

Really, and here I thought buying a six pack and going to the movies helped the economy? Seriously though, Republicans who vote for this tax plan will own it. The 2018 elections will be an opportunity to express our collective opposition to a tax plan that so blatantly punishes working and middle-class families while lining the pockets of those who have benefited the most from growing income inequality.

If history teaches us anything, it’s that the greed of the Robber Barons of the late 1800s and the excesses of the 1920s sparked an awakening for people on the lower rungs of the economic ladder.

Working people can only be pushed so far and then they demand change. Republicans may think they have gamed the system with this plan. But they will rue the day this tax plan got adopted.

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For those of us who spend a lifetime in public education, that can’t come soon enough.

Josh Pechthalt