Opinion » Letter From The Editor

Taxing Times

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"The average American family would get a $4,000 raise under the president's tax cut plan. So how could any member of Congress be against it?"

That was Sarah Huckabee Sanders, speaking about President Trump's tax "plan" last week. Trump claimed (falsely, amazingly enough) that his plan would be the "largest tax cut in American history." Not even close, but who's even counting the lies these days?

As writer Franklin Leonard smartly pointed out: "If I give 10 apples to one person and no apples to nine people, the average person has one apple. Why are nine people mad at me?"

This is a spot-on analogy for Trump's approach. The real tax breaks under the plans being put forth by the administration and the GOP will go to the wealthy and corporations. The middle class will get squat, and as a bonus, the plan just passed by the Senate cuts $473 billion from Medicare and nearly $1 trillion from Medicaid over the next 10 years. These cuts will affect 125 million Americans.

Some break, eh?

Factcheck.org analyzed the Senate tax plan and released a report that stated in part: "For the highest earners — those in the top 1 percent and top 0.1 percent — nearly all would see lower taxes. Ninety percent of the top 1 percent — those earning about $900,000 and above in 2027 — would get a tax cut, averaging $234,050." Conversely, middle-income households ($50,000 to $90,000 incomes) would receive an average tax break of $660, and, according to Politifact.com, "by 2027, more than one of every four middle-income families would pay more in taxes."

As has been the case in recent weeks, there was pushback from Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, who urged the president to quit negotiating before the final budget process begins. Corker has seldom been a warrior for the middle class, but at least he's not groveling before Trump. That won't be the case with the Republicans running to take Corker's seat in 2018 — Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn and former Congressman Stephen Fincher.

Fincher was in the Flyer offices last week being interviewed by Senior Editor Jackson Baker. He talked a good game: "People want somebody to represent us and not fall into the trap of status quo politics, caring only about the next rung up on the ladder," Fincher said. "Marsha's a career politician, a career candidate, used to being on Fox News every night. I'm just a farmer from Frog Jump."

That sounds good, but then the Frog Jump farmer added: "I intend to support President Trump. I think his policies are 100 percent spot-on."

Lord help us. I keep wondering when the American public will begin to see this Tea Party/Trump agenda for what it is — a total capitulation to corporatism and oligarchy. It is not "Christian." It is not "conservative." It is not "patriotic." It is a greed-based perversion of our democracy. And Trump's divisive, childish, self-absorbed antics are dividing us more with each passing day.

I posted a column by satirist Andy Borowitz on Facebook the other day. The title was: "Trump Says He Is Only President in History with Courage to Stand Up to War Widows." Borowitz "quoted" Trump as saying "You look at guys like Obama and Clinton and the Bushes, when it came to war widows, they all blinked. For years, we weren't winning at widows."

I count it as an indication of how far down the Trump rabbit hole we have gone that some people who read this weren't sure it was satire. "Is this real?" one woman wrote.

Not yet. But when the president of the United States is so mentally fragile that he would attack the pregnant widow of a soldier killed in combat and call her a liar on Twitter, we're getting close.

One assumes Fincher and Blackburn would approve.

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