As one by one the holdout Republican Senators shed their spines and fall in line behind Trump ahead of the looming GOP tax bill vote, America’s prospects for future prosperity dim. The legislation is a colossal handout to the hyperwealthy built upon the backs of the middle class. It will skyrocket the deficit and make the lives of average Americans tougher. It’s classic Republican reverse Robin Hood economics.
In a newly published Washington Post article, historian Robert S. McElvaine says that the Republican bill is ripped straight from 1929, echoing what the GOP passed right before the Great Depression.
The historic economic crash of the 1930’s was precipitated by a decade of disastrous Republican policies which spurned the poor and middle class in favor of catering to the rich. The massive tax cuts to the 1% that Republicans of the time rammed through Congress led to an accelerated concentration of wealth in the hands of the few, draining the rest of the country.
Despite the fact that the myth of trickledown economics has been debunked over and over again in history, Republicans still cling to the ideology. The pattern is as rote as it is exhausting. A Republican president replaces a Democrat in the Oval Office and claims credit for the uptick in economic growth, refusing to recognize that the boom is largely a result of his predecessor’s policies.
The Republicans then gives handouts to the 1% and pushes deregulation and — since economic forces move slowly and the implications of policies can take years to materialize — he leaves office before the horrible effects of the GOP legislation can be seen. The Democrat then inherits a mess and cleans it up, just in time for the next Republican to scuttle all the progress. Rinse and repeat.
McElvaine writes about this GOP stubbornness:
“In 1932, in the depths of the Great Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt called for ‘bold, persistent experimentation’ and said: ‘It is common sense to take a method and try it; if it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.’ The contrasting position of Republicans then and now is: Take the method and try it. If it fails, deny its failure and try it again. And again. And again.”
Indeed, the Republican Party is so deeply entrenched in its ahistorical and unfactual economic worldview that it’s almost as if its members have taken to living in a parallel universe, addressing fabricated facts and playing make-believe.
McElvaine points out that Republicans attacked President Bill Clinton’s proposed tax hike on the wealthiest Americans as a harbinger of complete economic collapse. Instead, it led to an unprecedented economic boom and a budget surplus. George W. Bush took over after him and immediately tanked the economy by pursuing opposite policies. And yet somehow, the Republicans still think their backward ideas will work this time around.
McElvaine gave a helpful series of bullet points on the negative effects of Trump’s proposed tax bill:
- Repealing the estate tax would allow generations of wealthy Americans to accrete wealth even easier than they do now, leading to a permanent aristocratic class.
- Eliminating state and local deductions will lead to most Americans effectively paying taxes twice, further crushing the middle class.
- Removing large medical expense deductions will make it even harder for many people to afford healthcare, bankrupting or even killing in some cases.
- Removing deductions for teachers and student debt, encumbering our education system more than it already is, and foisting a monumental burden on future generations seeking to better themselves.
- Ending the Affordable Care Act individual mandate, throwing millions of Americans off their healthcare.
- 80% of Americans will see their taxes rise. Millionaires and billionaires will see theirs drop.
Any one of these provisions by itself would be an unmitigated disaster, swirled together in the noxious concoction the Republicans are proposing it will lead to a complete implosion of the middle class and an apocalyptic economic downturn.
Call your Senators and tell your loved ones to do the same. It’s not too late to avert the cliff we are hurtling towards, but we must act now. Failure to act will hurt the American people for decades to come.