When we think about the best of the Republican Party spending government money responsibly; smart business principles; compassionate care; and the understanding that more money in citizens’ pockets means more prosperity for everyone come to mind.
That’s why it’s hard to imagine a bill more un-Republican than the one Congress is working on.
Instead, this bill does nothing but appeal to the worst instincts of the party. The Republican tax plan would hand out tax breaks to the richest of Americans and large corporations, while doing little for the average citizen or small business. Republicans constantly complain that framing taxation in a rich-versus-poor dichotomy encourages class warfare. But when a proposal calls for substantial breaks for the wealthiest while hurting the poorest, it’s not just class warfare, it’s the truth.
Two separate analyses from the Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation have come to similar conclusions — that this plan hurts those who can least afford it.
Even worse, the plan essentially borrows money to give these hand-outs by growing the American debt by as much as $1.5 trillion during the next 10 years.
Any Republican who is truly fiscally conservative would never agree that going into debt to give tax breaks is a prudent course of action. Using even the most basic of business principles, a business wouldn’t mortgage itself for nothing. And this tax bill isn’t about going into debt to invest in America, it’s about helping those earning more than $100,000 per year, according to CBO.
So much for compassionate conservatism because this new plan makes health care nearly unobtainable for lower-income families. Because poor people would receive less government aid, it would mean that they would have to pay out-of-pocket for health insurance, making it all but unreachable.
Assuming that someone struggling to make ends meet could opt out of health insurance and have a little extra cash, any extra money would be eaten up if he or she made a single trip to the doctor. Or their kids. Or their spouse. God forbid if someone needs a prescription without insurance.
This would re-create the situation we faced before the Affordable Care Act in which residents without health care would be forced into emergency rooms for expensive care. That care would mean some of Billings’ largest employers, like the Billings Clinic and St. Vincent would realize huge losses. Those losses would be borne by those remaining few who have insurance; they, in turn, would see premiums sky rocket again.
Most Republicans in Congress seem unfazed by the brazen rewards in this tax plan for the rich. In fact, Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, the Senate Finance Committee Chairman, argued that if a family or individual chooses not to buy insurance, it’s their decision. This completely and intentionally ignores the fact that most people making less than $50,000 will not be able to afford the premiums. Yeah, kind of like the choice not to buy a Ferrari — it’s not a choice if you don’t have the money in the first place.
Republicans like Hatch would have you believe that paying for health insurance is something as trivial as buying an extra pair of sneakers or splurging on a weekend get-a-way to Las Vegas.
We’d point out that the Republicans have done everything in their power to dismantle health care by cutting subsidies, cutting mandates and acting as if health insurance is a luxury item.
We believe there are ways to improve the federal tax system. But we cannot agree to continue to add to our grandchildren’s debt while getting nothing in return. We also believe it’s morally bankrupt to understand that devastation that will happen by dismantling health care, and continue anyway — as if poor folks will really have the cash to afford rising healthcare costs.
The rich don’t just get richer in this bill. The poor don’t just get poorer.
The rich get something they don’t need while the poor could lose everything they have.