Are you asking “why?” and “what?” more often lately?

Posted By | November 27, 2017 7:39 am

Last Updated: November 27, 2017 at 7:44 am

Democratic Dialog – By Debra Wines

The new tax plan has been the center of numerous news reports, in the mainstream media and the internet. Democrats are telling us the plan is a disaster for the majority of people. Republicans are saying this will improve everything for everybody. As always, the conflicting reports, charts, graphs, and comments are enough to make one’s head explode. Finding the truth is not easy, and I certainly don’t claim to know all the answers.

In my opinion, the biggest obstacle to determining the impact of this new tax plan is the fact that this proposal projects changes occurring over a 10-year period of time. The Democrats make the plan sound as if the impact of the tax plan will have an immediate impact. The Republicans are trying to sell it by saying some of their proposed changes won’t affect people for a long time.

Who and what should we believe? Obviously, I lean more toward believing what the Democrats and some Republicans are saying about this plan. They believe the harm caused by this bill will start impacting all Americans, as soon as Donald Trump signs it. I have a tendency to agree that some of the consequences of these changes, to our current tax code, will be felt within the next year for everyone.

As it stands right now, based on the information I have discovered, large corporations and the ultra-rich will be better than fine. Their deductions/loopholes remain intact, and, in a good many cases, their tax rates are reduced. Major tax deductions, used by a good majority of people in the $50,000 to $500,000 income bracket, will be greatly reduced or disappear. The people making under $50,000 a year seems to be a crap shoot, depending on whether you’re single, head of household, married, etc. You might be OK, and then again, you might be far worse off.

I have several issues with this new tax plan that is being pushed by the Republican leadership, especially Congressmen Paul Ryan. He has no problem with the projection of adding $1.5-plus trillion to our deficit. This is hardly being a fiscal conservative, in my book. In this new tax reform bill, Paul Ryan is proposing massive cuts to Social Security and Medicare. He brags about how he had been dreaming of doing this since he was in college. I thought that was a joke for a long time, until I saw him interviewed, and the reporter asked him directly about his “dream,” and he admitted it. You have to ask yourself why would a young man whose family benefitted from Social Security, after the death of his father, want to take away the same kind of benefit from others? I’m sure his mother isn’t totally dependent on Social Security as her only source of income, but that is certainly not the case for millions of other seniors.

The other issue of this tax reform bill that has been reported recently is another attack on legalized abortion. I understand this is a controversial issue, but what does it have to do with the reform of our tax codes? Since the Republicans couldn’t repeal and replace the ACA, they have included ways to gut the program in their new tax plan. What and who is behind this move to add anything un-related to reforming our tax codes? I firmly believe our tax codes should be changed, updated, revised and simplified. The Legislative Branch of our government has been working on tax reform, on and off for years and this current “plan” explains why it is so difficult to achieve. When special “interests” start padding a bill with items that have no direct connection to the original bill, things get sidelined and nothing happens.

Our Congress has continued to have the lowest approval ratings for years. Why? Is it because they have ignored the needs of a majority of Americans? Is it because Americans are feeling, more and more, that the only people Congress listens to are the special interest groups that flood money into campaigns for senators and congressmen who will ignore the average American and push their agendas? You need to ask yourself, why are Republicans so enthusiastic about gutting so many laws, programs, and benefits that protect and serve the majority?

It wasn’t that long ago there was a proposal to give corporations additional tax breaks if they brought jobs back to America. That didn’t go anywhere. Again, you need to ask yourself, why? The stock market is at an all time high and keeps growing. People who can afford to play the stock market are doing well. I have no problem with that. The problem I do have is the cost to the American worker, the safety standards of the products that are made by the cheap labor these corporations are using and the quality of those products. The fact that giving corporations more tax breaks and reducing the amount of taxes they pay on the money they keep in America does not and never has filtered down to expand business and increase wages of the American workers. I’ve said it before, along with economists who know a great deal more than I do, a “trickle down economy” has never worked and it never will, not as it has been designed. I am sure there are some companies that used the “extra” cash to expand their companies and increase wages for their workers, but it has never been enough.

I realize the world has changed a great deal in the last 30-40 years. I understand businesses had to change to keep up and be competitive. The job market has changed along with the types of jobs that used to be around years ago. I also understand that a global economy presents vast opportunities for businesses. It has also presented challenges for those businesses and their employees. The working/middle class is no longer competing with the workers in Europe who, in most cases, have been on an equivalent income level as Americans. Now Europeans and American are competing with workers in China, Vietnam, Indochina, India, and other countries whose workers earn far less.

We have to ask ourselves why has China become so prosperous with an economy that is growing much faster than ours? Why have we been forced to borrow more and more money from China to keep our economy afloat? What would happen if China called in their loans? Russia, since the collapse of Communism, isn’t doing as well as China, but their leaders seem to have no financial problems. How much money has Russia invested in American businesses and property? The same can be asked of China. I have two more questions: how and why did this happen?

With all these questions in mind, I have to go back to what our Congress is doing and not doing for the American people. The proposed budget for next year has massive cuts across the board in everything but our military. The proposed increases are not for personnel; they are for supplies and equipment, millions of dollars more than the Pentagon had requested. Donald Trump made a statement, after his recent Asian trip, that “we” are selling technology and military equipment to several governments in Asia. I am unclear about who the “we” is. Is the “we” our government? Is the “we” military contractors who may be “double dipping?” How is this benefiting the average American? Will there be more good paying jobs for Americans created from this deal?

There are so many questions as to what exactly is our Congress doing regarding proposed budget and tax plans. I just can’t understand why it is that cuts in Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid proposed in the budget somehow get carried over into the new tax plan. It feels as if anyone who is currently receiving Social Security benefits (which we paid for via taxes while we worked), Medicare (again, paid for with our taxes), and/or Medicaid, is going to be on the short-end of the stick. It also feels as if those who are hoping to retire in the next 10 years will be lucky if those benefits they’ve paid for will even exist. There have been several proposals made that would ensure the stability and continuation of these programs, but Republicans, like Paul Ryan, refuse to consider them and want the programs to fail. Why? I’ve read the Koch Brothers and their various political action groups are pushing for the elimination of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Again, we should all be asking, why?

We can no longer sit back and assume our government leaders, on ANY level, have our best interests in their hearts and minds. We need to ask questions of our leaders and keep asking until we get an answer that makes sense. We need to ask every candidate running for office, on every level, if they will be open to the concerns of their constituents and communicate with us? We need to hold our leaders accountable for their actions. We must remind ourselves and our elected representatives they work for US!

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