I’ve spent some sleepless nights thinking and seething about the long-term impacts of the reprehensible tax legislation that is likely to be made the law of the land. Shame, shame, shame is the only description of this legislation that was written and negotiated quickly and in secret and then passed in the wee hours of Saturday morning.
This is a corporate coup over democracy as we know it—a giveaway to the handful of billionaires that are reshaping our society and sending our nation back into an era of feudalism. It’s clearer than ever that the regime in charge is determined to redistribute wealth upward while hypocritically lying to their base, many of whom will also be economically devastated by this legislation. It will impoverish those who are most vulnerable, all under the guise of cutting taxes.
By changing how state and local tax payments are deducted it will cut the money available at the state and local level for social service programs, education, infrastructure investments and many other areas where some blue states have been trying to fill in the gaps from cuts in federal funding. They’re also eliminating student loan interest deductions in another attack on the middle class. It is a vicious attack on large swathes of the nation—especially people living in large cities and those states that vote Democratic.
Although Congress must reconcile the Senate and House bills, it is unlikely that the final legislation will improve. In the days before both bills passed, Republican leadership was offering various bribes to members that were wavering on supporting legislation. Senator Lisa Murkowski was gifted with drilling in the Arctic National Reserve and other members were given special breaks for their favorite corporations. The oil and gas industry received many tax breaks that will lead to increased suffering of front line communities and threaten our global climate.
This is just a partial list of the way our political system of legalized bribery shaped the tax bill. We should feel angry but not hopeless. At Food & Water Action, we are channeling our frustration into our work. In 2018, that work will include doing our part to vote those officials who are endangering people and our environment out of office. This terrible legislation can be undone as easily as it was enacted and before it does much damage, if we elect the right people to represent us.
Time to sweep the halls of Congress.