Most of us have a set attitude about the doings in Washington. The Congress is a mystery to us, and the president — well, presidents come and go, and they do what they do, and I have to get to work this morning, and tonight I’ll be tired and …. yadda yadda yadda. So we don’t read the bills that are proposed, and we don’t call our Congress people and basically we live our lives and, at most, complain to our friends about those bums in Washington and that’s it.
This time it’s different. This time Congress is proposing to change the face of America. This time Congress is proposing to formalize an American commitment to creating a permanent overclass of the extremely wealthy at the expense of all the rest. With that, we threaten to, in effect, abandon the American dream and, much more insidious, to start the abandonment of the American ideal of the inalienable rights of every human being.
That sounds fairly drastic and fairly pessimistic. It is, and I devoutly hope that I am totally wrong. But here is the question: what do you know about it? Have you read the bill? Well, I haven’t either, and I am not sure I have even the ability to understand it. We do, however, have an unbiased analysis of the bill from the Congressional Budget Office, and I have read that. You should too. It is found at http://www.cbo.gov/publication/53348. The report determines that, for those earning under $100,000, taxes will go up by 2027, and for those above $100,000, taxes will stay down. In addition, the tax bill will increase the national debt by about 1.5 trillion dollars. Also, since the individual mandate is removed from the Affordable Care Act, health care premiums will rise substantially for all who have health insurance of any kind. In addition, the estate tax will be removed for the approximately 11,000 families whose net estates exceed $10,000,000. So, for instance, if Trump’s estimate of his net worth is to be believed, his heirs will escape an estate tax of approximately one billion dollars. That means that the estates of the very most wealthy will be allowed to continue to increase.
How does that change the face of democracy? Well, there are only so many real dollars in any economy. If that money gets concentrated in a small group, the rest of the group will, to put this conservatively, have limited access to that part of the economy. There is a name for this: plutocracy.
So this time there is the threat of a massive change in the American way of life, and so this time you really need to know. You really need to read the objective analyses of this proposed tax plan, and, if you don’t like, you really need to tell your Congress people to vote it down. At the very least, you really need to get informed so you understand where we are going. We still have a democracy, and that means that you still have the right to participate. More than ever, that old saw applies: use it or lose it.