By Spencer Kellogg | USA
What a disaster! From the party that brought you such hits as ‘we prefer limited government’ here comes a massive federal program pushed through in the dead of a Friday night without an opportunity for either side to read and comprehend what exactly is in the bill. Tonight, our democracy has failed us and can be sadly summarized as nothing more than, ‘you’re with us or you’re against us’. Amendments to the bill were scribbled in poor handwritten cursive so that the Republicans could get on with their act of forcefully shoving legislation down the throats of the American public without so much as a whimper of resistance. Could you imagine if the Democrats acted with the same coercion on a 2nd amendment rights bill? Think of what the reaction would be if Nancy Pelosi and company were to show up at Rand Paul’s office on a Friday afternoon with a 500 page bill filled in with handwritten cursive outlining major changes to gun rights of the individual and then expected to take a vote later that night? There would literally be blood and pandemonium in the streets. Some in the far corners of the conservative movement (notably Jeff Flake of Arizona) had the decency to stand against this improper use of force, however even they have have caved to their pits of money that need keeping. For the party so concerned with law and order the hypocrisy of this midnight robbery is stunningly clear.
Dick Durbin correctly wondered “Will this make us a stronger nation?” Perhaps the bill could make us a stronger nation. Perhaps the terms laid out in the legislation do in fact serve the majority of Americans who find themselves teetering towards the poverty line with an expansive tax code weighing on their backs. Perhaps this is a fair and just way to open up competition and markets with a reduction in taxation on the individuals and enterprises that have provided our country with exponential luxuries of the economical and physical. Perhaps. However, the goal of this legislation never was to have a fair and open discussion about the situation of taxes in this country, was it? It never was the goal to actually provide a simple and brief tax plan that could save our society from billions of dollars and hours spent on government checklists. This was a win at all costs mission to make it look like the Republicans had achieved something worthy and distinct in Trump’s first year as President. By the looks of it, they have failed.
I have given this administration the benefit of the doubt too many times. I always saw Trump as an outsider who might just be able to shake up the DC elite who come not from backgrounds forged out of the fire of business and competition but too often from the swamp and muck of modern politico opportunism. Here was a man who promised to reduce the scope and size of our national government while alleviating the burden that centralized power has placed on the back of common entrepreneurs and workers. And yet here, in the first major legislation of his presidency, the weakness of our inefficient democracy, its politicians, and its archaic hierarchy only grows more obvious with him in charge.
The bill should ease some of the burden placed on the American taxpayer but by and large, it favors an increasingly small minority of wealthy citizens. For example, the plan calls for an end to the estate tax. While I personally believe there should be no ‘death tax’ whatsoever, right now, barely anyone even pays the thing! While the Republican leadership suggests this legislation a win for the ‘family farmer’ we know that the real reason they want the estate tax eliminated is to further their continued attempts to centralize agricultural power into the hands of the few. Contrary to Republican propaganda, in the past half-century, family farming has died a slow and miserable death at the hands of the state and its factory farms. The endless fields of manure and corn, tilled by the corporatist arms of Monsanto, that stretch across the Midwest down into Texas are the government subsidized deities of the 21st century. This bill stands to protect their interests, not the family. Farms so wide you cannot see their end do not account for the type of man, woman, and child that the establishment Republicans trot out to gain sympathy for their legislation.
Furthermore, there could be major changes to Medicare and Social Security within the bill but we have no way of knowing until after it’s voted on. How wonderful! Some have suggested there could be a 25 Billion (that’s with a “B”) dollar cut to Medicare and only hours leading up to the vote we are relying on the word of such huckster politicians as Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell! My fingers are bleeding from what I just typed. While the war machine continues its corporate sponsored and government-financed lurch into all corners of this globe, the men and women who suffer most in this country are being cast aside to make way for petty ideological games. There is a conversation that needs to be had about the socialized institutions that taxpayers fund but this is not the way to go about. Forcing a vote without debate and discussion is fascism. Showing up at an opposing Senator’s door on a Friday afternoon with a bill so long it would take days to read and be expecting a vote hours later is fascism. The basis of our freedom begins with a mutualistic understanding that we are all Americans who deserve respect and decency if treated with such and this behavior is not only unbecoming of the right wing it is downright tyrannical.
We need a simple replacement to the long and arduous process of taxation in this country and neither side seems apt to find a solution. If the Republican Party wants to be taken seriously as the party of limited government and the upholders of law and order then they have every opportunity to step forward and act like it. This display of force is not good for our democracy. It does not create inroads for communication or understanding. It is a blatant attack from one side to the other reminiscent of Obamas terms and the days that lead up to our worst war, the one between the states. It is better to win on the battleground of ideas than in the backrooms with lobbyists and Republicans of all people should know that best!