In the United States, democracy and capitalism are bad bed fellows.
Democracy aspires to give equal voice to everyone. Capitalism does the opposite with its appeal to economic greed and its transactional, competitive division of the world between “winners” and “losers.”
Democracy aspires to inclusion and compromise. Capitalism promotes self interest and conflict.
Understanding the conflict between democracy and capitalism should make us feel rage about the tax reform legislation passed by the House and now before the Senate.
With the tax legislation before Congress, capitalism is being allowed to overtake and overwhelm our democracy.
While the legislation is promoted as benefitting the middle-class, it mainly benefits the rich and the companies they own. The working middle-class and poor come last, if at all, in the list of beneficiaries.
In violation of democratic institutions and principles, the legislation is being rushed through Congress, without hearings and with purposeful avoidance of bi-partisan support or input.
How can we trust our best interests to the advocates of this legislation–to the super rich Republicans and Wall Street capitalists who control the Executive Branch and their puppets in Congress?
Senator Crapo campaigned on a platform of reducing deficits and the crushing national debt. Yet, post-election, he said this to Bloomberg:
“Senator Mike Crapo of Idaho, a member of the tax-writing Finance Committee, said Monday he wants a tax cut that’s ‘as big as we can get’ within the budget window, though he declined to put a number on it.'”
The tax cut he now supports is around $1.5 trillion and over the next 10 years, the national debt is expected to increase by at least this amount.
He is also supports the elimination of the Affordable Care Act mandate and subsidies, which will have the effect of putting affordable health insurance beyond the reach of many Idahoans. From the Washington Post:
“‘Did we take away their money? No,’ says Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho). ‘There’s not $1 taken away from them if they make that choice’ not to buy insurance.”
That is like telling homeless people, “You should be happy with all the money you’re saving because you can’t afford a home.”
Senator Risch expressed mealy-mouthed support from the Senate Floor:
“Tax reform will bring relief to American families and under the plan released by the Senate Finance Committee, middle-class Americans will see a benefit in the form of a lower tax bill, which means more money for households to bring home.”
OK? But Senator Risch is one of the wealthiest members of Congress. How will this legislation benefit his family? And what about the offsetting negative impact on poor working Idahoans of the repeal of the Affordable Care Act individual mandate?
We could only know the extent of his self-dealing and conflict of interest if he discloses the impact of the tax legislation on his and his family’s tax bill.
In summary, until the moment of the vote, we should scream at both Senators to oppose a tax bill that will add to the deficit and national debt and which contains provisions that will hurt Idahoans.
The rushed process by which this tax bill is being hurried through Congress is outrageous.
Equally outrageous: the unnecessary, long-term negative economic impact the legislation will have on our country and state. We will all end up worse off in the end.
As Corva Korax recently commented on my “Campaign for Idaho” Facebook page:
“Every tax cut for the rich is a new tax on the poor and middle class whether higher health care premiums or loss of access altogether, higher tuition, higher education costs and fewer opportunities, worse civic services.”