The corporate tax cut bill that bulldozed through Congress late in 2017 was yet another crushing burden that “the 1 percent” loaded onto the backs of the American people, millions of whom are already suffering.
The House and Senate passed differing versions of the bill, with the initial Senate version hustled through in the dead of night. As this article is being written, House and Senate negotiators said they had agreed “in principle” on a final bill.
While its backers claim the bill is a $1.5 trillion tax cut, in fact the total tax cut is $6 trillion over a decade, almost entirely for the wealthy and corporations. This is offset by $4.5 trillion in tax increases—all of which will be paid by those of us who are not rich. It will be the largest tax cut, and the biggest tax increase, in American history. The Democrats did nothing to stop it.
The bill also sets the stage for a massive assault on social programs, including Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security (see page 9). It will do damage to Obamacare. We are watching the government abandon any responsibility for helping the people, while handing trillions to the rich and the corporations. This is happening at a time when the already poor are being crushed and the so-called “middle class” is being driven into the ranks of the poor.
President Trump and Congressional Republicans have lamely tried to cover up this shameless robbery by implying that the tax cut will bring back jobs to the United States. This argument is supposed to fool voters who are sorely in need of jobs in the Rust Belt and other economically abandoned areas. If anything, the bill gives businesses incentives to buy more robots and hire fewer workers, and to shift more jobs overseas.
While the bill gives workers a small, temporary tax cut, the benefits enacted for the rich and the corporations are permanent. And the bill adds $1.4 trillion to the government budget deficit by 2027.
Electronic and robotic production has replaced most human labor in assembly-line workplaces since the 1970s. As technology improves, it has been replacing service-sector jobs even more rapidly. Ultimately, all jobs are threatened with elimination. We are tumbling into a worldwide economic and political catastrophe. Neither Democrats nor Republicans can or will stop this process.
The system does not need to hire millions of us to do a day’s work for a day’s pay any more. Part of the money that formerly went to wages now goes onto Wall Street and the global financial markets. So does part of the money that funded the social safety nets, public education, mental health, infrastructure and many other services. The rest goes into the military- and prison-industrial complexes, militarization of the police, and suppression of our democratic rights, all of which is aimed at protecting the sky-high pile of money and private property in the hands of the 1 percent. The tax bill is the latest assault on a working class that the ruling class no longer needs, and a desperate effort by the billionaires to maintain their profits.
Inside the power circles of America, they are having a Babylonian feast like King Belshazzar did in the Old Testament. But the handwriting is on the wall. The message says the billionaires are being weighed in the balance of history and found wanting.
Since the capitalists no longer need us, why should we save them from their doom? We could instead move toward a reorganized, cooperative society based on public ownership of the corporations and public ownership of the new technology.
We can start by uniting around our common need for food, water, homes, health care, and other necessities, and demanding that the government guarantee people’s basic needs are met. Unity like this is an unstoppable force.
Combined results of federal tax and budget plans:
• Destroy any federal responsibility for the public’s health.
• The richest 1 percent get 65-80 percent of the tax cut benefits.
• Corporations get a permanent tax reduction from 35 to 21 percent.
• Medicaid cuts to millions of children, elderly, mentally ill, by over a trillion dollars.
• Medicare would be cut by $473 billion by 2025, setting the stage for privatization.