What transpired on the White House steps yesterday should send a shudder through anyone who cherishes our democracy.
The Republicans had just passed their tax reform bill; one of the largest transfers of wealth in the history of our country. The GOP caucus then bussed over to the White House for a victory celebration. There on the White House steps, the president touted the benefits of the bill and praised individuals by name for their efforts in the process. He then called on members of the caucus leadership to say a few words. What came next was what can only be described as a creepy and chilling display of loyalty to this president that brought to mind boot-licking sycophants in North Korea heaping praise on their “Dear Leader” Kim Jung-In.
One by one they stepped forward and heaped lavish praise on the president for his leadership in shepherding the bill into law. Mike Pence, Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, Kevin McCarthy, Kevin Brady, Orin Hatch….praising the president for his “extraordinary,” “profound,” “exquisite” leadership. Hatch praised called Trump as a “great leader” and said his presidency was on track to be “maybe the best ever.” So over the top was this display that words cannot do justice to its syrupy creepiness.
Republicans can be excused for being a bit giddy over their passage of this tax reform bill. After all it is the first substantive piece of legislation that they had been able to carry across the finish line since seizing control of the legislative branch. It was a win they desperately needed to avoid going home for the holidays with nothing to show for their first year as the majority party. But the cringe worthy boot-licking displayed on the White House steps was sickening.
Let’s be clear about what the Republicans were celebrating.
A group of wealth multi-millionaires had just passed a massive, $3.6 trillion dollar transference of wealth; 83% of which will flow into their coffers over the next 10 years. That includes a $420 billion dollar kickback to millionaire real estate developers…like Donald Trump. Meanwhile, the middle class tax payers that they pledged to protect will see an average bump in their take home pay of $80/mo. $80/mo! But that will only last until 2026 when the middle class tax credits expire and their taxes go up.
Republicans were also celebrating their repeal of the Obamacare mandate; a provision in the tax law that will gut Obamacare and result in 13 million Americans leaving the health insurance rolls. A small provision slipped into the bill that will have a substantively negative effect on 1/6th of our economy when these uninsured individuals flock to emergency rooms for free health care. A cost that will be past on to the rest of society to pay in the form of higher premiums. So much for that $80/month middle class tax cut.
Speaking of health insurance…The millionaire Republican leadership was so engrossed in giving themselves a massive tax cut that they couldn’t be bothered to fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program whose funding expired back on September 30. The CHIP program provides insurance coverage for 9 million needy children from low income families. Without the program they will go bare and suffer the consequences.
No matter. All hail our “Dear Leader!”