The GOP tax plan, the one that I really, really, really hope gets shot to shit through committee and debate, has to be one of the dumbest pieces of legislation put forth in the past ten years. Let me pull this back a bit.
The GOP tax plan is the equivalent of if a rancid piece of shit and rotting fish left out in the Texas sun…wait, that’s not pulling back.
To put this very bluntly to those who support the tax plan – if you don’t want socialism in the near future you should probably speak to your representative to have it shut down. This is a very “Let them eat cake” moment in GOP history. The briefest of run downs on the plan is as follows: If you’re already super rich, this thing is amazing for you (short term; longterm probably not, because guillotines are usually hazardous to any retirement planning), but if you’re not rich and essentially live paycheck to paycheck, like 80% of all Americans, you’re about to notice life get harder.
You’ll now pay taxes on interest paid to student loans, get double-taxed in states with income taxes (right now the federal tax offsets the state tax, which will no longer be the case), potentially pay more in taxes if you happen to be really poor, and see absolutely no guarantee that you’ll have an increase in wages. The sales pitch here is that by lowering corporate taxes and personal taxes on the wealthy, that money will flow into wages and new jobs. The reality as we’ve seen time and time again is that money will be used for reinvestment and to bolster profits, which increases stock value. Why hire more people when you don’t need new people? After all, its demand that creates jobs, not tax breaks. The real job creators are consumers, not CEOs or business owners, but the taxes are aimed at the so-called job creators (business owners).
There’s no way a single Republican or economist with half a functioning brain cell could ever look at this plan and go, “Of course this will help the economy” and mean it without being ironic. What they mean is that it will help them and the wealthy, which will in turn cause the wealthy to donate more money to them, which will in turn help keep them in power. The Republicans figured this out a while ago and have been winning the fundraising game; the Democrats have attempted it since 1992 (when they got off the populist train), but are so inept and awkward that they’ve never really been able to capitalize on fundraising. Point being, both parties, but especially the GOP, want to lower taxes not to help the economy, but to win the favor of the wealthy who will take some of that newly earned money and give it back to the GOP.
What drives such thinking? What drives politicians to hike up their skirts, stick out their legs, and sell their soul to the highest bidder? Greed of course. Greed for money, greed for power, greed for the sake of greed. The major corporations pushing for these tax cuts are the fat kids at the party who take all the cake, refusing to share with any of the kids, and the politicians who support the tax cuts are the annoying mothers who say that the other kids just don’t understand not-so-little Johnny. At its core, this boils down to greed.
Lowering taxes and threatening to offset it by lowering spending on social programs only underlines the greed. It’s a way to ensure that no one else can ever threaten your wealth, it’s a way to sit there and codify your superiority over the masses, it’s how you become a lord without the title, without the pomp, but with all the benefits and more. The current tax plan will absolutely, 100% guaranteed lead to a massive finical crisis within a decade of its implementation. The US debt will skyrocket, infrastructure will crumble more than it has, we’ll watch the last thing we’re good at (higher education) begin to slip in world rankings, and we’ll start seeing unemployment jump. The lower demand will lead to lower profit, and like the drug addicts they are, executives will rob and steal from others (layoffs) in order to continue supplying their addiction (profit).
Of course, if human history has taught us anything – hell, if American history has taught us anything – it’s that people really hate being oppressed. When they can’t put food on the table, when they can’t find steady work, when they can’t live with dignity, they will seek radical changes. It may not be a violent revolution, but the wealthy elites could very well wake up one November day to the reality that America has elected its first openly socialist president. And not some Nordic Socialist who wants to sing the praises of Social Democracy, oh no. When Americans swing the other way, we swing the other way! We do everything big, so it’s likely we’d pick someone who has a slight authoritarian and strongman zeal to him. The wealthy, so unwilling to compromise now, could find all their wealth confiscated within the very near future. Yet, they’ve trained themselves to only look at the next quarter and not the next decade, so their fate is their own doing.
But such is the price of greed. Greed blinds us to the plight of our fellow humans. It blinds us to the dangers of the path we’re walking. The best analogy for the GOP tax plan would probably be Breaking Bad. The wealthy are Walter White, addicted to the money and power and the rush of doing business. But eventually their ego, their greed, their thirst for power will get in their way. That is the story of greedy societies for all of recorded history. Shortly after removing the Etruscan kings, the newly formed Roman Republic watched as their working class soldiers left Rome undefended because the wealthy aristocrats refused to compromise. This led to a compromise, but to tension as well, a tension that ultimately collapsed the Republic. One could easily argue that the English Civil War wouldn’t have occurred without some class politics shaping the religious politics. The French Revolution occurred due to a tone-deaf French aristocracy and royalty. The Russian Revolution was a direct result of the Russian ruling elite not listening to the cries of the underclass. History is full of examples of what happens when the wealthy allow their greed to overtake them.
Yet, here we are. We’re facing down the barrel of a loaded gun that, if fired, will put us on the path to economic devastation. Taxes, while they suck, are the price of civilization. If you like roads, if you like order, if you like living in civilization then you have to pay for those things, and that comes from taxes. And if we refuse to accept that fact, if we refuse to accept that taxes are essential for a society to survive, then we deserve the fate we receive.