Sunday, November 26, 2017

Making a Losing Wager on Wages

I think the first paragraph of this story pretty much says it all about the Republican tax plan.

Corporate executives love the plan because they will make gazillions. But they don't expect wages to rise. Which I think is a funny way of expressing that idea since it's the corporate executives who are the ones in charge of making wages rise. So if they're saying that wages will not rise, then not rise they will.

And wage earners in the middle and working classes can take that to the bank, where the bankers will likely laugh at them for trying to deposit empty promises. The silver lining is that interest rates are about to go up again, so the return on those empty promises is about to get larger.


Yes, there will be those who will see some more money in their paychecks next year, but the cost will be extraordinary. A black hole in the budget where trillions will be sucked into another dimension. Accounting gimmicks that will need to rely on millions of people giving up their health benefits so the rest of us insured folks can pay higher premiums when the uninsured get sick. And, now, the admission that wages are not likely to go up.

And through it all, the president remains broadly unpopular because Americans are far smarter than he is and they can see right through the hokum he and the Republicans are peddling. It starts with the contradictory argument whereby the president says that the stock market is at record highs, unemployment is at a 17-year low (thank you Barack Obama), and corporate profits are healthy and growing.

Why, then, do we need to mortgage our future and borrow on the backs of people without health insurance? Things seem to be going well without killing the economy. But since the GOP needs a win, even if it's really a loss for the people, they will move ahead and hope that we won't notice.

Too late.

Polls show that a majority of Americans don't believe that tax cuts, especially to corporations and the wealthy, should be a priority. In fact, two-thirds of American voters say that cutting the deficit is more important than cutting taxes. But the GOP needs a win because their attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act failed miserably for the understandable reason that taking health insurance away from 20 million people was a terrible idea. A tax cut bill that balloons the deficit and makes middle class taxpayers pay more is an equally terrible idea.

We also need to remember that aside from tax cuts, conservative orthodoxy says that the federal government is too large and that social programs, you know, the ones that are keeping many people alive in distressed areas, need to be eliminated or have their funding cut back. What are the odds that the GOP discovers the huge hole in the deficit next year and says that Social Security must be privatized and that Medicare and Medicaid need serious revision? I'm thinking the odds are pretty good.

The Republicans have been waiting for this moment, when they control all three branches of the government to undo the New Deal and Great Society programs, cut taxes and services, favor corporations and business interests over consumers, and turn the clock back to a more intolerant era.

Democrats have a year to remind voters what a great country looks like, how it acts on the world stage, and the costs of furthering income and legal inequality.

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1 comment:

  1. More than Republicans needing a win, this is about appealing to their donors, who are NOT their constituents.

    I'm not against tax reform, but this is too fast, with not enough thought or expert input. And, there are too many 'extras' in the bill such as the drilling in Alaska and allowing churches to endorse political candidates (separation of church and state, anyone?).

    This bill really has made me anxious...