In the dead of night, the U.S. Senate passed a bill designed to enrich corporations and the super-wealthy by taking vital services and income from hardworking Americans. The bill would raise taxes on 87 million working families while billionaires get massive tax breaks. Senior citizens will be confronted with more than $400 billion in cuts to Medicare. Health care will become a mere memory for the 13 million working people expected to lose their health coverage.
Senate leaders brought a bill to the floor in the wee hours of Saturday. The bill, which passed by the narrowest of majorities, is a dream come true for the well-heeled corporate lobbyists who wrote it – more than 60 percent of the tax cuts go to the richest 1 percent. Who pays for it? Working families, seniors and kids.
Make no mistake: This bill reaches into nearly every aspect of the lives of regular people.
Having failed to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) despite repeated tries, Senate leaders sneaked language into the tax bill repealing a core provision known as the individual mandate. As a result, premiums are estimated to rise as much as $2,000 for each of the millions of working people who buy their ACA coverage on the individual market, according to an analysis by the Center for American Progress. That will push some 13 million people into the ranks of the uninsured, especially older Americans and people with pre-existing conditions, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.
Medicare, the health program for retired Americans, will take an estimated hit of $25 billion next year alone, and a total of $400 billion over the course of 10 years. Popular deductions that have helped generations of working families balance their checkbooks will disappear. That includes deductions for state and local income taxes and sales taxes.
The legislation rewards corporations that outsource jogs overseas by eliminating U.S. taxes on profits earned abroad. And, according to non-partisan experts, the Senate tax legislation increases the debt by more than $1.4 trillion. All this to enrich corporations and people who are already among the wealthiest in the world.
And that’s based just on what we know is in the bill as it currently exists. There’s so much we still don’t know. That’s because this legislation, voted on in the dead of night, is riddled with illegible, hand-written provisions backed up only by a lobbyist’s say-so and math done on the back of a cocktail napkin.
There is still time to stop this wholesale theft of the America we believe in, where all working people who play by the rules have freedom and opportunity – not just the rich and powerful.