By that i mean we’re living in a country where the middle-class and below can lower their expectations of a hand reached out to help, and get ready to hand their hard-earned money up to the richest among us.*
For the last year or so, i’ve had the feeling of watching a favorite soccer team playing two men down (no comment on the refereeing), and clinging to a 0-0 scoreline. You’re happy that they’re holding on, but you know it can’t last. Sooner or later, the Republicans were going to get their wayward members lined up behind something, and that would be that.
As it turned out, those wayward members were almost comically hypocritical and/or cheaply bought, considering that the bill the Senate passed last night basically contained everything they previously objected to, deliberated upon (or not) in an equally objectionable way.
On Election Day last year, there was a palpable feeling of something having been taken from us, a physical thing. Money. Forgetting for the moment the ideological aspects, the moral risk, and the geopolitical peril, it was just plain going to cost us. Stuff that we had and thought of as things our government was paid to care for was simply going to be taken from us. Things that we’d fought for and achieved as a society were going to be scorned and discarded.
And unless, against the odds we can yet stop this, this is that bill coming due. And like most bills, this effectively gets paid to people who have more money than we do. Big companies who hide profits overseas get to pay less in taxes. Rich people get to pay less in taxes in general, and less on inherited wealth. And since it’s so, so partially paid for in a fig-leaf of an attempt to say it is deficit-neutral, it means that other stuff’s being cut now. Health care for poor people. Tax deductions for teachers. Graduate student stipend deductions. And in the most relevant fuck-you to me, tax deductions for local and state taxes.
That’s right, they rigged it so that those of us who paid high state and city taxes and received good service for them now have to pay tax on those taxes to the federal government, which already didn’t do many of those things we were having our local governments do, and doesn’t want to do those things because of selfish assholes in backward states want to do nothing ever and force that choice on the rest of us. We’re going to be paying them taxes on money we spent on services they wouldn’t provide.
And that money goes to the rich. In their tax cuts. In their private jet deductions. In their breaks for one particular religious school. In their reduced taxes on luxury cars. In their new ability to drill for oil in the last untouched part of Alaska.
And for as long as this law stands, it’s going to do damage. It’s going to mean that the 2019 version of my erstwhile roommate wouldn’t have been able to afford grad school, no matter how cheap our rent was and how many coupons she clipped. And dozens of people like her won’t be making the breakthroughs that human civilization doesn’t know it needs yet. It means that insurance costs will go up, people will lose coverage, people will die. People will just die because of this, people who might have lived a hundred years.
And that’s just the start. This is where this bill leaves us, but this bill leaves The Deficit in horrendous shape. The same pious fucks who so grudgingly sold their vote last night are going to come for their real targets. Education. Welfare. Medicaid. It’s a war on an America for everybody, waged by the somewhat-rich on behalf of the stupid-rich.
Every single day this law stands, every single day these monsters are not voted out, damage will be done. And for every day of moving backwards, untold days will be needed to even get back to where we were when Obama left office.
So fuck your wallet and fuck my wallet, and fuck paying more so that rich assholes can pay less; i mean, i can afford it for a while, and i hope that in doing so it delays whatever’s coming for someone else. But this can’t stand, because they won’t stop. They’re coming for it all. Anything you think you might have, any sliver of anything that they might find a pretense for not paying for, they’re coming for.
And they will leave us a hollowed-out country, with the children of the Baby Boom dying young and wondering why their parents’ generations saw fit to take everything from them so thoroughly.
* Did i work too hard repurposing that quote? Maybe.