Words fail to capture the degree to which Senate Republicans betrayed the public, in a 1:30am vote this morning. It is nothing short of a reworking of the economy, for the overwhelming benefit of the rich. You can read about it any number of places; the NYTimes op-ed writers sum it up as “A Historic Heist”:
The bill is expected to add more than $1.4 trillion to the federal deficit over the next decade, a debt that will be paid by the poor and middle class in future tax increases and spending cuts to Medicare, Social Security and other government programs. Its modest tax cuts for the middle class disappear after eight years. And up to 13 million people stand to lose their health insurance because the bill makes a big change to the Affordable Care Act.
Yet Republicans somehow found a way to give a giant and permanent tax cut to corporations like Apple, General Electric and Goldman Sachs, saving those businesses tens of billions of dollars.
In ditching the personal mandate, thus destabilizing the insurance markets, it is essentially akin to the “skinny repeal”. To very briefly summarize the effects in NPR’s tweet:
The tax bill will also reshape health care by:
1. Repealing Obamacare mandate
2. Repealing medical expense deduction
3. Trigger major cuts to Medicare
4. Change tax treatment for graduate students
5. Change/eliminate a pharmaceutical tax credithttps://t.co/rqJdT5EpIK
— NPR (@NPR) December 1, 2017
Anyone can follow the news and find out the myriad ways this is a boot to the face of the vast majority of Americans. There is no reason for anyone who is not a billionaire to vote Republican, ever again.
For our purposes, I am interested in how we react in Massachusetts. We need to find ways to cushion the blow, and quickly; and we need to maximize whatever influence we may have in other states.
- Can the individual mandate be retained in Massachusetts, to avoid a premium death spiral?
- Depending on what happens in conference, graduate school tuition waivers might now be taxable. It is a dagger to the heart of higher education, which is, to state the obvious, our calling card, our economic engine, but a massive employer. How do we respond?
- November 2018 is coming up soon. It’s on everyone to consider carefully the most effective, high-leverage uses of one’s energy, time and money to take back Congress. There are a variety of groups: Indivisibles, SwingLeft, Flippable, Sister District — that are doing that kind of work to good effect. You can give to SwingLeft’s efforts to unseat GOP House members via ActBlue here. We need to preserve New Hampshire’s House seats, and win back Maine’s 2nd district from GOP toady Bruce Poliquin.
In any event, fulminating on here and on social media is not enough. It’s the grunt-work in meatspace that’s necessary. This is scorched-earth time. The GOP must be scoured from Congress. What will we do?