Regarding the new tax regime — start with Thomas Edsall at the NYT:
[I’m going to leave the big print there.]
In it, quoted experts have these assessments:
The most serious structural problems with the bill are unavoidable outcomes of Congress’s choice to preference certain taxpayers and activities while disfavoring others — and for no discernible policy rationale. These haphazard lines are fundamentally unfair and inefficient, and invite tax planning by sophisticated taxpayers to get within the preferred categories.
… this is a very subtle way to increase taxes on the lower and middle classes and then use those revenues to pay for a massive tax cut for corporations.
It is a morally repulsive document; a statement of priorities that gives much to those who already have much; takes away hope from the vulnerable; hurts the poor and sick; blasts away at our public institutions; and moves the middle class ever closer to a precipice of desperation. It is a looting of the public good; a chaotic, cynical, mean-spirited, greedy, smash-and-grab.
Great shame on every last Republican who voted for this obscenity: Your constituents, whom you have betrayed, will never forgive you.
But I have to look forward. It’s not the same as “hope” – that you expect things to get better, because in the short term, they surely won’t. Lives will be lost; there will be needless and avoidable suffering. But like Josh Marshall, I actually feel like this is the end of an era, rather than the beginning of a new right-wing dominion. The prospects of the current plutocratic establishment are those of any asset bubble: That which cannot continue forever, won’t. To wit:
- Their days are numbered, demographically. The white male dominance of politics is on its way out. Gerrymandering, vote suppression, and immigration restriction can slow but not stop this trend. You cannot take away people’s votes, forever.
- Unchallenged male ownership of female careers and bodies seems to be coming to an end. You cannot keep women from power, forever.
- Trickle-down economics is revealed as a fraud. With this tax bill, the mask is off: Inequality is not some natural by-product of good-faith economics. It’s intentional. You cannot take away people’s wealth and prosperity from them, forever.
- We will never go back to the pre-ACA years when it comes to protections for patients: pre-existing conditions, rescissions, underwriting, etc. You cannot take away people’s right to their own lives and health, forever.
With the GOP at the height of its awful powers, the only way to go for them is down — hard. It’s all downhill from here. This is a Twilight of the Gods — caused by their own blind grasping for power.
Prophesy is self-fulfilling by its very nature: They shall build up the ancient ruins, they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations … Every valley shall be exalted; the crooked straight; and the rough places plain.
So let’s say how things are going to be.
We will win in 2018, and 2020, and this revanchist regime will be cast aside. And then:
- Every bit of that tax cut for the wealthy will be clawed back, and then some.
- We will defend our own living space, our habitat, our climate, our earth. It belongs to all of us, not a dirty, dishonest, sociopathic few. We won’t tolerate an incoming disaster just because some don’t care to face up to it.
- We will treat our black and brown neighbors/selves with love and respect, not fear and loathing.
- All Americans will have health care, cradle to grave, without exception.
- Our public institutions will serve the public interest, free as possible from moneyed influence and authoritarian abuse.
The disaster of the Bush years, especially the Iraq War, was why I went from a Nader voter in 2000 to a staunch Democratic partisan. Almost without exception in Congress or the Presidency, the Republican Party is deluded and reckless, wildly dangerous to our country and the world. They must be thoroughly routed, at every level, in every state.
Each of us must consider very carefully the best use of our resources in the next year: Time, money, and energy. Look for the most high-leverage situation we can find. Organize, or let ourselves be organized. Make a generous budget for our political donations. Schedule time for canvassing trips and phone banking.
We can help get Democrats elected in New Hampshire’s 1st, which is an open seat since Carol Shea-Porter is retiring; and potentially Maine’s 2nd, represented by Republican Bruce Poliquin. Farther afield we should be able to help Dems in New York’s 19th (currently represented by Republican John Faso); and it would surely be glorious to take out Paul Ryan in WI-2.
I’ve updated our BMG ActBlue page to support Dem primary winners in these districts. By all means if you prefer a particular primary candidate, find her or him in ActBlue’s directory — and we’re always open to suggestions for preferred candidates.
I’m interested in the most progressive, available, viable candidate. Much, if not “all”, politics is still local, and an ideology test or viability calculation from our remote location is inherently difficult. Democratic representatives will always disappoint — it’s in their nature. By all means let’s fight in the primaries, but we’re not going to get perfect. That’s just where I’m at — where I’ve been for the last 17 years or so. But even muddling though is decidedly preferable to a demolition of all that’s honest, generous, and fair in our government and politics.
So let’s get on it, for our own sakes. The clock is ticking.