Well, they did it.
Thursday, congressional Republicans passed a non-binding budget resolution that threatens to cut $473 billion from Medicare and $1 trillion from Medicaid so the top one percent of the population can enjoy a $1.5 trillion in tax cut.
What this means is the 99 percent of us may expect to see $1.5 trillion added to the deficit, and working families, the elderly, children, the sick, and poor will suffer the most.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), said:
“This nasty and backwards budget green-lights cuts to Medicare and Medicaid in order to give a tax break to big corporations and the wealthiest Americans.”
Only one Republican opposed the resolution: Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.), who commented:
“I could not in good conscience vote for a budget that ignores spending caps that have been the law of the land for years and simply pretend it didn’t matter.”
The bill’s instructions include a provision that Congress needs to pass the tax cuts under budget reconciliation, requiring 51 votes to pass, a process that shuts out Democrats and the possibility of a filibuster.
The House will likely take up the Senate bill, pass it, bypassing a conference between the two congressional chambers.
Budget Committee member Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), retiring this year, said:
“The only thing about this that matters is preparation for the tax reform. Other than that, these amendment votes, everything about this is a hoax. A hoax. It has no impact on anything whatsoever. If I were chairman of the budget committee, I would dismantle it. I would move to end it immediately in its current form. Unless we create a real budget process, which this is not, our country’s fiscal situation will continue to go down the tube, and we have no mechanism to control real spending, 70 percent of which is mandatory, that’s not even covered by this.”
Hoax or no hoax, it didn’t stop Corker from voting for it.
House Speaker Paul Ryan is still insisting middle class families will see significant tax cuts.
“When we get the numbers, which are going to be finalized in matter of days, then we can put the whole bill out. If this was a tax increase on middle-income taxpayers, we wouldn’t be doing this. This is about lowering people’s taxes in the middle-class, simplifying the tax system and growing this economy.”
According to a report out of the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), though, a $5.4 trillion cut over 10 years that would ratchet up defense spending will do nothing to help working families.
The report states:
“Tax cuts provide no durable solution to any genuine economic problem for America’s working families, but do make some genuine problems even worse.”
Under this plan, those already wealthy would see the most significant gains. Low- and middle-income families, however, would receive a pittance.
Overall, the best investment is in low- and middle-income Americans’ financial security, not in the practice of handing more money to those who already literally have too much.
Image credit: wrongologist.com