Like its predecessors, the federal budget proposed by House Budget Committee chairman Tom Price of Georgia promises to balance the budget within a decade. While that claim is a laughable piece of fiction, dependent on bad arithmetic and totally implausible assumptions, the document itself is extremely valuable for the insight it offers into the mindset of its authors.
As another of those authors, U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall of Georgia, told the New York Times, “A budget is a moral document; it talks about where your values are.”
So what does it tell you about morals and values when the proposed budget is “balanced” solely on the backs of the most vulnerable, the struggling, those too young and too old to fend for themselves, those needing access to education?It repeals ObamaCare, of course, but it also slashes more than $900 billion from Medicaid, the system that today provides health-care coverage for millions of poor Americans, including children, and also covers some 60 percent of grandparents and great-grandparents in long-term nursing care. Overall, the Obama administration estimates that some 37 million Americans would be stripped of health insurance.It cuts Pell grants for those going to college. It cuts Medicare and turns it into a voucher program in which senior citizens will be forced to buy private insurance. It slashes food stamps and housing programs. At a time when Republicans are professing concern for the middle class and working people, this is how that rhetoric is transformed into actual policy.And at a time when corporate profits at all-time highs, the stock market is at all-time highs, and income inequity at all-time highs, what does it tell about morals and values when those prospering the most from this country’s productivity and hard work are asked to make absolutely zero sacrifice on its behalf?In fact, quite the contrary. The animating theory behind “tax reform” in the House budget is that those already prospering the most need and deserve additional rewards, must be enriched still further, while additional tax burdens are placed on those lower on the economic scale.
Under Price’s proposal, the top individual tax rate would be slashed from 35 percent to 25 percent. So would the top corporate rate. In addition, the proposal assumes that this “tax reform” is revenue neutral. So if total revenue stays at current levels, but corporations and high earners are paying less, who will pay more? You will.
But hey, don’t take my word for it. In a Q&A titled “Setting the Record Straight” produced by the House Budget Committee, Republicans take the issue head on. Well, not really. Here’s a screengrab of their page:
In short, yes, it does cut taxes on the rich, and here’s why. The only token attempt at rebuttal comes in the mention of deductions, carve-outs and loopholes. However, every tax study of the proposal has concluded that eliminating deductions, carve-outs and loopholes doesn’t come close to offsetting the revenue lost by slashing top tax rates; in fact, the elimination of such deductions end up pushing more of the tax burden onto middle-class taxpayers.
This is the Republican economic plan. As they themselves acknowledge and even brag about, this is the product of GOP values and morals being translated into government policy. When you believe that those who are struggling just aren’t struggling enough, while those who are prospering just aren’t prospering enough, this is what you get.