Tax Cuts for the Rich, Paid for with Your Health Care

LeeAnn Hall Co-Director, People's Action

When Republican leaders tried to repeal health care in the spring and summer, many Americans raised the alarm and made a ruckus. We asked hard questions, looked at the independent analyses, held town halls, told our health care stories, and took to the streets.

Because of that overwhelming opposition, plans to slash health care to pay for corporate tax breaks failed. Republican leaders haven’t given up. In fact, they’ve already begun voting on a scheme to slash taxes for corporations and multi-millionaires — paid for by cuts to health care.

Now the plan to raid our health care is buried in the GOP tax scheme and budget process. Here’s how they’re putting it into place.

On October 5, the House of Representatives passed a budget resolution that cuts $1.5 trillion from Medicaid and other health programs, capping and starving Medicaid.

On top of that, the budget also slices almost $500 billion from Medicare — and proposes turning it into a privatized voucher program and raising the eligibility age to 67.

The Senate budget proposal is just as bad. It would cut Medicaid, Medicare, and the financial assistance people get to buy insurance through the Affordable Care Act exchanges.

For the better part of 30 years, I’ve been organizing people and communities to win quality, affordable health care for all. These cuts will hurt all of us, especially people who need health care the most: seniors, people with disabilities, children.

The payoff? Our elected representatives get to dole out tax breaks to their big-money donors and corporate friends.

Don’t expect House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and the others behind this scheme to be honest about it. They’re saying their tax cut plan for corporations and multi-millionaires will help ordinary people.

Their idea of who ordinary people are is pretty strange.

The richest 1 percent of Americans will reap 80 percent of the tax cuts, the non-partisan Tax Policy center calculates, while taxes for many moderate and low-income people would go up. The richest 5 percent of Americans will gain income from these tax cuts — but the rest of us will lose income once those cuts are paid for.

The rich get richer and the rest of us lose income, health care, and other essential services like housing, food, and education. (And don’t think they won’t come for Social Security next.)

We’ll wind up with what Republican leaders wanted from health care repeal: tens of millions of people thrown off their health care to clear the way for more than $1 trillion in tax breaks for the mega-rich.

All this comes at a time of soaring corporate profits — with prescription drug corporations continuing to rake in exorbitant profits by price-gouging patients on lifesaving medications.

Instead of requiring Medicare to negotiate lower prices with drug corporations — which would mean huge savings for the public — Republican leaders in Congress want us to pay for corporate tax cuts with our health care.

What part of “no” didn’t they understand?

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Reposted from Our Future

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From Campaign for America's Future

Union Matters

Failing Bridges Hold Public Hostage

From the USW

From tumbledown bridges to decrepit roads and failing water systems, crumbling infrastructure undermines America’s safety and prosperity. In coming weeks, Union Matters will delve into this neglect and the urgent need for a rebuilding campaign that creates jobs, fuels economic growth and revitalizes communities.

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) gave the public just a few hours’ notice before closing a major bridge in March, citing significant safety concerns.

The West Seattle Bridge functioned as an essential component of  the city’s local and regional transportation network, carrying 125,000 travelers a day while serving Seattle’s critical maritime and freight industries. Closing it was a huge blow to the city and its citizens. 

Yet neither Seattle’s struggle with bridge maintenance nor the inconvenience now facing the city’s motorists is unusual. Decades of neglect left bridges across the country crumbling or near collapse, requiring a massive investment to keep traffic flowing safely.

When they opened it in 1984, officials predicted the West Seattle Bridge would last 75 years.

But in 2013, cracks started appearing in the center span’s box girders, the main horizontal support beams below the roadway. These cracks spread 2 feet in a little more than two weeks, prompting the bridge’s closure.

And it’s still at risk of falling.  

The city set up an emergency alert system so those in the “fall zone” could be quickly evacuated if the bridge deteriorates to the point of collapse.

More than one-third of U.S. bridges similarly need repair work or replacement, a reminder of America’s urgent need to invest in long-ignored infrastructure.

Fixing or replacing America’s bridges wouldn’t just keep Americans moving. It would also provide millions of family-supporting jobs for steel and cement workers, while also boosting the building trades and other industries.

With bridges across the country close to failure and millions unemployed, America needs a major infrastructure campaign now more than ever.

 

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work