Certain lawmakers have a bad habit of splitting the American people into two groups when talking about quality of life, jobs, retirement, health care, and taxes. In a new House Budget Committee blueprint, lawmakers have worked to enrich very wealthy at the expense of everybody else.
The man who recently tried to silence workers at their jobs, Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price, dreamed up the idea that working people should shoulder the cost of enormous budget cuts in order to subsidize the activities of his wealthy pals.
First, a Quick Quiz:
Is this budget blueprint for you? Answer "yes" or "no" to the questions below:
- Is safe food and clean air important to you?
- Do you think sturdy roads, safe bridges, and the improvement of infrastructure should be a priority?
- When you board a plane, should someone screen passengers so deadly weapons aren't allowed onboard?
- Do you think you're paying too much for healthcare and would you like some help?
- Do veterans deserve to be seen quickly when they need healthcare or benefit assistance?
- Should National Parks be maintained and kept open for all Americans to enjoy?
- Should the government help out when there is a major disaster?
- Is medical research and important breakthroughs important to the future of our collective health?
If you answered "yes" to the majority of questions, then congratulations - you're a normal, hardworking American trying to make a better future for yourself and your country. If you answered "no" you're one of the few people this budget will actually benefit.
Are you tired of paying your fair share while wealthy CEOs and their corporations reap the benefits?
Let's Dig Into What the Blueprint Proposes:
- Cutting public investments in America. Government investments would be slashed by $887 billion below existing sequestration cuts for non-defense programs like medical research, law enforcement, education, and affordable housing.
- Repealing Wall Street reforms. Wall Street reform that protects against another financial crisis would be repealed. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an agency that protects American consumers, would be dismantled.
- Killing jobs. Approximately 200,000 federal Jobs across many agencies will be cut, hurting local communities where those jobs exist. The remaining employees will have to do more with less.
- No back up. Those public servants doing more with less, shouldn't count on reinforcements. Only one in three vacancies would be filled.
- Retirement gets more difficult. Working people would see their defined benefit portion of their retirement phased out completely. Take-home pay would shrink y 2-5% because they'd be required to contribute more to their pensions. Their retirement system annuity supplement would be eliminated, meaning employees who retire before they are eligible to collect Social Security are out of luck. Thrift Savings Plan G-Fund's rate of return would be reduced, slashing retirement income by $32 billion.
- Making federal health care less affordable. Approximately $22 billion in costs would shift onto retirees by tying the government’s share of health care premiums to inflation, not the average cost of plans.
- Taking away people’s health insurance. Two-thirds of seniors and those with disabilities would be hurt, as the budget blueprint cuts Medicaid by $1 trillion. It's also bad news for students and self-employed workers who are increasingly enrolled in Medicaid.
- Increasing medical bills for the elderly. The blueprint cuts Medicare by $450 billion and requires seniors to pay co-pays for preventive care. Seniors would find more medications unaffordable, as the proposal reopens the “donut hole” coverage gap.
- Making college unaffordable for low-income students. Working, low-wage students who have to balance school and their jobs would find their Pell Grant financial assistance program taken away.
- Letting health and safety violators off the hook. The proposal would prevent the Occupational Safety and Health Administration from imposing fines on businesses that violate certain health and safety rules.
It Seems "Only the Little People Pay Taxes"
Rep. Price's budget blueprint seems to affirm a quote by late businesswoman and tax cheat Leona Helmsley who famously said that "only the little people pay taxes."
While you're hoping for a meager refund after you file your taxes on April 15, U.S. corporations are holding $2.1 trillion in profit outside the United States to avoid paying their own taxes. In fact, fifteen Fortune 500 companies paid no taxes at all last year. Some even got money refunded by the government! We'd say it was almost criminal, but it seems those who make the laws are acting as accomplices.
This budget proposal doesn't do anything to:
- Stop American corporations from hiding their profits overseas to take advantage of the next tax holiday. What could these taxes pay for? Those items you answered "yes" to in the quick quiz above.
- Stop hedge fund managers, private equity barons, and wealthy financiers from getting a better tax rate than teachers, fire fighters, police officers, school bus drivers, and others who work for people, not profits.
- Stop corporate jet owners from continuing to get a tax break on their private planes (while the rest of us ride coach and pay for Every. Single. Bag.).
- Keep corporations from using our oceans, rivers, air, and land as their private waste disposal sites.