by Robert Reich
CA.) -- You know the plot: The
bank robbers set off a bomb down the
street from the bank, and while everyone’s distracted they get away
the reality TV show we’re now suffering through, Donald Trump is the
robbers are the American oligarchs who bankroll the Republican Party,
are plotting the biggest heist in American history – a massive tax cut
estimated to be up to 5.8 trillion dollars.
percent of it will benefit the richest 1 percent, according
to the Tax
is busily distracting America with his explosive tweets and incendiary
– blasting Republican senators Jeff Flake and Bob Corker, NFL players
the knee, Dreamers, refugees, immigrants, transgender people, the
“rocket man,” Hillary Clinton, Obama, NAFTA, Muslims.
Trump bomb is hugely damaging – unleashing hate, threatening democratic
institutions, isolating America in the world.
none of this seems to bother Republicans in Congress, except for a
Senators who won’t be running again. That’s because
Republicans are concentrating their efforts on pulling off the giant
their rich patrons.
fast - get it done before anyone knows what hit them
want to move quickly so no one notices – passing the tax cut before
with no hearings and minimal debate.
the plot succeeds, most Americans will be robbed in three ways.
lose tax deductions they rely on – such as the deduction on earnings
into tax-deferred savings in 401k plans. Some 55
million Americans now rely on 401(k) plans to save for
also lose the deduction for what they pay in state and local taxes.
half of this deduction now goes to taxpayers with incomes of less
say the middle class will come out just fine because they’ll get a
standard deduction. Not true. The average American’s tax bill will rise
the deductions they’ll lose will total more than the higher standard
Republicans are proposing.
Americans will lose government services that will have to be eliminated
order to pay for the giant tax cut – including, very likely, some
$1.5 billion in Medicare and Medicaid cuts were quietly included in the
resolution Republicans just passed, in order to get their tax bill
Senate with just 51 votes. (No one paid much attention because Trump
attacking grieving combat widows.)
Americans will have to pay higher interest on their car and mortgage
other money they borrow, because the huge tax cut will explode the
debt is now around $20 trillion, or 70 percent of the total economy. If
much higher, it will crowd out borrowing and force interest rates
largest upward redistribution of wealth
all this together, the theft would be the largest redistribution from
bottom 90 percent to the richest 1 percent in history.
biggest fear is that word of the heist will leak out to the public, and
tax bill will be defeated by a handful of Senate Republican holdouts
the public pressure.
exactly what happened with their plan to repeal the Affordable Care
GOP’s big-money patrons pushed for repeal not because they had any
objection to the Act, but because they didn’t want to fork over $144
taxes on incomes over $1 million to pay for the Act over the next
the end, Republicans couldn’t get away with it because Americans
more than 23 million people would lose their health coverage, and
would also be on the chopping block.
was willing to distract the public’s attention to give
Republicans a shot at repeal, but the moment the public started
catching on he
blew their cover. After the Congressional Budget Office
consequences of the Republican health bill, Trump called it “mean.”
could do the same with the tax bill. He almost has. When word leaked
week that Republicans were planning to limit 401(k) deductions, Trump
that it wouldn’t happen (and then backtracked on his tweet).
moneyed interests who run the GOP depend on the Trump bomb to divert
from their huge heist. Their challenge is to make sure the bomb doesn’t
in the wrong direction.
ROBERT B. REICH
Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of
Berkeley, and a senior fellow at the Blum Center for Developing
He served as
labor in the Clinton administration and Time magazine named him one of
most effective cabinet secretaries of the 20th century.
Mr. Reich has
books, including the best-sellers Aftershock, The Work of
Outrage and most recently Saving Capitalism.
is also a founding editor of The American Prospect
magazine, chairman of
Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and
co-creator of the award-winning documentary INEQUALITY FOR ALL.