We Can’t Afford to Return to Regressive Taxation

I am outraged. “45” spent his entire campaign claiming that he would stand up for everyday Americans, and yet his recent tax proposals are nothing more than thinly disguised handouts for the wealthy. Not the wealthy…the super wealthy!

We have returned to a feudal system where hard working people pay “rent” to the Lords of the Manor.  Benefits to and for working people, like healthcare, are being cut, while those savings flow directly into the pockets of the rich. And just as in feudal times, while the Lords make out like bandits, the emperor and his family most likely end up with even more.

One of the biggest breaks for the wealthy coming out the Trump tax plan is the absurd proposal to repeal the estate tax. The estate tax was introduced a century ago when economic inequality had reached such historic levels that it was considered a threat to national stability. Guess what? Income inequality is back at its highest level since then. The working class scrapes by while the Lords get richer and richer. Keep in mind: The estate tax applies ONLY to holdings in excess of $10.9 million per household or $5.49 million per individual. The billionaire class, our Lords, pay a maximum estate tax rate of 40% (there are so many loopholes that it’s rare for them to pay even a quarter of that), which means that for each $1 billion they’ve hoarded, they get to pass down $600 million to their family and friends. Not enough? I say enough is enough!

But the madness does not stop with the repeal of the estate tax. Trump’s tax plan also proposes to repeal the 3.8% tax on investment income for the top 1% of earners making over $200,000 ($250,000 for couples) that was introduced to help fund the Affordable Care Act. Forget the top 1%, what about the top 1/10th of 1%, those adding another zero to their incomes-$2,000,000 each and every year?! Each one of these super-rich Lords will save a minimum of $76,000 per year. The Emperor himself will probably save as much as $4 MILLION PER YEAR! Meanwhile, 24 million Americans will lose their healthcare coverage. As Charles Blow recently pointed out in the New York Times, quoting a 2009 Harvard Medical School and Cambridge Health Alliance study, “nearly 45,000 annual deaths are associated with lack of health insurance,” and “uninsured, working-age Americans have a 40 percent higher risk of death than their privately insured counterparts.”

This is outrageous on both a moral and pragmatic level. People who do not have access to affordable health care are more likely to make emergency room visits rather than using less burdensome preventative care, and are also less able to work and participate in the economy. Making health insurance unavailable to 24 million Americans simply to give a tax cut to the wealthy makes me sick, and putting that kind of burden on our economy and health services is just bad business.

I am outraged that we could even consider such a short-term and poorly thought-out change to our tax laws. I am outraged that we as a country are not holding ourselves to a higher standard. I am outraged that the president, or rather the Emperor, is putting the business interests of himself and his wealthy friends, the Lords, over the interests of the American people.

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