Last week, in a last ditch effort to persuade voters before Election Day, President Trump made one of his most baffling false claims yet. At a rally in Nevada, Trump announced a new 10% tax cut for the middle class that would be passed by Congress and come into effect before the midterms. This came as news to, well, everyone.
Congressional leaders had no idea what Trump was talking about, there’s no bill or language drafted, and, to add to the absurdity, Congress isn’t even in session again before the election. There’s no plan, but even if there were one, there would be no time to vote on it. This is about as blatant a falsehood as you can come up with, but it’s representative of the Republican party’s approach to informing voters about their agenda in the final stretch before the midterms: lie, lie, lie.
Republican members of Congress know that their agenda, cutting social programs for poor and middle-class Americans and directing billions of dollars in tax cuts to the rich, is wildly unpopular with the American people. But rather than adjust their policy platform to align with what could actually win them an election, they’ve decided it’s easier to just tell voters they’re doing something else.
Take this Trump claim that Republicans will pass a 10% tax cut for the middle class. Setting aside the fact that passing it before the election is literally impossible (Trump has already changed his story to saying it’ll be voted on after the election), we know that it’s not going to happen because Republicans already passed a comprehensive overhaul of our tax code last year, and it included virtually no tax cuts for the middle class. They rewrote the entire tax code to reflect their priorities, and it included over a trillion dollars in tax cuts for corporations, billions of dollars in cuts for wealthy individuals, a huge tax cut for the heirs of multi-million dollar fortunes, and crumbs for the middle class.
In fact, a whopping 83% of the bill’s $1.9 trillion in tax cuts are projected to go to the top 1% of the population. If Republicans really wanted to cut taxes for the middle class, why didn’t they do it when they were handing out tax cuts to the rich? It’s because they don’t actually want to cut taxes for the middle class, they just want voters to think they will.
Their shamelessness may start with tax cuts, but it gets even worse with health care. In response to the growing popularity of Medicare for All as an alternative to our absurdly expensive and bloated private healthcare system, Speaker Paul Ryan and his colleagues across the country try to call themselves champions of Medicare who will fight to protect the program from the socialist Democrats hellbent on bankrupting the program entirely by refusing to cut benefits. Never mind that Republican politicians have tried again and again to drastically limit Medicare spending. This year’s House Republican budget alone, their vision for what government spending should look like, included over $500 billion in cuts to Medicare and $1.5 trillion in cuts to Medicaid.
For all of their talk of fiscal responsibility and cutting the deficit, Republicans in Congress passed a tax bill that will add nearly $2 trillion to the federal debt over the next decade. Now that it’s passed, however, they’re right back to using that debt as an excuse to cut social programs that millions of Americans rely on. That’s not fiscal responsibility, that is fiscal shortsightedness. And it shows yet again how little Republicans in Congress can be trusted to follow through on what they claim to believe.
We all know someone who makes promise after promise to be better, but never follows through. After a certain point, you learn to stop believing them. It’s time to do the same for the Republican members of congress. For the single mother desperately hoping for a tax cut in order to afford better childcare, or for the child living in poverty who won’t be able to go to the doctor because of Medicaid cuts, actions speak louder than words. Republicans can talk all they want about how much they care about helping working families, but they’ve had complete control of the government for two years and have done nothing but help the rich get richer.
Until their actual policies start doing the talking, they’ve shown that they have no business earning your vote. So when you’re in the ballot booth on November 6th, remember to vote based on what your member of Congress has actually done for you and your community, not what they’re promising to do.