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Fight the GOP Tax Bill, December 1 Update

Fight the GOP tax bill, as you have been doing.

Sarah Jane here. First, an apology. I was having technology hiccups with WordPress that prevented me from getting in here to update posts in the queue, and I was having life hiccups too (I have to do this blog in my free time, and I didn’t have much of any this week.)

As you know, this week has been crazy and tense. Lisa Murkowski and John McCain are both yeses on this thing, or at least they were on Thursday November 30.

Everything went extra pear-shaped last night when two things happened.

One, the Joint Committee on Taxation released its numbers, and they showed that the bill would cost us $1 trillion more than the GOP counted on.

Two, it became clear that the trigger that Tennessee Senator Bob Corker insisted on would not pass muster. The trigger would have raised taxes automatically if the economy failed to meet revenue projections assumed by the bill. The trigger was a terrible idea anyway–the government should spend more when the economy is limping and cut taxes when it’s doing well–but still. That was another blow that the Republicans could have avoided if they had, yanno, slowed down and spent the time and effort to write the bill properly and hold hearings that would have allowed them to comb out all the tangles before bringing it to the Senate floor.

The GOP had hoped to vote on the bill late on November 30. Instead, they ended up sending everyone home and planning to resume at 11 am today, December 1. Read more here:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/2017/11/30/c2118302-d5e7-11e7-a986-d0a9770d9a3e_story.html?utm_term=.fdb832e31673

This is good news. It gives us more time to call and fight this wretched thing, which the GOP has loaded with a repeal of the Johnson amendment, which constrains political activity by churches, as well as a form of personhood language, couched in terms of giving fetuses tax benefits for saving for college. Here are the cites on those two inclusions:

Fetal personhood language in the bill:

http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2017/11/06/why_the_republican_tax_plan_gives_fetuses_the_right_to_save_for_college.html

Removing the Johnson amendment prohibitions:

http://www.wbur.org/onpoint/2017/11/29/johnson-amendment-nonprofits

Anyway, the point is–this bill, which was steaming toward passage, is derailed, and we need to take advantage of that. It’s still hugely unpopular. If we call, and get our friends to call, NOW, we could stop it.

Before you scroll down for your scripts, here’s a good update thread from the wee hours of December 1 from our friend Andy Slavitt (@aslavitt), who you should be following on Twitter:

BREAKING: McConnell has 14 hours left on his schedule to try to rewrite the tax bill. Talking to both sides. This has issues. Will tweet soon for those still awake and interested. Long day.

Here goes. This is still an uphill battle. I asked a D Senator & house member if there is a breath of life left & they both said “more.” 2/

Fundamental GOP problem is math. Most favorable interpretation is a $1 trillion increase in debt. 3/

Why do I make this claim? Because the House would never allow a cut that big. AND the House also wants to add ANOTHER $300B is costs.5/

House Rs are gong to insist on state and local tax (SALT) deduction is added back and that’s $300B. Corker and Flake must hold the line.6/

If Corker and Flake get on board the chances of this dying in conference go up. So there are 2 bites at the apple. Now… 7/

If Corker and Flake don’t get on board, then with only 50 votes, Susan Collins becomes critical. Therefore…8/

Senator Collins needs will make Corker’s problems worse. This is the math problem. So…9/

So after all the social engineering (personhood, pro-estate, arctic drilling, loopholes) to win votes, this no hearing, no expert, bad process bill has bad math. 10/

Sens Corker & Flake are insisting that taxes be cut in the amount of 1/2 of that— $500B. If they stick to that, this bill likely dies. 4/

 

So, yes, CALL YOUR SENATORS, and get your friends to call theirs, and it’s extra-urgent to call if you live in Tennessee, Arizona, or Maine, which are represented by Corker, Jeff Flake, and Susan Collins.

Language, information, and resources from previous days is below. Thanks all. Keep fighting the good fight.

We began daily updates on this topic back on November 3.

Please continue to call your MoCs to fight this craptastic bill. Scroll down for a script.

 

In case it isn’t clear from this: The bill is vulnerable, and McConnell is under pressure to get it as close to done as possible before the winner of the Alabama Senate special election is seated.

If you haven’t called to speak out against the GOP tax bill, call your senators and ask your friends and family in other states to call too.

Also, check this link from Indivisible to see if your MoCs are holding a Town Hall or other event where you can appear and ask them to oppose the bill:

http://act.indivisible.org/event/recess-townhall/search/

…And the Not One Penny folks have anti-Trump Tax Scam rallies planned from now until  December 10 at least.

Plug your zip code into the link below to find the event closest to you:

https://notonepenny.org/take-action/#events

Older text follows below but as noted, scroll down for the sample calling script. Target your senators, please.

 

The GOP feels terrible urgency to push through this tax bill for many reasons.

Pressure from donors is one (see link to a relevant story below).

The December 12 Senate special election in Alabama is another. With Republican candidate Roy Moore embattled and compromised, and Democratic candidate Doug Jones on the rise, the odds of the seat flipping blue and reducing the Republican Senate advantage to 51-49 is real.

But here is more good news for those who oppose this highly unpopular bill. The GOP is trying to get it done via reconciliation, which means they can afford to lose only three of their senators (all Democrats and both Independents are opposed–if they represent you and you haven’t yet called to thank them, please do).

Republican Senators Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Susan Collins of Maine have voiced opposition to the bill. (Interesting point to remember–Collins was the one who sought and won the tax deduction for teachers who buy school supplies for their classrooms, and she succeeded in having the deduction made permanent just last year.)

Other potential ‘no’s who have been silent on the issue (at least as of November 18) are Senators Bob Corker of Tennessee, John McCain of Arizona, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

As the days pass, more jaw-droppingly bad aspects of this bill come to light. It’s almost as if Republican MoCs are trying to write a parody of the worst, most unpopular bill they could possibly propose, with tax breaks for private jets, golf courses, and hedge fund managers while taking them away from teachers, graduate students, the sick, the elderly, and the disabled. Except they’re really trying to pass the damn thing.

The Congressional Budget Office released stats that show if passed, the tax bill would force an immediate $25 billion cut to Medicare.

Per a Paul Krugman tweet from Nov 14:

This is awesome: passing the R tax cut would REQUIRE an immediate $25 billion cut in Medicare, plus $111 billion in other cuts (which isn’t legally possible). I.e., the whole exercise is illegal under Congress’ own rules

And Republican senators are also considering repealing the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate within the tax bill, because why not try that again?

This bill is lousy. It blows a $1.5 trillion hole in the deficit, which sets the Republicans up to force unwanted Medicare, Medicaid, and ACA cuts down the line. It lightens the tax burden of the wealthy, and it does so at the expense of the rest of us. The only people who want to see that happen are a fraction of the one percent.

As mentioned in previous posts, the GOP bill would flat-out eliminate the estate tax, a tax that hits the exceptionally wealthy. The tax is also philosophically important. We’re Americans. We don’t want an aristocracy, we want a meritocracy. The estate tax nips aristocracy in the bud. We need to keep it.

The bill would also eliminate tax deductions for medical expenses, state and local taxes, interest on student loans, a tax break that helps teachers buy supplies for their classrooms, and a tax credit that encourages employers to hire military veterans. Tellingly, it keeps the carried interest provision, which allows managers of hedge funds and other financial funds and investment partnerships to be taxed at a lower rate.

In short: The GOP tax bill whacks you and pretty much everyone you know while fattening the bank accounts of people who are already insanely wealthy already, and it encourages the creation of more people like Ivanka, Eric, and Donald Trump, Jr., who were born on third base and genuinely think they hit a triple.

The thoroughgoing lousiness of the tax bill and the GOP desperation to push it through is why we at OTYCD are clearing the decks of scheduled new posts and asking you to focus solidly on opposing this every day until it is dead.

Call, call, call. Yell, yell, yell. Get your friends and family to do it too. We have to let our MoCs know this is wrong and we will not stand for it. 

And again, remember this when your incumbent MoCs are up for re-election. Having to dial for our lives every two or three months is Not On. Thank the Dems who have been doing their damnedest to hold together and raise the alarm. Punish the Republicans who are placing their mega-ultra-wealthy donors above their constituents.

 

Sample calling script: Dear (Senator Lastname), I am (Firstname Lastname, from town, state). I am calling to voice my opposition to the GOP tax bill, which was unveiled on November 2 and passed the house on November 16. This bill is irresponsible and it benefits the exceptionally wealthy at the expense of every other class that pays income tax. It eliminates the estate tax while taking away tax deductions for medical expenses, student loan interest, state and local taxes, and deductions that teachers use when buying classroom supplies and that encourage employers to hire veterans. It also blows a $1.5 trillion dollar hole in the deficit. I am asking you to vote no on this bill. Thank you for listening.”

 

If you didn’t start following these first four people on Twitter during the Trumpcare fight, do so, and add three more tax experts as well:

@benwikler

@celeste_p

@aslavitt

@topherspiro

@sethhanlon

@michaelslinden

@lilybatch

Slavitt and Spiro primarily cover health care, but they’re covering the tax bill because it affects health care, too.

These folks, particularly the first two, will have news updates faster than OTYCD, which does one new post per day.

 

Other resources follow.

 

Check out the Trump Tax Tool Kit:

https://trumptaxtoolkit.org

 

Check out Not One Penny:

https://notonepenny.org

 

Another note related to Not One Penny: Do you live in New York State? The folks at Not One Penny are holding anti-tax bill rallies on November 20 in Oswego and Auburn, N.Y., and they might be adding more as we type this.

Plug your zip code into the link below to find the event closest to you:

https://notonepenny.org/take-action/#events

 

And here is a bundle of links to relevant stories:

 

The GOP tax bill retains a deduction for golf course owners:

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-09/one-tax-loophole-untouched-so-far-the-trump-golf-course-break

 

A majority of the general public seems to recognize that the GOP tax cuts favor the wealthy:

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/60-percent-americans-trump-tax-plan-benefit-wealthy/story?id=50891221

 

The GOP has an extra-strong motivation to pass something, anything, in an attempt to please their donors:

https://www.thedailybeast.com/gop-donors-to-gop-lawmakers-yeah-we-will-cut-you-off-absent-tax-reform

 

Senator John McCain shows his skepticism by calling for normal order, which hasn’t been happening with this tax bill:

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-09-26/mccain-calls-for-bipartisan-tax-effort-just-like-on-health-care

 

White House adviser Gary Cohn likens the earned benefits of Medicare and Social Security to “welfare,” which it is not:

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/09/gary-cohn-trickle-down-is-good-for-the-economy.html

 

Still more links to various stories about the GOP tax bill and assorted aspects of the bill:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/11/02/winners-and-losers-in-the-gop-tax-plan/?utm_term=.d004e6b965c6

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/the-finance-202/2017/11/03/the-finance-202-wall-street-escapes-gop-tax-cutters-unscathed-so-far/59fb725730fb0468e7654095/?utm_term=.7a124f4781ab

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/education/wp/2017/11/02/teachers-spend-nearly-1000-a-year-on-supplies-under-the-gop-tax-bill-they-will-no-longer-get-a-tax-deduction/?utm_term=.dc599785707e

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/the-gops-bill-is-a-sensible-framework–but-still-a-deficit-exploding-tax-cut-for-the-rich-and-corporations/2017/11/02/28b3688c-bffe-11e7-959c-fe2b598d8c00_story.html?utm_term=.62b5bdd7bb78

https://www.axios.com/house-gop-keeps-tax-loophole-for-hedge-fund-managers-2505477999.html

https://www.politico.com/story/2017/11/02/who-pays-more-trump-gop-tax-plan-244472

http://money.cnn.com/2017/11/02/pf/college/house-tax-bill-student-loan-interest-deduction/index.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/house-gops-evolving-tax-bill-leaves-retirement-plan-intact/2017/11/01/755e7906-bf77-11e7-9294-705f80164f6e_story.html?utm_term=.acb66b4fc0c4

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/11/the-house-republican-tax-cut-is-a-failure-on-its-own-terms.html

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/11/the-republican-tax-plan-is-political-suicide.html