After a procedural vote in the U.S. Senate on Wednesday evening allowed for the Republicans to bring their tax overhaul plan to the floor for debate and a final vote in the coming hours, author Naomi Klein is among those critics of the plan—which has received a full-throated and fact-free endorsement by President Donald Trump—who say nobody should be fooled about what the GOP is attempting to do and who they are serving.
Citing this devastating article in Thursday's New York Times —titled "It Started as a Tax Cut. Now It Could Change American Life"—about the future implications of what has been dubbed the #GOPTaxScam by its detractors, Klein commented in a tweet: "This is why I called the Trump presidency a
#CorporateCoup on Jan. 20 and my opinion hasn't changed."
— Naomi Klein (@NaomiAKlein) November 30, 2017
As the Times article notes, and as many others have echoed, the plan being rammed through goes way beyond providing tax cuts skewed towards the rich and powerful:
Some measures are barely connected to the realm of taxation, such as the lifting of a 1954 ban on political activism by churches and the conferring of a new legal right for fetuses in the House bill — both on the wish list of the evangelical right.
With a potentially far-reaching dimension, elements in both the House and Senate bills could constrain the ability of states and local governments to levy their own taxes, pressuring them to limit spending on health care, education, public transportation and social services. In their longstanding battle to shrink government, Republicans have found in the tax bill a vehicle to broaden the fight beyond Washington.
The result is a behemoth piece of legislation that could widen American economic inequality while diminishing the power of local communities to marshal relief for vulnerable people — especially in high-tax states like California and New York, which, not coincidentally, tend to vote Democratic.
Chat Bolt, policy manager for the advocacy group Indivisible, also highlighted regressive provisions that GOP members have crammed into the bill: "Sneaky ACA repeal. Drilling in ANWR. New rights for fetuses. Lifting limits on church political activity. Constraining states from funding education, transpo, etc. All in a "tax" bill that gives the rich, corporations, and Donald Trump a massive tax cut."
Meanwhile, Sen. Bernie Sanders warned Americans this week, the Trump/GOP giveaway to the nation's corporations and wealthiest families "will do incalculable harm to tens of millions of working families, women, kids, the sick, the elderly, and the poor."
If the Republicans are successful in passing their pending tax and budget plans, Sanders warned, "13 million fewer Americans will be insured, and health care premiums will surge for tens of millions more. Further, the Republican budget cuts Medicaid by $1 trillion over 10 years and Medicare by over $400 billion. In order to give huge tax breaks to billionaires and large corporations, the Republican budget also makes enormous cuts to education, nutrition, affordable housing, and transportation—and will crush college students and college graduates struggling with debt."
Julian E. Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University who spoke to the Times, agrees. "When the time of reckoning comes to fix huge deficits," he explained, "social safety-net programs will be first on the chopping block."
And it's not just prominent progressives like Sanders and Klein issuing such warnings.
Also quoted by the Times was Arnold Hiatt, the former CEO of the shoe company Stride Rite. "This tax bill is a grand deception," he said, referencing the attack on the healthcare system and social cuts the GOP plan is specifically designed to undermine. "It hurts the most vulnerable, and hurts health care and education, which are essential for a healthy economy."