Once again, my friends, we are the lowest on the food chain when it comes to politics in the U.S. and once again, we have been played for a fool. The tax bill that the two chambers of Congress quite quickly, in the grand scheme of things, given the complexity of the U.S. Tax Code, and given the fact that it is already proven to add trillions of dollars to the national debt, reconciled, has apparently the support of every damn republican in Congress. Why? Because it is giving We The People tax relief? Nope. Because their donors have told them to pass the bill or else, and because Trump is adamant, like a petulant child, that he must win at something, anything, before the end of the year. Enter Senator Bob Corker.
Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, a republican, announced his retirement from the Senate on Tuesday, 26 September, 2017, stating that he would not seek re-election next year. Corker was one of the more ‘moderate’ republicans, not uber-right wing, but what they refer to these days as an ‘establishment republican’, whatever that is supposed to mean. I was rather sad about his announcement in one way, for his kind, the kind that believe in bi-partisanship, in doing the right thing for the nation, are a dying breed, being squeezed out by the likes of Steve Bannon and his chosen few. But, in another sense I was glad for two reasons: 1) it would open a seat in the 2018 mid-terms for a democrat to win, as there would be no incumbent advantage; 2) Corker now had nothing to lose … he didn’t need donor money next year and he no longer needed to pander to Trump in order to receive his endorsement. He would be free to vote his conscience, and it appeared that perhaps he had a bit of one, after all.
I was buoyed when I heard him say, “I also believe the most important public service I have to offer our country could well occur over the next 15 months, and I want to be able to do that as thoughtfully and independently as I did the first 10 years and nine months of my Senate career.” It seemed to confirm that he would use his unique position to stand up to Trump and the “Freedom Caucus”.
And so, when the tax ‘reform’ bills of the House and Senate were said to be reconciled, I expected no less of Corker than the stance he took in late November/early December, saying he would not support any bill that would add to the federal deficit.
“At the end of the day, I am not able to cast aside my fiscal concerns and vote for legislation that I believe, based on the information I currently have, could deepen the debt burden on future generations.”
Fools that we are, we actually believed him. And then on Friday, he went into a meeting with his “Nay” hat on, and came out with his “Yea” hat on. What happened, my friend? Moolah, dough, dinero, cash … that’s what happened. There is virtually no change in the bill’s devastating effect on the federal budget deficit, yet Mr. Corker’s conscience flew out the window of that meeting room.
The conference report (reconciliation of the House and Senate versions of the bill) released last week does nothing to address Corker’s deficit concerns. But there was one small change to the bill, the incorporation of a clause that benefits owners of pass-through businesses with few employees but significant depreciable assets—such as, for example, owners of real estate LLCs. Well, now, isn’t that handy for one Donald Trump, real estate “mogul”? But wait … it is also quite handy for soon-to-be ordinary citizen/businessman Bob Corker who is ranked the 4th wealthiest Senator in Congress. His net worth? $69,450,025. Yes, my friends, $69 million and change. Close your eyes and try to imagine seeing that on your bank statement or investment portfolio.
Under the new “tax reform” bill, I am willing to bet that Mr. Corker will pay a smaller percentage in taxes of his net income than you or I in 2018. So, all of a sudden, it does not matter all that much after all if the federal deficit, and thus the national debt spiral out of control. Mr. Bob Corker will be sitting in his mansion, eating his steak and lobster, and saying, “So what? I got mine.” And meanwhile, we have once again been sucker-punched, played for fools, and shown just how much conscience any of our elected officials have.
2018 is the year that we need to do some serious housecleaning, get every damn one of those cobwebs out of the dark corners, along with the abominable creatures who made them (my apologies to all the spiders in the world, for spiders are really quite benevolent as compared with the lot in Congress).
We The People need to take stock in what drives our voting habits, need to make sure that our friends on both sides of the aisle understand that at the present time, every republican member of Congress, and quite possibly many of the democrats as well, have been bought and paid for, lock, stock and barrel, by Trump’s friends, the wealthy 1%. We all need to heed this wakeup call and understand in no uncertain terms that the United States of America is no longer a democratic republic, of the people, by the people and for the people, but rather a plutocracy: government of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich, gained by stepping on the broken backs of the poor.
We The People have been sold downriver, and we have little left to lose. Let Us Rebel!!!