San Diego Protest Set for Monday, 4:30pm at the Downtown Federal Building, 880 Front Street
In the wee hours of Saturday, Republicans in the Senate, having learned from their shortfalls in attempting to repeal Obamacare, cobbled together enough votes to pass legislation using taxes as a mechanism to foster fundamental changes in the lives of Americans.
All the bad things you may have heard about this legislation are true to one degree or another, but it’s the overall effect that’s important. The GOP has signed America up for a subprime mortgage guaranteed to fail younger generations and paved the way for instilling a new social order based on greed and privilege.
So, the question remains, what can be done? Sure a few smallish protests by the already-committed can make some noise, as they did in New York this weekend with a crowd chanting “lock him up.” These ain’t gonna fix what is obviously a systemic problem.
Getting rid of Trump is no solution; it’s a step in a process of building a movement.
The Republicans, as Charles P. Pierce pointed out in Esquire, didn’t need Donald Trump to make this abomination happen. (And most of its worst impacts will kick in long after Trump is consigned to the trash heap of history):
In fact, it is important to keep in mind that, all things being equal, this is a bill that would have been proposed and passed even if the Tailgunner, or Marco Rubio, or Chris Christie, or John Kasich had been elected president last November. If the president* had been impeached by the end of business on Inauguration Day, this bill, and the sad carnival of how it was passed, wouldn’t have changed a bit…
…This was not a Trump bill. This was a Republican bill, a kind of culmination of everything the party has stood for since Ronald Reagan fed it the monkeybrains in 1981 and the prion disease began slowly devouring the party’s higher functions. It is purely supply-side in its economics, purely retrograde in its attitude toward the political commons, and purely heedless in its concern for anyone except the donor class who keep the party alive. This is why the Republican party chose to ally itself 50 years ago with the sad detritus of American apartheid.
Here, cribbed from the pages of Indivisible’s Trump Tax Scam site is what we have to look forward to:
The Tax Scam Passed the Senate. What Now?
Republicans have jammed the Trump Tax Scam through the Senate, by a vote of 51-49. It’s hard to imagine how this bill could be worse: not only does it give massive tax cuts to the rich and corporations, it also allows drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, exacerbates growing inequality, and adds $1 trillion to the deficit—which will force deep cuts to Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security down the road.
The Tax Scam is not yet law. Republicans have two options for how to get the Tax Scam across the finish line, and then they have to immediately attend to funding the government. Here’s what comes next.
OPTION A: “GO TO CONFERENCE”
Since the House and Senate passed different versions of the Tax Scam, one option for Republicans is to merge them together by “going to conference.” This is where members of the House and Senate are appointed to a conference committee. The goal is to work out the differences between the bills and put them together into one “conference report” which is then voted on by both the House and Senate.
There are a number of important differences between the two bills, first and foremost the repeal of the individual mandate that was included in the Senate version but not the House. There are also differences between the individual tax rates, the estate tax, and the alternative minimum tax.
Republicans have all publicly said they want to go to conference. Going to conference would more closely resemble “regular order” and allow for some review of what is in these bills. That extends the process of passing the Tax Scam by at least two weeks or so, because they have to appoint conferees, come up with the agreement, and then vote on it in both chambers. Given the deep unpopularity of the Tax Scam, it’s likely they’ll try to avoid conference at any cost by instead choosing Option B…
OPTION B: THE HOUSE PASSES THE SENATE BILL—AS IS
To really put the pedal to the metal on finishing the Tax Scam, Republicans can instead have the House pass the version just passed by the Senate. Even though Republicans have all said they want to go to conference, it would save them a ton of time and trouble to go this route instead. If the votes are there in the House to pass the Senate bill, they will.
Look for Speaker Ryan to quietly spend the weekend twisting arms behind the scenes. There is currently a vote scheduled on Monday, December 4 to “instruct conferees” (tell the members of the Conference Committee what to do)—but this could easily be turned into a vote on the Senate bill itself if the votes are there.
TURNING TO GOVERNMENT FUNDING AND DREAM
If Republicans go with Option A, it will mean the conference report on the Tax Scam takes a back seat to next week’s main event: finding a way to fund the government by the December 8 deadline. If they go with Option B, and the bill passes the House, it will mean Congress has finished its work on the Tax Scam.
Either way, our attention now needs to be on funding the government and holding Democrats to their commitment to secure inclusion of the DREAM Act in the funding bill. Democrats have promised for three months that they will use their leverage on the December spending bill to get the DREAM Act done. Now it’s time for them to deliver. Read more and find out how you can help Dreamers at www.dreamerpledge.org.
So here’s the short-term stuff in San Diego:
- A protest at the Federal Building in Downtown San Diego at 4:30 on Monday
- No to the Republican #TaxScam! Issa: Vote NO on Healthcare cuts, (Near UCSD) qat 5:30 Monday
- Actions at the offices of various elected Representatives throughout the week. (I’ll update these as they come in and you can see many already set activities in our Weekly Progressive Activist Calendar.) ♦Weekly Issa Protest (Tuesday, 10 am, Vista)!
- The Women’s March is organizing for a January 21 demonstration and needs volunteers.
Here’s what needs to be down the road to mitigate and hopefully reverse the damage being done by the bill.
- The #TaxScamBill is written so that the middle class won’t take a hit until after the 2018 midterm elections. So organizing campaigns based solely on ginning up fear over tax increases for the middle class will be neutered. (The increases largely occur in the next decade.)
- If (more likely when) the projected boost(s) to the economy don’t occur, a downturn will likely occur prior to the 2020 elections. This will explode the projected increase deficit over the next ten years to $2 trillion, and the federal government will be severely constrained in how it can respond due to the higher interest rates mandated by the increased riskiness of borrowing (printing) money.
- In effect, the only sources of funding for unexpected emergencies will be ‘payday loans.’ And we all should know by now how that usually works out.
- Those with a more cynical view on politics say this will force the Congress, no matter who is in power, to dismantle what is left of the social safety net to pay for day-to-day expenses.
- The best path to undoing what has been done is moving forward with an agenda that looks to not only repair the damage, but build a better future for us all.
- This starts with a Blue Wave in 2018, one so big and so broad there can be no mistaking the message being delivered. This needs to happen at every level of government.
Just a reminder: in the 2014 Congressional midterms, turnout was 36.4%.
If you’re upset about Congressional enabling of Trump, the tax bill, or anything else—start working *now* to register people to vote for 2018. Sign up to volunteer for a candidate, a cause, or a political party.
DON’T sign petitions and think you’ve done your bit. Chances are you’ve just volunteered your email address to some fundraising outfit. And more petitions.
Finally, I know simply electing Democrats isn’t a viable long-term solution. The process of engaging the citizenry is as important as the results. The system we live under is set up to accommodate two political parties, so let’s use what we’ve got. And never let up.
.@SenOrrinHatch on CHIP: “I have a rough time wanting to spend billions and billions and trillions of dollars to help people who won’t help themselves – won’t lift a finger – and expect the federal government to do everything.”
— Jenny Wilson for UT (@JennyWilsonUT) December 2, 2017
Looking for some action? Check out the Weekly Progressive Calendar, published every Friday in this space, featuring Demonstrations, Rallies, Teach-ins, Meet Ups and other opportunities to get your activism on.
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