When Congress finally passed the misnamed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and it was signed into law, it was clear that what it represented was an enormous transfer of wealth from all poor and almost all working people to the richest 1% of society. The biggest benefits would go to the super-rich.
It was the most reactionary change in social policy since the Bill Clinton administration pushed through “Ending welfare as we know it” in 1996.
But the worst is yet to come.
It may take a while for TCJA’s impact to become clear. This is true even though there were plenty of critical articles and reports that showed how one or another group of middle-income workers would be hurt. They showed how the cut in corporate tax from 35 percent to 21 percent and the elimination of estate taxes for an estate less than $11 million would benefit only the rich.
In some last-minute conspiring between the House and Senate, a few of the most outrageous “reforms” were summarily eliminated. These were the “reforms” that aroused and mobilized sectors of the working class to demonstrate against the bill.
For example, the provisions that graduate students would have to declare tuition relief as income and the rejection of interest deductions on student loans were deleted.
Without examining each change — which will take much more space than this editorial allows and will probably keep tax attorneys and accountants busy all year — we can conclude that the great majority of the expected $1.5 trillion increase in the budget deficit will be in the hands of the super-rich. They will use it to establish even greater control of future laws.
The mythical increase in investments and new jobs will fail to provide tax income. To the extent U.S. capitalists plan at all, CEOs plan new investments in technology that will reduce jobs and cut labor costs.
The ensuing increase in federal budget deficits will become the pretext for more attacks on the federal programs that provide services: Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid, what’s left of the Affordable Care Act, Veterans benefits, environmental protection, food and drug regulation and other Health and Human Services programs, etc. These cuts harm the entire working class, and Black, Brown and all oppressed peoples, women, children, immigrants and people with disabilities disproportionately.
The Republican Party, which pushed through the TCJA, is obviously an enemy of working people and a friend of the rich. The Democrats too, for their feeble resistance to this bill, have shown that they are unwilling to seriously challenge the interests of the capitalist class.
Thus the “tax reform” repeats the lesson shown in other areas: What’s needed is an independent mobilization of the mass movement against the current government — which necessitates that it be separate from the Democratic Party.
Don’t just hate the TCJA. Fight it and what are the inevitable next attacks on the workers and oppressed.