Commentary

Burr and Tillis wage class warfare on behalf of the 1%

Sen. Richard Burr

Sen. Thom Tillis

If you’re looking for the most accurate summation of the GOP tax legislation working its way through Congress and the scandalous actions of North Carolina’s two U.S. senators in aiding and abetting the massive rip-off that’s being perpetrated on average Americans, be sure to read Professor Gene Nichol’s scathing op-ed in this morning’s edition of Raleigh’s News & Observer.

Here are some excerpts from “N.C. Senators vote to ignore the poor, serve the rich”:

“Richard Burr and Tom Tillis voted enthusiastically last week for the Senate tax bill. No hesitation on the home front. The North Carolina boys are all in for the McConnell-Trump knavery.

Burr and Tillis know, or should, the following. The United States is the wealthiest country on earth. It also has higher poverty, and especially, child poverty rates than any other advanced nation. It has the advanced world’s greatest income inequality – the largest gaps between rich and poor. It has among the worst economic mobility rates – if you’re born poor here, you are more apt to stay that way than in other major countries. Our radical economic polarization continues to rise annually. We are the richest, the poorest and the most unequal nation in the world. And North Carolina is worse, on all these measures, than the nation as a whole.

So what is the Tillis-Burr remedy? They voted to borrow over a trillion dollars to create the largest tax cut in history – calling it a cut – but, a la North Carolina, it will raise taxes for the bottom half to give gigantic cuts to the richest corporations and the one-percenters. The bipartisan Joint Committee on Taxation found that, on average, taxpayers earning $75,000 or less will end up paying more in taxes. The bottom 80 percent will enjoy a cut of 0.3 percent, one-third of a percent. The top 1 percent will get about 20 times that. Thirteen million will lose their health care….

Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page published a huge study two years ago, based on data collected between 1981 and 2002. It concluded: ‘America’s claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened … the preferences of the average (citizen) appear to have only a miniscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.’ All that matters, they determined, are the dictates of the donor class. The two professors could have short-circuited the massive project and just interviewed Burr and Tillis.

This is not a mistake. It is not a policy error or miscalculation. It is a crime. It is a middle-class-crushing penalty, not a boon. And for many poor people, poised to lose health care, it is a potential death warrant.

Burr and Tillis announce – if millions are in poverty, well, tough. If the poorest are required to pay more and left again in the shadows without medical treatment, we’re unmoved. Our paymasters have spoken. We are their lapdogs. For us, those at the bottom don’t actually exist. All that matters is the money.”

Click here to read the entire essay.

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