Letter: The path of cuts

Saturday, December 16, 2017
The path of cuts

“Tax cuts pay for themselves!” shouts a happy Republican elephant as he reaches for a wealthy donor’s check (Monitor cartoon, Dec. 13). That’s the biggest thing that voters need to remember as Republican congressional leaders scramble to ram through some sort of tax bill before January, when they lose one of Alabama’s Senate seats.

Republican donors are big, and they want tax cuts. Lindsey Graham says that if the tax bill doesn’t pass, “contributions will stop.” Doug Deason, a Texas financier, says “it’s just disappointing when you put people in office and they don’t do anything.” Unless we see an earthquake, some sort of bill will pass, and the chief beneficiaries will be big corporations and wealthy individuals. And everyone agrees that it will add around $1.5 trillion to the federal deficit.

I’m betting that the big deficit will birth an attack on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. In fact, House Speaker Paul Ryan makes no secret of that intent: “We’re just going to keep going at entitlement reform all the way down the road,” he said on Fox News. To Ross Kaminsky, he added, “Frankly, it’s the health care entitlements that are the big drivers of our debt.” (Remember that for ideologues like Ryan, “reform” is a polite way of saying “cuts,” and “entitlements” are a euphemism for programs like Medicare and Social Security.)

So Ryan and his friends want to pass tax “reform” (another euphemism), thereby creating an enormous deficit, which will justify their cuts next year to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.