I’m sitting here very confused. And whilst you might think that this isn’t unusual, well…. you’d be right.
However, before there are too many comments aimed at me (you know who you all are) let me explain what’s getting me this time.
Here in the UK, we enjoy certain benefits, which is part and parcel of living in this nation we call home. We enjoy the benefit of knowing that – if we fall ill – we will be looked after, irrespective of whether we are rich or poor, whatever our background, race, politics, gender, or any other delineator you can think of: we get sick, we get treated, and thanks to the skills of our medical professionals, we know that if it’s possible to get better, then we most likely will.
We enjoy the benefit of a diverse community, where people are valued for what they bring to us rather than devalued for what we might think they take. We excel at embracing differences.
When the need arises, we have the benefit of truly brave, truly exceptional people in our emergency services. The sight of a copper on the beat, or the sound of a siren signalling the presence of an ambulance or fire engine rushing to an incident, makes almost all of us react with respect for the job they do.
We also have our government and parliament. Now I’m not going to be so churlish as to say they get – or deserve – universal respect. However, I haven’t ever had cause to complain to our parliament over the situation that – were I a US citizen – would have me fuming and firing off emails and letters by the hundreds.
The other day, the Republicans got their Tax plan past the first hurdle towards making it law. Seeing as they have failed to get any other significant bill passed, despite control of all levels of the US Government machinery, makes this a big deal for them. But it appears to have been rushed through with many, many amendments that the legislature simply didn’t have time to fully read or understand before the vote. And as the detail emerges, it seems that there are some elements in this bill which really shouldn’t be there.
Remember – this is a bill about taxation levels.
So why is there a clause in the bill removing restrictions on drilling for oil in the Arctic wildlife preserve?
Why is there a clause removing the requirement for churches not to endorse political candidates (thereby revoking the separation of church and state that is enshrined in the constitution and bringing the potential demise of the First Amendment one step closer)?
Why is there a clause on abortion, reclassifying life as officially starting at conception (I mean – what has that possibly got to do with taxation)?
Why is there a clause reducing the size of some of the US’s most beautiful National Parks by as much as 90%?
There are a bunch of things being pushed through in an apparently desperate attempt to sneak previously failed legislation onto the statute books. And there are some amazingly unfair, even cruel fiscal policies that are bundled into the bill.
Why are welfare programs that help 50% of Americans survive – not thrive, but survive -being defunded so that millionaires with their own private jets can deduct the cost of owning and running them? Medicare itself is being defunded to the tune of $400 BILLION.
Why are student debt relief regulations (which allow young adults with outstanding tuition fee debt to pay the debt without the additional tax burden) being scrapped, so that those with homes worth over $5.49 million can avoid paying tax on their estate when they die?
Why are changes to the mandate put on states to provide healthcare insurance under the ACA being lifted, so that individual states can decide not to treat people with particular illnesses? And so that 13 million people immediately lose their healthcare coverage?
There really are so many elements in this bill which are almost viciously cruel in and of themselves. Bundle them together, and the aim is clear – the ‘family values’ party really doesn’t care about you, unless you are wealthy and can afford to buy them off.
The elderly, the sick, the young, would all be worse off. Whereas certain families, such as – ironically – the Trump family, would be better off to the tune of over a billion dollars a year.
And yes – that’s the worst use of the word ‘ironically’ in the history of language.
I said at the top of this post that I’m confused. And I am. Here’s what confuses me.
How the hell did enough people believe the lies and propaganda that has brought us to this position?
I sure as hell can’t work that out…
Still, look at it this way. Republicans control the Senate, the House of Representatives, the majority of State Governors, the Supreme Court, and the Presidency. This situation hasn’t happened since 1928. And they are truly partying like it’s still the Roaring Twenties.