GOP ‘Tax Reform’: A Caricature Becomes Reality

Drowning government in a bathtub
Help! Help! I’m drowning! Photo credit: DonkeyHotey / WhoWhatWhy (CC BY-SA 2.0) See complete attribution below.

If Republicans were to write a bill to hyperbolically make fun of Democratic positions, they might call it “The Mandatory Abortion and Free iPhones for Welfare Recipients Act of 2017.”

The legislation would get rid of the Department of Defense, put in place healthcare for all, and outlaw vehicles with combustion engines. And, of course, it would take away all guns.

If Democrats were to write a bill to hyperbolically make fun of Republican positions, they might call it “The Take from the Poor to Help Billionaires Act of 2017.”

That legislation would increase the number of the uninsured, eliminate incentives to protect the environment, and raise taxes for a large portion of middle class families while providing tax breaks for the owners of private jets.

And then they would realize that this legislation already exists.

It’s currently making its way through Congress.

By the way, the Republican tax bill also includes a “fetal personhood” provision and would allow churches to engage in political activity without losing their tax-exempt status. That item has been high on the wish list of evangelical Christians for a long time.

It’s as though GOP lawmakers are trying to reaffirm every stereotype about them that is out there. It’s almost surprising that the bill doesn’t also somehow try to prevent same-sex couples from filing jointly, outlaw unions or restrict voting rights exclusively to Caucasians.

But all of the provisions that are actually in the legislation might just be stepping stones toward a larger goal. The “tax reform” measure is estimated to cost $1.5 trillion. In reality, it’ll almost certainly cost much more because the bill includes many provisions that would expire after a few years, even though the White House and congressional leaders have already said they want to make them permanent when that time comes.

And, since it’s a myth that a tax relief bill which primarily benefits the wealthiest Americans and corporations would have a “trickle down” effect that significantly benefits the economy, it’s safe to assume that this legislation would significantly increase the already dangerously large debt.

That might suit the “fiscally conservative” GOP just fine because helping billionaires, hurting the Affordable Care Act and all of the other provisions in the current bill are just half the ballgame.

At some point, something will have to be done about the debt. When that time comes, Republicans will pretend to care about government spending again so that they can go after their holy grail: Gutting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

If you think that isn’t the ultimate goal, then look no further than the words of conservative anti-government guru Grover Norquist, who said in 2001: “I don’t want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.”

So maybe the current “tax reform” bill should be called the “Get Ready to Drown Uncle Sam Act of 2017.”

The cartoon above was created by DonkeyHotey for WhoWhatWhy from these images: Uncle Sam face  (Crosa / Flickr – CC BY 2.0), Uncle Sam body (Marco Brandstetter / Flickr), floor (Carol M Highsmith / Library of Congress), Mitch McConnell caricature (NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan / Flickr – CC BY-SA 2.0) and water (bark / Flickr – CC BY 2.0).


Related front page panorama photo credit: Grover Norquist caricature (Donkeyhotey / Flickr  – CC BY-SA 2.0), Donald Trump caricature (Donkeyhotey / Flickr – CC BY-SA 2.0), golf course (Dan Perry / Flickr – CC BY 2.0), Trump body (Holmdel Kiwanis / Flickr – CC BY 2.0), sign (Dan Perry / Flickr – CC BY 2.0).

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3 responses to “GOP ‘Tax Reform’: A Caricature Becomes Reality”

  1. garthpool says:

    Those who claim that cutting Social Security would reduce the deficit, as the authors seem to believe, should explain why they believe that. They would discover that they do not understand how Social Security works.

    Social Security is not a government welfare program. It has no effect on the deficit. Malcolm Mitchell explains these facts in several excellent articles on this very website.

    Otherwise, this is a fine article.

  2. garthpool says:

    It is extremely disappointing that the authors of this otherwise excellent article should state

    “…At some point, something will have to be done about the debt. When that time comes, Republicans will pretend to care about government spending again so that they can go after their holy grail: Gutting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid…”

    On this very website, Malcolm Mitchell has explained in detail over several articles what is wrong with that statement. Social Security has no effect on the debt or the deficit. The authors should not have mentioned it there.

    But for their own selfish purposes, the greedy right-wing fanatics have spent millions of dollars over many years spreading the lie that Social Security is a government welfare program that is busting the budget and must be cut. Their goal is to privatize it so they can rake off the fees for handling the money. They want to get even richer by stealing money that should go to the beneficiaries.

    Of equal importance, they hate anything that benefits the people they despise, which is everyone else, even if those people have earned what they are getting. They believe that all money in the world belongs to them, and they will stop at nothing to get it. This is a simple and obvious fact.

    It appears that the authors of this article have swallowed that vicious right-wing lie about Social Security.

    You can find these words in Malcolm Mitchell’s articles on Who.What.Why:

    “…The favorite lie of Social Security bashers has long been that Social Security and Medicare are alike in being government ‘entitlements.’ In popular parlance, the word ‘entitlements’ refers to programs that require money to be transferred to them from the government’s general fund, if and when collections of more specifically targeted taxes are insufficient to pay benefits. Such transfers would have to be included in the federal budget and so would add to the federal debt…

    “…In his ‘caveat’ to the annual report, Goss emphasized the legal prohibition on government funding for Social Security. Such a prohibition means that Social Security funding should be excluded from any discussion of the federal budget or federal debt…

    “…The lie equating Social Security with Medicare as an ‘entitlement’ is insidious, because Americans are only too aware of the heated debates in Washington today over Medicare…”

    Dean Baker has also explained why Social Security has no effect on the deficit.

    Are we going to let the wingnuts get away with this?

  3. […] Republicans spoofing themselves with their “tax reform” bill. “If Democrats were to write a bill to hyperbolically make fun of Republican positions, they might call it “The Take from the Poor to Help Billionaires Act of 2017″…. It’s currently making its way through Congress.”   https://whowhatwhy.org/2017/11/26/gop-tax-reform-caricature-becomes-reality/ […]