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

It’s easy to make fun of the GOP as a party that helps billionaires at the expense of everybody else. But the Republican tax bill shows that the joke is on regular Americans while the rich will be laughing all the way to the bank.

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).


  • Klaus Marre

    Klaus Marre is a writer, editor, former congressional reporter, and director of the WhoWhatWhy Mentor Apprentice Program. Follow him on Twitter @KlausMarre.

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  • DonkeyHotey

    DonkeyHotey creates art to illustrate news articles and opinion pieces. His current work is a combination of caricature, photo collage, and photo manipulation.

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