Do you have family, friends, neighbors who lie to you ... regularly? I hope the answer is no, but if it’s yes, do you continue to trust them? How many lies does it take before you feel you can no longer trust anything they say? You know the old story about the boy who cried wolf. I don’t remember how many times he lied about the presence of a wolf, but I think the intended lesson of the fable is a warning to those for whom telling the truth is not a habit. You lie enough and you won’t be believed when you are actually telling the truth.
I think some things that sound good when trumpeted from a microphone have consequences that outweigh those perceived benefits. More on that later.
Who doesn’t like a tax cut? I can imagine no hands raised on that one. The 2017 Trump tax cut had winners and losers. Briefly, the already wealthy and corporations were the winners, with about 85 percent of the trillion-plus tax cuts going to them over the next 10 years. Over all, the Joint Committee on Taxation estimates, “The law delivers taxpayers who earn over $1 million or more a tax cut of $37 billion in the next year alone.” The other big winner was corporations, which saw a permanent tax cut from 35% to 21% with the idea being that would allow them to expand, therefore hiring more workers... “massive investment,” according to Secretary of the Treasury Mnuchin. Actually, a great deal of that tax deduction was used for buying back their stock, which in turn increased its price on the market and the pay of the CEO, which in many or most cases is based upon the stock price. No revenue, other than speculations about growth that even ultra-conservatives, like the Koch brothers, assessed as overly optimistic, was built in to cover this massive cut.
President Trump had this to say about the tax cut plan on Sept. 13, 2017: “The wealthy won’t benefit. The rich will not be gaining at all with this plan.”
On Dec. 24, 2017, while in Mar-a-Lago, he was heard discussing the tax plan which had just passed with fellow wealthy members, saying, “You all just got a lot richer.”
Fast forward to 2019, and time to build a budget for 2020. We have a big tax hole to fill or we need to cut spending, or put it on the country’s credit card for the next generation. The Trump administration chose the middle option and has proposed a budget that is full of cuts, including an $845 billion cut to Medicare, a $25 billion cut to Social Security and $1.5 trillion in cuts to Medicaid. No department escaped huge budget cuts except the Department of Defense, oh and there is $8.6 billion included for a southern border wall.
“I’m not going to cut Social Security like every other Republican and I’m not going to cut Medicare or Medicaid,” promised candidate Trump in the Daily Signal, a conservative publication affiliated with the Heritage Foundation. Hmmm, I think he is just proposing to cut those very programs he pledged he would not.
I think our elected leaders should tell the truth most of the time and I refuse to give them my vote if they don’t.
Huge revenue cuts, whether in a family or a country, have consequences. Household or national budgets have to be adjusted. What I think is that when given a choice of buying a fancy new car, ensuring I have medical care or putting food on the table, the choice is obvious. What I think is that when that budgetary control is entrusted to elected leaders and they make very bad choices for me and mine, I am going to do something about it. I will vote them out of office. What I think is that people who have been serving in office have a record. It can easily be determined if they have lived up to their promises to the best of their ability. I think it also usually becomes obvious if they are truth-tellers or liars.
Dianne Kocer lives in Green Valley.