By Josh Hoxie
Love is in the air. Or so the marketers want us to believe, as Valentine’s Day ads sweep the nation into a frenzy of buying flowers, greeting cards, and confections to communicate our affection.
Washington is less forthcoming with the adoration, especially for working people.
You’re probably tired of hearing about the tax plan passed by Congress late last year. If not, just wait for the media barrage coming your way from the Republican donor class, which is guaranteed to make the Super Bowl Tide ads look like child’s play.
In case you missed it, Republicans jammed through a comprehensive reform of the tax code in December without a single congressional hearing or Democratic vote. The plan was a massive gift to the ultra-wealthy — a money grab by any measure, with just a few peanuts tossed to the rest of us.
Next, Republican lawmakers and their backers announced plans to spend tens of millions of dollars promoting said peanuts, to distract from the huge windfalls going to millionaires and billionaires.
They’ve got their work cut out for them in promoting the most unpopular legislation in recent history.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan took to Twitter to celebrate the reported tax savings of a secretary in Pennsylvania resulting from the Trump tax cuts. Her take of the $1.5 trillion cut? A whopping $1.50 per week added to her paycheck, Ryan boasted.
It’s safe to say this PR effort is off to poor start.
Ryan didn’t explain why he quickly deleted his tweet shortly after posting it. I suspect it had something to do with the Twitter users who pointed out that the billionaire Koch brothers stand to gain as much as $1.4 billion annually, according to Americans for Tax Fairness.
That’s $1.50 a week for the secretary in Pennsylvania, versus about $27 million per week for the Koch brothers.
The Koch brothers jab might’ve hit a bit close to home for Ryan — who, just days after the Trump tax cuts became law, accepted $500,000 from Charles Koch for his fundraising committee. If it looks like corruption, smells like corruption, and tastes like corruption… Well, you get the idea.
The author and Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel taught us, “The opposite of love is not hate, but indifference.” What we’ve witnessed from Ryan and his billionaire backers, as well as Trump, is complete and utter indifference to the needs of working families.
The $1.50 tweet is indicative of just how out of touch Washington has become with ordinary families. The only group that matters is the wealthy. They get the love, the adoration, and the huge handouts.
Meanwhile, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will expire without re-authorization this year. SNAP, sometimes called food stamps, serves one in seven low-income Americans, over 20 million households.
This is just one of many vitally important programs on the chopping block of Trump’s proposed budget. Given the rhetoric coming from the Republican majority in Congress, prospects look dim.
Maybe this Valentine’s Day, Cupid’s arrow will strike our greedy Koch brothers as they sit in their private jets looking down on the working families for whom they hold such deep disdain. Maybe they’ll find a little love and compassion for the less-well off and stop doing everything they can to make themselves richer and everyone else poorer.
Josh Hoxie directs the Project on Taxation and Opportunity at the Institute for Policy Studies.