Republican campaign rhetoric always whips up the crowd with several polarizing issues, protecting Second Amendment rights, stopping abortions, bashing the liberal media and preventing immigration. But can we talk about some other important issues that you might want to consider?
Whoa! No need to bring up Obama and Clinton. I won’t mention them. Hold on, I won’t talk about anything I heard on CNN or MSNBC. Hey, give me a break. I was born in Iowa; I’m a gun owner; I was a registered Republican for over 50 years. Ok — are we good now?
Other than your loved ones, what would provide the most quality for your life? If you didn’t say good health is number one or two, I’m wondering what you’re thinking. Can we agree that your health is important for your wellbeing? Ok. Are you on Medicare or hope be on Medicare? Today you simply apply when you’re eligible and receive a card that’s accepted by most health care providers. You get lifetime coverage with no caps regardless of preexisting conditions.
Let me tell you what House Republicans proposed in their latest budget. They want to convert Medicare to a “premium support system.” Congress will appropriate a certain amount of funding each year for a voucher that you can use as “support” to buy health insurance from an insurance company. Actually, their plan looks something like Obamacare with politicians controlling your subsidy.
At the same time, Republicans would cut almost $500 billion from Medicare funding over the next 10 years. Are you comfortable with profit-minded insurance companies controlling your health care and Congress controlling the amount you get to buy coverage? I’m not.
Perhaps you think Medicaid is a welfare program that benefits people who won’t work. Well, just ask your local hospital administrator what would happen if Medicaid funding were severely cut. See what she thinks about the Republican budget that would cut $1.5 trillion from Medicaid and other health care programs over the next 10 years. These cuts would financially stress rural hospitals, forcing many to significantly raise rates or shut down their emergency room facilities or even close altogether. You may think Medicaid funding cuts won’t affect you or increase your health insurance premiums — but most certainly they will.
Did the Republican tax reform give you a large increase in your take home pay? Not much? Do you own a bunch of Apple stock? No? Well, this stellar high-tech company just completed a $22.8 billion stock buyback that was aided by the GOP corporate tax cut. Plus, Apple announced plans to purchase $100 billion more of its shares and approved a dividend increase of 16%. Shareholders were thrilled.
But Apple isn’t unique. The tax cut helped numerous companies buy back shares. According to an article by financial network CNBC, share buybacks in 2018 have averaged $4.8 billion per day, double the pace from the same period last year. Share buybacks increase share prices and shareholder wealth but do nothing for worker’s wages or the economy. Wage increases for working families continue to barely exceed inflation.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities separated U.S. taxpayers into five income levels. Think of them as stair steps to the top incomes. Three steps up is the middleclass where the average tax cut benefit is estimated to be $910. The next step up is the upper middleclass that will receive an average of $1,680. The fabled top one percent will receive an average tax cut benefit of $61,090.
So, unless you’re really rich, your tax cut won’t come close to buying a riding lawnmower while the top one percent can buy a nice luxury automobile. Even the average tax cut of $7,460 for those at the fifth step – the top 20 percent of incomes — won’t come close to paying the yearly premiums for comprehensive health care insurance.
Do you wonder what happened to Mr. Trump’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan? There’s probably no better use of taxpayer money. These projects are guaranteed to create good paying jobs and improve the economies of many rural areas that need the boost. Well, no matter what Mr. Trump says, it won’t be happening this year or perhaps for several years. The Trump/GOP tax cut has pushed the budget deficits into dangerous territory, leaving scant funds for a significant infrastructure program – or anything else.
There’s no doubt many good paying jobs have left the U.S. but studies show that automation is the real culprit – and that trend will only accelerate. Your children and grandchildren will need a better education to compete for the good jobs of the future. But Republicans in Congress are proposing significant cuts to job training and education funding. Republican-controlled states like Kansas and Oklahoma have cut education funding in order to give tax cuts to the wealthy. That’s why teachers in five of these states have been striking.
Most American families can’t afford private schools. So funding cuts will leave their kids or grandkids with aging schools, outdated books, old computers and crowded classrooms. Few things are more important for your children’s future than a good education.
Your concerns about guns, abortion and immigrants are important to you and deserve consideration. But you shouldn’t let ambitious politicians use them to deflect your attention from the health care and education issues that will truly improve life for you and your family.