Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.
Two-hundred people in Anchorage, Alaska, greeted Senator Lisa Murkowski this summer when she returned home after voting against one of the GOP’s many attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Even Democrats like Cynthia Parkin came to show their support, because, as she told the Anchorage Daily News, “I know Lisa just went against the grain.” On Wednesday, however, Murkowski wrote in an op-ed in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner that she wouldn’t oppose the GOP plan for tax reform just because it includes a provision repealing the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate.
Parkin and other like-minded Americans may find themselves at a different kind of rally on Monday, November 27, when the activist group Indivisible is planning a national day of action against the bill, known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, right after Congress returns to Washington from Thanksgiving recess.
The bill currently stands to repeal corporate and personal taxes, most of which would benefit the wealthiest Americans. The tax cuts that help the middle and working classes, however, are temporary, and when they expire, those Americans stand to pay even higher taxes, according to an estimate from the Tax Policy Center. This means tax increases for Americans making between $10,000 and $75,000 over the next 10 years, according to a report from the Joint Committee on Taxation, Congress’ official non-partisan tax analysts. As Indivisible, “The Trump Tax Scam is tax cuts for the wealthy paid for by the rest of us.”
To fight back, “We are encouraging Indivisible groups to plan sit-ins at as many of their Senators’ regional offices as they can around the state. Statewide actions will be the gold standard,” Indivisible’s leaders said in a statement. Indivisible has continued to update its website, TrumpTaxScam.org, with events around the country, call scripts for specific senators who may be on the fence, and a call tool that allows concerned citizens in blue states to call residents of three states, Alaska, Arizona and West Virginia, and encourage them to call their own senators to tell them to vote no on the plan.
Groups in Arizona have already started pressuring retiring Senator Jeff Flake. On the day before Thanksgiving, local leaders said in a statement, “We’re at Jeff Flake’s office to urge him to vote NO on the #TrumpTaxScam. Who will pay for the deficit, Flake? The middle class, while ultra rich and corporations get a tax cut?? We say NO.”
In Utah, another activist focused on the dangers repealing the individual mandate poses to veterans and disabled Americans, noting, “I already knew it is heavily favoring the uber-wealthy and big corporations. But I didn’t know how much it was going to screw veterans. We just had Veterans Day and many of us spent time honoring our military.”
While the health care bill provoked a massive outpouring of protests, and disturbting moments of activists in wheelchairs being dragged and arrested in the capital, the tax plan hasn’t received the same amount of public outrage. In general, Americans tend to believe their taxes are too high. George H.W. Bush arguably lost his chance at a second term because he failed to deliver on his memorable promise: “Read my lips, no new taxes.”
Still, the specter of repealing the individual mandate made the bill more personal, and arguments against the reverse-Robin Hood nature of the bill (taking from the middle class to give to the rich), and polls continue to suggest the bill is unpopular. For those who like a little music with their activism, MoveOn is planning GOP Tax Scam Holiday Caroling. Those with actual musical ability can find more information here.
Ilana Novick is an AlterNet contributing writer and production editor.