What if I told you about a $1.3 trillion disaster passed mostly under a contortion of the Senate rules known as “reconciliation” and signed into law by a new, untested president whose legitimacy was questioned by millions?
What if I told you this big government giveaway would destroy years of hard-won fiscal responsibility, resulting in a “lost decade for jobs” as we fought two wars and expanded the government in unprecedented, unfunded ways? And after this $1.3 trillion boondoggle fueled skyrocketing inequality and blasted a gaping hole in the budget we would be left with a once-in-a-half-century financial crisis that would leave America borrowing more than a trillion dollars a year?
You might say, “Boycott the Bush tax cuts!”
But Republicans would call you a crazy, un-American, ACORN-suckling, Sharia trial lawyer, communistic, socialistic, fascistic, Maoistic, son-of-a-Saul Alinsky. Who would turn down a tax break? That’s our money, libtard. GIVE IT BACK.
But that’s the magic of President Obama. He can turn Republicans against tax breaks or subsidies for the poor and the middle class, if they were ever for them in the first place.
On October 1, up to 26 million Americans will begin to find out that they are eligible for subsidies through the Affordable Care Act. Many, if not most, Americans have no idea that these tax credits are heading to all legal residents who earn up to 400 percent of the poverty level, up to $45,960 a year for a family of one.
This is why the wary proponents of health care reform get optimistic when they see a state like New York, California and Maryland release rates for its health insurance exchange that are lower than experts expected. These already discounted rates don’t even factor in the subsidies that, in Maryland, for instance, an estimated 75 percent of state residents will get.
In order to stomp on this good news before it begins to spread, conservatives are actually arguing that middle- class Americans should reject these tax breaks.
FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity, a conservative issue group financed by billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch, known for funding conservative causes, are planning separate media and grassroots campaigns aimed at adults in their 20s and 30s – the very people Obama needs to have sign up for healthcare coverage in new online insurance exchanges if his reforms are to succeed.
“We’re trying to make it socially acceptable to skip the exchange,” said Dean Clancy, vice president for public policy at FreedomWorks, which boasts 6 million supporters. The group is designing a symbolic “Obamacare card” that college students can burn during campus protests.
This is just the latest (and most hilarious) step in a multi-prong sabotage campaign against Obamacare that congressional scholar Norm Ornstein recently called “unprecedented” and “contemptible” in the National Journal.
These “non-partisan” social welfare non-profits want college students to evoke resisting the Vietnam War draft to reject health insurance coverage. They may have forgotten that one of the Obamacare benefits already in effect is that students can stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26 — something that smarter students will remind College Republicans of as these millennial Alex P. Keatons boldly reject the tax subsidies most of them will likely receive when they do enter the exchanges.
And if young people who are eligible for the exchanges don’t sign up and get insured, they’re volunteering to pay what the Supreme Court calls a “tax” for not complying with the individual mandate.
This ridiculous stunt by “outside” groups is also being echoed by a few elected Republicans who are vowing to defund Obamacare before the subsidies in the law go into effect.
“On Jan. 1, the exchanges kick in and the subsidies kick in,” Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) said Saturday at the Western Conservative Summit. “Once those kick in, it’s going to prove almost impossible to undo Obamacare. The administration’s plan is very simple: Get everyone addicted to the sugar so that Obamacare remains a permanent feature of our society.”
Republican promises to “Lower your tax burden!” and “Increase your take-home pay!” suddenly become “Get everyone addicted to the sugar!” when tax breaks help middle-class Americans pay for health insurance.
This is why today’s Republicans can’t admit the real reason why they oppose Obamacare: The middle-class tax breaks in Obamacare are paid for almost entirely by taxes on the richest 2 percent of Americans and corporations.
Obamacare’s subsidies are like another government program that subsidizes working families, which Republicans conceived and used to support: the earned income tax credit. But today’s GOP is funded by billionaires who are jealous of the people on food stamps, and millionaires who get massive tax breaks and rant against the 47 percent of Americans who “don’t pay income taxes.”
The Bush tax cuts were sold as a tax cut for all Americans. But while a middle-class family could take their tax break and buy a new hood for their car at a salvage yard, the richest Americans could buy a new factory with their breaks. And the worst part is they didn’t buy or build a factory, they kept their money or sent it overseas.
What if I told you about a government program that cuts the deficit by billions and already is covering millions of Americans while saving kids’ lives? A program that will soon help millions Americans pay for insurance they need anyway with unexpected tax breaks funded by those who can afford it? A modest, fully funded compromise solution that will keep hundreds of thousands of Americans from going bankrupt?
You should say, “Sign me up.”
Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr.com