capitol-building

Lights shine inside the U.S. Capitol Building as night falls in Washington last week.

I’ve forgotten who said this originally, but it has stuck with me since I first heard it: “There are lies and damned lies.” Turning that into a major premise we can complete a syllogism. “There are liars and damned liars,” as the minor premise. As a corollary to the syllogism we can form an observation, “Most of them are in the present federal administration.”

Now I recognize the nonvalidity of the last remark as an exercise in logic as I learned it at St. Ambrose College. However, it certainly makes sense in light of the proceedings of President Trump’s administration during 2017, culminating in the Republicans pushing through their “tax reform” as a gift to major corporations, multi-millionaires and billionaires.

According to our Republican friends in Congress, the huge tax reductions given to corporations will result in great prosperity by creating more high-paying jobs for the rank-and-file of us. They will produce more goods and raise wages to increase the buying power for all of us.

If you believe that bovine manure, check yourself into a funny farm. In its January issue, Fortune magazine published the results of its investigation. Many company executives (but not all) thought they may boost share prices by using their tax windfall to buy back outstanding stock issues. Others thought they may boost dividends to shareholders. Hardly any said they might invest in equipment or a new factory. Why should they? Right now production is at a peak. There is no market to fill. Any new equipment would be automated, resulting in layoffs of unnecessary personnel.

No, the plain truth is corporate hierarchies are planning how to stuff bonuses, stock options and pay raises into their pockets. The average worker? Reread the preceding paragraph. They are expendable. In a Dec. 27 editorial in the Des Moines Register, Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., pointed out the tax scam shifts wealth from the middle class to the ultra-rich. It takes away from the 99 percent and rewards the 1 percent. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center estimates 86 million middle class families will see their taxes rise in three years, but not companies or the ulta-rich. Also, according to the nonpartisan Committee for Responsible Federal Budget, the “reform” will add $2.2 trillion to the federal debt, reducing the value of the dollar.

There is another aspect of the tax “reform” that should chill the average person to the bone. Now the ultra-wealthy and corporations will have more money to buy members of Congress. Almost 100 percent of members of Congress will deny they are affected by huge influxes of campaign money, but revert back to the first paragraph of this article and re-read the syllogism. If you were tired in 2016 of the constant political advertising on television, radio, print media and your telephone, just wait until the added wealth from “tax reform” comes into play. You won’t be able to get away from all of it unless you move to an address totally devoid of any outside communication.

To avoid further damage to our economy you must develop a mindset that, come 2020, there will be some changes. Listen to the minor political parties, because it’s darned certain Democrats won’t know how to reverse all the damage that will be done until then. Just as the Republicans have done with President Obama’s legislation, so must the next Congress do to Trump’s legislation.

Cancel it, abolish it, all but the increased military spending. The way the world is going, we will need all the military we can muster. Then we must listen to, and support, politicians who believe in “pay as you go,” not “buy now and pay later.” To do that we need real tax reform, not gifts to people and organizations that don’t need it.

Stanley Smith is a former Cedar Falls City Council member.

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