Myth vs Fact: Trump’s Tax Proposal

Fond of giving himself high marks for nearly everything, President Trump receives low marks for his recent tax plan. When he introduced the Unified Framework for Fixing our Broken Tax Code in a speech on September 27, 2017, he made several statements about it that are easily refuted. Why would he lie so blatantly while coming out of the gate on such an important part of his agenda?

MYTH: Trump claimed the plan’s benefits are focused on “not the wealthy and well-connected…and it’s not good for me; believe me.

FACT: This preposterous claim is undercut in black and white by the very document on which Trump’s tax plan is based. The United Framework proposes to:

  • “Lower the tax rate for the top income bracket from 39.5% to 35%.” According to the Tax Policy Center, such a reduction would reduce federal revenues by $2.4 trillion over the next 10 years.
  • “Repeal the estate tax.” This move would be a boon to families with over $20 million in assets.

Trump touts repealing the “horrible and devastating” estate tax as a huge deal for farmers, but it is wealthy urban families who will reap most of the rewards (and U.S. tax revenues that will be decreased, and the deficit will be increased). Estimates suggest an estate tax repeal will benefit only about 80 farmers. If the goal is to protect farmers, the estate tax can be tweaked rather than repealed altogether. This is a typically Republican move: back policies that overwhelmingly benefit the rich while they claim to be helping the little guy.

As far as how much Trump himself will or will not benefit, he of course has yet to release his tax returns, so we can’t know exactly. But we can safely say that when he says the tax plan “is not good for me,” he is lying.

MYTH: These tax cuts will pay for themselves in increased growth of the American economy and higher wages for all workers. “What is good…is if everything takes off like a rocket ship.” – President Trump

FACT: The best non-partisan (or at least most objective) opinion on the topic is from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) who in a 2005 study analyzing a 10% cut in taxes concluded that, at best, only 22% of the revenue lost by the cut in taxes would be recouped in the first five years and 32% during the second five years. At best.

What’s Next?

Given Trump’s failures, so far, in the first year of his Presidency: failed Healthcare Repeal efforts, failed Travel Ban, failed Swamp draining, failed Border Wall, failed infrastructure plan, let’s hand Trump another failure – contact your members of Congress and urge them not to pass this egregious tax cut for the wealthy.

Contact your Republican Member of Congress and tell them enough is enough: no more lies and no more tax cuts for the wealthy. They do not pay for themselves. All they do is make the rich richer, while the rest of us pay.

Senator Marco Rubio: DC Office Phone (202)224-3041. Email (and more office numbers) can be found on his website: Rubio’s Website

Congressman Ted Yoho: DC Office Phone (202)225-5744. Email (and more office numbers) can be found on his website: Yoho’s Website

References:

Unified Framework for Fixing our Broken Tax Code, United States Treasury, (https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Documents/Tax-Framework.pdf), September 27, 2017

Analyzing the Economic and Budgetary Effects of a 10 Percent Cut in Income Tax Rates , Congressional Budget Office, (https://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/109th-congress-2005-2006/reports/12-01-10percenttaxcut.pdf), December 1, 2005

Thank you to one of our new writers, Marshall Bloom, for writing this post.

What Trump Did Last Week to Obamacare

Democrats have been negotiating with Republicans on a bipartisan “stabilization bill” that would include a guarantee that CSR payments continue. But merely guaranteeing those payments is not enough. Ask your MoCs to ensure that the bipartisan bill continues protections for people enrolled in association health plans, that short-term plans stay truly short-term, and that CSR payments continue.

What Trump Did Last Week to Obamacare

Last week, Trump signed two Executive Orders (EO)—remember how much Republicans used to complain about Obama’s EOs?—aimed at nothing less than crippling the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The following has been taken from an email sent by Vox.com’s health care expert, Sarah Kliff:

The White House announced late Thursday morning it would cut off a key Obamacare subsidy that makes copayments and deductibles more affordable for low-income Americans. These subsidies were never appropriated in Obamacare and thus are being illegally distributed.

There is no question that this new policy is lose-lose-lose for key stakeholders with no upside:

  • It will raise Obamacare premiums by an estimated 20 percent in 2018, as health plans have to charge more to make up the lost funds. By 2020, premiums would increase 25 percent due to this change.
  • Pulling the plug actually increases the national deficit. As those insurance plans make double-digit rate increases, the government will have to spend billions more on the other subsidies that 10 million Americans receive to purchase that coverage.
  • The Congressional Budget Office estimates that this move will ultimately cost the government $194 billion over the next decade.
  • The number of uninsured Americans would rise by 1 million people in 2018, in the CBO’s estimate.
  • Insurance companies lose out, too, particularly those that assumed Trump would pay these subsidies and set their premiums accordingly. They now stand to face significant financial loses on the Obamacare marketplaces.

To recap: Trump is enacting a policy where the government spends billions more to insure fewer people.

The other Executive Order, according to the national Indivisible website, is:

…directed the Departments of Treasury, Health and Human Services (HHS), and Labor to implement new regulations that will expand the availability of association health plans (AHPs) and short-term insurance plans. While this won’t have an immediate effect because the departments still need to write the regulations and hold a rulemaking process, this will drastically reduce the number of Americans enrolled in plans that are covered by the Affordable Care Act’s consumer protections. If small businesses and others take full advantage of the new rules, they could offer their employees plans that don’t cover essential health benefits and have more leeway to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions.

The result will be:

…that more young, healthy consumers enroll in these skimpy plans, driving up the cost of more comprehensive ACA-compliant plans. This will result in ACA plans becoming more expensive, which will drive people with less serious health needs out of these plans, which will result in higher premiums—a cycle known as a “death spiral.” The end result will be two insurance markets: one for relatively healthy people that offers cheap but inadequate coverage, and one for sick people that offers prohibitively expensive coverage.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

Again, according to Indivisible:

Democrats have been negotiating with Republicans on a bipartisan “stabilization bill” that would include a guarantee that CSR payments continue. But merely guaranteeing those payments is not enough. Ask your MoCs to ensure that the bipartisan bill continues protections for people enrolled in association health plans, that short-term plans stay truly short-term, and that CSR payments continue.

Senator Marco Rubio: DC Office Phone (202)224-3041. Email (and more office numbers) can be found on his website: Rubio’s Website

Senator Bill Nelson: DC Office Phone (202)224-5274. Email (and more office numbers) can be found on his website: Nelson’s Website

Congressman Ted Yoho: DC Office Phone (202)225-5744. Email (and more office numbers) can be found on his website: Yoho’s Website

 

YESTERDAY WE MOURNED, TODAY WE GET TO WORK TO END GUN VIOLENCE

IMMEDIATE CALL TO ACTION:

Please contact TED YOHO and demand that he vote AGAINST The SHARE Act (HR 3668) by calling his DC office at (202) 225-5744; his Gainesville office at (352) 505-0838; or emailing him through his website: https://yoho.house.gov/contact.

You can also join Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense’s efforts to defeat the SHARE act by texting SILENCER to 64433.

Indivisible Gainesville extends our deepest sympathies to the latest victims of the epidemic of gun violence in our country. This heinous act in Las Vegas, which took the lives of over 50 innocent Americans and left hundreds injured, is the 273rd mass shooting in the 275 days of this year.

We stand defiantly against those who wish to obstruct progress by saying that now is not the time to politicize the debate over gun control. There will never be a convenient time and the sooner we act, the more lives we can save. It is with this in mind that we ask you to join us in turning our grief into action and call your Congressional representatives. Tell them that we will no longer allow them to protect gun industry profits at the expense of American lives. We must come together as a nation to reject false narratives by the NRA and the politicians who serve them.

Here is one way we can start to resist the toxic gun culture that leads to violence every day in our country:

Congress is set to vote on H.R. 3668, the SHARE (Sportsmen Heritage and Recreational Enhancement) Act. The vote will likely be delayed because of the Las Vegas shooting. Ironically, it was delayed back in June due to the mass shooting at the Congressional softball practice. But it will be voted on at some point.

Contained within the SHARE Act is a provision called the Hearing Protection Act, which aims to overturn regulations that have been in place since 1934 requiring people who wish to purchase noise suppression devices (gun silencers) to undergo an application process that includes submission of fingerprints and a strict background check.

Removing these restrictions would make the devices easier to buy and make weapons quieter when being fired.  The loud report of a weapon being discharged is a public safety feature; it is possible that many more injuries and fatalities could have occurred had concert-goers in Las Vegas not heard the gunshots.

The Hearing Protection provision was at one time a standalone bill co-sponsored  by our very own Congressman Ted Yoho. Please contact him and demand that he vote AGAINST The SHARE Act (HR 3668) by calling his DC office at (202)225-5744; his Gainesville office at (352) 505-0838; or emailing him through his website. https://yoho.house.gov/contact  You can also join Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense’s efforts to defeat the SHARE act by texting SILENCER to 64433.

We ask that in the coming weeks and months you join us in dedicating our efforts to demand that our elected officials do their job. Protect us by passing common sense gun safety laws to help prevent horrific tragedies like Las Vegas, Pulse Nightclub, and Sandy Hook and save the over 10,000 American lives per year that are lost to gun violence. We must not be silent, we must not allow our outrage to fade. Together, we will demand change until they truly hear us.

Visit the national Indivisible Blog for more information about the SHARE Act: http://www.indivisible.org/resource/preventing-gun-violence-tell-members-congress-prayers-not-enough/

In Solidarity,
~The Indivisible Gainesville Team

A UF DREAMer Speaks Out

The University of Florida is home to many students who are referred to as DREAMers, individuals who were brought without documentation to the United States at an early age, who have assimilated to U.S. culture and have been educated by U.S. school systems.

In 2012, President Obama signed the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) directive, which protected these productive members of society from immigration enforcement. Trump has announced that DACA will end in six months. In the meantime, Congress can act and pass a bill protecting DREAMers.

One such DREAMer, an accomplished student at the University of Florida, shared her exceptional story with Indivisible Gainesville, as well as her heartbreaking anxiety that has only spiked in the wake of Trump’s announcement.

I am a DREAMer. My family entered the United States from Ecuador when I was two years old and I haven’t returned to my home country since I was six. I speak English more fluently than I do Spanish. America is my home regardless of what some Americans call me.

The sacrifices my parents have made for me are too many to mention, but because of their hard work, I have never taken my education for granted. I have always sought to better myself as a person, I am a candidate for a doctoral program at the University of Florida, hold leadership positions in student organizations, work as a teaching assistant, and have been accepted to prestigious programs within my major at premier universities. I believe there is incredible value in education and I make sure that all my actions, up to this point and beyond, showcase just how much I value my own. I will use my education to help to decrease health disparities in our nation, but I cannot do that if DACA is removed.

DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, has allowed me to do what I love and has given me a chance to achieve all my dreams. I have not taken any of that for granted. I have worked tremendously hard to study here in the United States and have grown to become a confident, educated, and resilient woman because of the opportunities that would not have been plausible in my home country.

I believe I hold one of the best attributes in a student: the willingness to get back up after falling down. However, it would be extremely difficult to get back up if DACA is removed. I would be sent back to what is essentially a foreign country to me. I am living the American dream; I have worked so hard to have this stripped away from me for no sensible reason. This is my home. Please don’t make me leave it.

How can you help?

  • Call your Senators and tell them to co-sponsor the bipartisan Durbin-Graham “DREAM Act” (S. 1615) to create a legislative fix to the predicament of these young Americans, and take their future out of Trump’s hands.
  • Call your House Representative and tell her/him to co-sponsor Rep. Gutierrez’s American Hope Act (H.R. 3591) give those with DACA and others who arrived in the United States as children a path to permanent legal status and eventual citizenship.

Need help finding your members of congress?

Visit this link, enter your information and hit submit. It’s that easy.

For more information on DACA and how to talk to your members of congress, visit this link on the Indivisible Guide website.

Indivisible Gainesville stands in solidarity with America’s DREAMers.

“Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech”, or Taking Away Your Healthcare.

CALL TO ACTION: Last weekend, Donald Trump intentionally threw gasoline on the flames of the culture wars when he called for the firing of NFL players who refuse to stand for the national anthem. His statements have bounced around the internet and grabbed the attention of the media. While all of this has been going on, there is still a bill in Congress to repeal and destroy Obamacare.

With Trump’s new blasts against the NFL, he means to make us think we need to choose which fight will take the better part of our attention: Civil Rights, or Healthcare. We, as Americans, have the right to protest; it is LITERALLY enshrined in the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America.

Americans also have the right to health care, and if this bill passes? People will die.

We would never ask you to back down from one issue to fight the other – that’s what Trump wants. Instead, we urge you to fight both issues alongside each other.

We must NOT lose this ongoing war over Obamacare because we let our focus be shifted from the looming deadline of September 30th. So, every time you read something about the NFL players, every time someone argues that they don’t have a right to protest, call it out, tell them they’re wrong, tell them why, and then also call your Senator to ask them to vote against Graham-Cassidy! Call Marco Rubio. Call Senators Murkowski and Collins and tell them to vote against it.

For Democratic Senators, ask them to use every procedural tactic possible to run out the clock. For Republicans, you know what to do.

Collins and Murkowski have still not made a definitive statement about their vote. There is no room for error and no room for complacency – until the clock strikes midnight on October 1st, this isn’t over. We’re the only thing standing between the Senate and healthcare for millions of Americans.

The best way to beat Trump is to defeat his tactics AND his legislation. We can work both atrocities at once. Together. Never stop fighting until the fighting is done.

Visit our home page or our public Facebook page for a call script and phone numbers. For even more information on what you can do, please visit the Indivisible Guide.

We stand with YOU.

In Solidarity always,
~The Indivisible Gainesville Team

 

#resist #saveourcare #calltoaction

 

Fight To Protect A Fair Democracy

I voted for Hillary Clinton yet I am responsible for the election of Donald Trump. Why would I assume this responsibility?

As I processed the implications of the decision our country made on Nov. 8, I became perplexed with how this happened: If a majority of Americans voted against Donald Trump, why was Trump elected?

More broadly, if Democrats garnered more votes in the 2012, 2014 and 2016 congressional elections, then why did the Republicans win more seats? These facts call into question how solid our democracy is if a continual majority of votes fails to equate with power.

The reasons for this injustice are not great mysteries. In fact, they laid in plain sight. The first is gerrymandering. In 2011, Republicans redrew congressional districts to crunch urban primarily Democratic voters into single districts so the remaining districts were heavily rural and red (e.g., Florida’s 5th Congressional District).

The second is voter suppression. Republicans across the country have passed strict voter ID laws; consider that in certain states you can use a gun license to vote but not a student ID! They have also reduced early voting to suppress the poor and predominantly black voter block.

This is where my responsibility comes into play. Since I was aware of these injustices, surely I protested? Nope, I assumed my Democratic officials would remedy these injustices and that other people would fight the fight. I simply watched my beloved democracy fall apart. So can I really now claim shock at the election of Trump and his brazen assertions of nonexistent voter fraud?

If anything positive comes out of what we as a nation did on Nov. 8, maybe it is this: It woke a majority out of its complacent stupor. I regularly engage my representatives now to let them know that I will no longer allow for unjust power plays to erode our country’s core principles. I am not alone — nearly 6,000 grassroots Indivisible groups have sprouted up in every corner of our beautiful nation with members resisting through phone calls, town halls, protest marches and running for office.

There is more reason for optimism. The state and federal justice systems have ruled the gerrymandering of 2011 to be unconstitutional in Florida, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Virginia and Texas. Likewise, voter suppression has been deemed unconstitutional in several states.

If you are a Republican politician reliant on gerrymandering and voter suppression to be elected, what do you do when the courts rule these practices unconstitutional? Expand your base so you can win elections by receiving a majority of the votes? Or I guess you could reduce the power of the judicial system … but that would undermine the very essence of our democracy so no one would do that, right?

You can imagine my dismay when I read about efforts of Florida Republicans to disempower our justice system. State Rep. Julio Gonzalez and Sen. Keith Perry have filed matching bills in their respective legislative bodies requesting an amendment to our state and federal constitutions that would allow court decisions to be overridden by a majority vote of Congress — meaning they want to remove those precious checks and balances!

Likewise, U.S. rep. Ted Yoho penned his own opinion piece recently where he stated: “Congress can change the composition of the courts, it can withhold funds from the judicial branch, or it can impeach the judges themselves.” One must wonder at what point Republicans will stop trying to undermine our democracy in order to maintain power and will instead focus on broadening their base.

But one promise I make today — I will no longer sit back complacently and wait for an answer. I will fight these efforts in town halls, in the streets, at the ballot box. To Gonzalez and Perry: You require a vote by the people to change our Constitution and I will fight you tirelessly to ensure people understand the undemocratic ramifications of such a vote. To Gonzalez, Perry and Yoho: I will actively fight against your re-election since your actions reveal your lack of respect for our democracy.

Most importantly, I will teach my children to be engaged in their democracy because this is a lesson that must not only be learned but passed on to future generations. We the people have failed our Founding Fathers. They expected more of us. They expected us to protect this beautiful country not just one day every four years but every day we are lucky enough to be a part of it.

I now recognize that our democracy is not guaranteed simply because of a piece of paper that lays out its framework, that the Constitution only defines us as a nation when its citizens stand up and demand that our politicians adhere to its core principles. I now understand what every great politician has preached — that our democracy is fragile and must be protected rigorously and continuously.

 

Dear Rick Scott, Climate Change Is Real

“While we do not yet know whether Scott’s actions played a part in the inexcusable deaths at the Rehabilitation Center in Hollywood Hills after Irma, it is clear he values corporations more than the safety and care of our elderly.”

Governor Rick Scott did a good job in the week preceding Hurricane Irma’s Florida landfall. But before we heap on too much praise, we should remember all that Scott has done during his tenure to make Florida residents more vulnerable to storms like Irma. His championing of government deregulation and continued denial of the effects of climate change have increased the risk that Floridians face during hurricane season.

Government deregulation is a cornerstone of Rick Scott’s political agenda. Yet many of these actions have left Floridians more vulnerable to catastrophic storms like Irma. Just this year, Scott signed bill HB 1021, which significantly weakens the strict building codes put into place after Hurricane Andrew devastated Florida in 1992. This action was taken by Scott in spite of proof that the building codes protected people – after Florida was hit with four hurricanes in 2004, FEMA reported that homes built to these strict codes fared significantly better than other homes. A former head of FEMA, Craig Fugate, said this recent move by Scott and the Republican-controlled legislature sickened him.

In 2011, Scott repealed a 1985 law that restricted development on wetlands. Because our wetlands absorb water and thus help prevent flooding, their depletion results in a much higher risk of flooding during storms like Irma. Hurricane Harvey provided a real-time example of how development-depleted wetlands can exacerbate the effects of a storm.

Scott also slashed funding for the state’s water management districts by $700 million and replaced the scientists with pro-development industry insiders and lawyers. Water management districts are responsible for establishing flood protection programs, and their decline degrades Florida’s capacity to cope with hurricanes.

Scott’s administration has rolled back safety protections for long-term care facilities, thereby reducing the number of hours that nursing homes must provide direct care to their residents. In fact, just 34 days into his governorship, Scott agreed to a direct request from the long-term care industry to fire the director of Florida’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, Brian Lee, who had served in that role for seven years, providing a voice for the vulnerable patients in these facilities. While we do not yet know whether Scott’s actions played a part in the inexcusable deaths at the Rehabilitation Center in Hollywood Hills after Irma, it is clear he values corporations more than the safety and care of our elderly.

In all of these examples, Scott supported actions for the sake of increased industry profit, ignoring the danger they posed to the people he was elected to serve.

There is overwhelming evidence that rising sea levels and warmer oceans make storms like Irma and Harvey even more powerful. Actions can be taken to minimize the effects of climate change, but leaders like Scott who deny its existence, stubbornly refuse to protect us.

Our governor has repeatedly voiced his disbelief in climate change. He even banned use of the words “climate change” and “global warming” from all official state communication. This is particularly absurd in a state whose governmental agencies must, by necessity, figure out how to build new roads to accommodate rising sea levels and prevent saltwater contamination of our freshwater aquifers –two immediate consequences of climate change.

Not even the ferocity of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma could open Scott’s eyes to global warming or soften his perverse resolve to leave Floridians unprotected. After twice visiting the ravaged Keys, he told reporters: “Clearly our environment changes all the time, and whether that’s cycles we’re going through or whether that’s man-made, I wouldn’t be able to tell you which one it is.”

Scott’s climate change denial in a state that is already being significantly impacted by climate change reminds me of one of my favorite quotes, from conservative darling Ayn Rand, no less: “We can ignore reality, but we cannot ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.”

Scott deserves praise for his numerous press conferences and clear directives in the buildup to Irma, but while showing up in a ball cap and barking orders is impressive, responsible leadership over the long term is what counts. Over his tenure, Rick Scott has steadily and intentionally eroded Florida’s defenses against hurricanes in the name of corporate profits. Now, just as storms are growing stronger than ever, Floridians have been left more vulnerable because of his actions.

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