Friday, December 8, 2017

GOP Tax Plan: Great For Very Top; OK Some in Middle, A Few at Bottom: CHIP Last

Gloomy Prospect Across the Country for Needy Kids

Prize for #1 Lousy Quote for 2017- Hell, Maybe All Time Winner

Another excellent article from Paul Krugman (NY Times) – re: GOP dragging their feet on funding the CHIP program for kids.

The Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP was introduced in 1997, with bipartisan support. Last year it covered 8.9 million kids. But its funding expired more than two months ago. Republicans keep saying they’ll restore the money, but they keep finding reasons not to do it; state governments, which administer the program, will soon have to start cutting children off.

Senator Orrin Hatch Sen. Finance Committee Chairman was asked about the program which he helped create, and once again he insisted that it will be funded — but without saying when or how (and there don’t seem to be any signs of movement on the issue). He further declared, “The reason CHIP’s having trouble is that we don’t have money anymore.” Then he voted for an immense tax cut.

And one piece of that immense tax cut is a big giveaway to inheritors of large estates. 

Under current law, a married couple’s estate pays no tax unless it’s worth more than $11 million, so that only a handful of estates — around 5,500, or less than 0.2 percent of the total number of deaths a year — owe any tax at all. 

The number of taxable estates is also, by the way, well under one one-thousandth of the number of children covered by CHIP. But Republicans still consider this tax an unacceptable burden on the rich. The Senate bill would double the exemption to $22 million; the House bill would eliminate the estate tax entirely.

So now let’s talk dollars. CHIP covers a lot of children, but children’s health care is relatively cheap compared with care for older Americans. In fiscal 2016 the program cost only $15 billion, a tiny share of the federal budget. Meanwhile, under current law the estate tax is expected to bring in about $20 billion, more than enough to pay for CHIP.

As you see, then, my question wasn’t at all hypothetical. By their actions, Republicans are showing that they consider it more important to give extra millions to one already wealthy heir than to provide health care to a thousand children.

Are there any possible defenses for this choice? Republicans like to claim that tax cuts pay for themselves by spurring economic growth, but no serious economists agree — and that’s the case even for things like corporate tax cuts that might have some positive economic effect.

Applied to inheritance taxes, this claim is beyond absurd: There is no plausible argument to the effect that letting wealthy heirs claim their inheritance tax-free will make the economy boom.

My 2 Cents – for what’s it worth: This all GOP-run Congress is more callous and cruel and hard-hearted than any I have seen in decades … and about funding for CHIP and 9 million kids and their care, which is not expensive compared to older persons is well, it’s disgraceful.

They should be ashamed, but they are not. I’m guessing those in office have good money to pay for decent health care for their kids and grand kids – so rough it for say just average middle-class people, um? But, all the while they stand on the Senate and House floor and bloviate about how “they serve the American people and are Bible-fearing, God-loving Christians, nice folks…” what a crock.

Their actions or lack of action on helping the needing and especially kids (this program) is simply despicable – no other way to describe it. 

Some will say I’m just a liberal blowing hot air – well, maybe so, but I’m also proud to stand for the needy no matter what political label they may have or not have. I’ve been there and I know that that means. 

This GOP is shameful but they remain shameless.

Thanks for stopping by.

No comments: