Fake Tax Reform Threatens Healthcare

Updated as of 2017-11-22

URGENT ACTION: Call, email and write letters to your Senators and urge them to oppose the Senate tax bill that increases economic inequity. The Senate may vote as soon as Thursday, November 30. If the Senate passes the bill, there will likely not be another opportunity to stop it from becoming law. Watch for the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score, a report on the budget impact of the Senate bill, on Tuesday, November 28, as well as changes in the bill in order to win over uncommitted votes.

The tax bill is bad policy and bad for the country. Even Wall Street economists agree.

Under Senate rules, a “yes” vote on this tax bill is also a vote to automatically eliminate programs for the elderly, children, funding for historically black colleges and universities, environmental protection, farmers, crime victims and more. 

See below for sample phone and email messages, background and talking points. Click here for the Write Here! Write Now! handout. Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice volunteers will deliver your and your congregation’s personal letters to Senators. The Senate is moving quickly so send your letters to us for delivery right away. Click here for the Write Here! Write Now! letter-writing toolkit.

Under pressure from the White House, Congress is moving at breakneck speed to pass legislation to make major changes to the tax code before the end of the year. President Trump and Congressional leaders call the plans “tax reform.”
In reality, the House and Senate tax plans would have a devastating impact on the federal budget, resources for federal programs and priorities, and further exacerbate America’s income inequality. They would make steep cuts to Social Security and Medicare. THE SENATE PLAN WOULD GUT THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT BY REPEALING THE INDIVIDUAL MANDATE, CAUSING 13 MILLION AMERICANS TO LOSE HEALTHCARE COVERAGE.
The Senate is under strict PAYGO rules to balance the tax cuts with automatic budget cuts to mandatory spending programs.


Page Contents (click on a title to go to that section):


Action Needed NOW: What You Can Do

1 – Contact both of your Senators

Suggested message by phone or email:
Hi, my name is [your name] I’m a constituent from [city, state]. 
My faith guides me to strongly oppose the Senate tax bill that increases economic inequity. Paying for large and permanent tax cuts to corporations and the wealthy by taking away healthcare from millions of Americans, eliminating social programs, and raising taxes for middle-class and low-income people and families is not moral.
As Congress considers tax reform, I urge the Senator to speak up and actively support protections for the most vulnerable. Don’t support tax cuts for the wealthy few and make everyone else pay for them. Cuts to Social Security, Medicare and programs for middle-class and low-income people and families deepen the growing wealth divide and are bad for our country. 
USING THIS TAX BILL TO UNDERMINE THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT IS MORALLY INDEFENSIBLE — MILLIONS WOULD LOSE THEIR HEALTH INSURANCE TO PAY FOR CORPORATE CUTS.
Virginia:
Sen. Mark Warner (202) 224-2023
Sen. Tim Kaine (202) 224-4024
Maryland:
Sen. Ben Cardin (202) 224-4524
Sen. Chris Van Hollen (202) 224-4654
U.S. Capitol Switchboard: (202) 224-3121 or use our partner, NETWORK’s, toll free hotline to the Senate, which they provided for a previous action (ignore the message) 1-888-738-3058
To find e-mail addresses and other contact information for your members of Congress, visit these Congressional websites:

2 – Write and send us your personal letter. 

UUSJ’s Capitol Hill Advocacy Corps will hand-deliver your letters to members of Congress in their Washington offices. Click here for a printable sample letter and talking points. Keep sending letters until the tax bill is voted on. Let us know your plans for a WHWN — advocacy@uusj.org.

3 – Ask your friends and family members to contact their Representatives and Senators, too.

Send them the link to this page – http://bit.ly/2jels7S

These Senators are particularly important:

Alaska — Murkowski
(She cares about protecting healthcare and entitlement programs. Senate leaders may get Murkowki’s “yes” vote on the tax bill by adding an amendment that would open up Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil and gas drilling.)
Arizona — Flake (is concerned about a ballooning deficit)
McCain (is committed to “regular order,” following the process)
Maine — Collins (cares about protecting healthcare)
Oklahoma — Lankford (is concerned about a ballooning deficit)
Tennessee — Corker and Alexander (both are concerned about a ballooning deficit)
West Virginia — Capito (cares about protecting healthcare and entitlement programs)
Wisconsin — Johnson (cares about small businesses)

3 – Spread the word – Post messages to social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.).

Post links to this page – http://bit.ly/2jels7S

Tweet your senators (click to find their Twitter handles).

Hashtags – #TaxReform, #TaxPlan

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What You Should Know

Click on image to enlarge. See resource section below for downloadable complete slideshow.

A simpler and fairer tax system is something all Americans can support. But the House and Senate plans are a cynical attempt to disguise a huge giveaway to the 1% as genuine reform. They violate fundamental moral principles by giving more to the haves at the expense of the have-nots.

Polls show most Americans want the rich and big corporations to pay more in taxes, not less. They want stronger federal programs to help struggling, ordinary Americans with education, healthcare, infrastructure, and housing. America cannot afford this fake reform!

While the details keep changing, the broad outlines are clear.

They will lead to drastic cuts in healthcare and programs for poor people. To pay for lower taxes for the rich, the Republican budget calls for devastating long-term cuts in Medicare and Medicaid, housing, education, food assistance, transportation, and more. The Senate plan includes a sneak attack on the Affordable Care Act by eliminating the individual mandate, which would lead to 13 million Americans losing healthcare coverage. 

Click on image to see how the Senate tax bill will impact healthcare in your state.

The plans will worsen economic inequity. They gives big cuts to the wealthy by eliminating the alternative minimum tax and the estate tax and dropping corporate taxes from 35% to 20%. Many lower and middle income households will pay more in taxes once short-term subsidies expire. 

They are based on a false and cynical economic argument. The ‘trickle-down’ theory that cutting taxes will lead to more jobs and economic growth is not supported by experience and is scorned by serious economists. American companies today are enjoying record profits and all-time highs in the stock market; they do not need tax cuts to spur investment.

They violate basic principles of democracy and good government. Like the disastrous attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Congressional supporters want to take advantage of arcane budget rules to try to ram through a half-baked plan with a minimum of deliberation and zero bipartisan support. For comparison, when Congress passed the widely-praised Tax Reform Act of 1986, it took 18 months, countless hearings, and was supported by both parties. 

 

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Our UU Spiritual Grounding

Economic Injustice, Poverty, and Racism – 2000 Statement of Conscience

Escalating Economic Inequity – 2017 Statement of Conscience

Challenging extreme inequity locally and globally is a moral imperative. As a pragmatic faith we are committed to working to change economic and social systems with a goal of equitable outcomes of life, dignity, and well-being experienced by all. The escalation of income and wealth inequity undergirds many injustices that our faith movement is committed to addressing, including: economic injustice, mass incarceration, migrant injustice, climate change, sexual and gender injustice, and attacks on voting rights.
Since the adoption of the 2000 Statement of Conscience on Economic Injustice, Poverty, and Racism, economic inequality has escalated.  We have experienced accumulation of debt, decreased support for growth and innovation, and increased concentration of wealth accompanied by wage stagnation for most of our population. In 2013, the average income of the wealthiest 20% of those in the U.S. was 15 times greater than that of the poorest 20% ($202,600 vs $13,100).  In 2011, the average net assets (wealth) of the wealthiest 20% exceeded $630,000, while the net assets of the poorest 20% were negative $6,000. Furthermore, racial and class disparities in income and wealth increased.
The growth of inequity does not happen by accident. It is a direct consequence of the decisions of those people who own and control the nation’s and world’s corporations and resources and their allies in government, who take for themselves the wealth created by the hands and minds of the many and the bounty of our fragile planet. Their actions and policies have led to the decline of labor unions, the increased cost of education and health care, and automation. Unlimited funding of campaigns by wealthy individuals and corporations, lack of access to conventional financial institutions, predatory lending, and flawed tax policies increase inequity and insecurity.  In the political realm, corporate personhood and the focus on individualism (rather than the collective good) have also contributed to escalating inequity.

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Resources and Relevant News Media Coverage Links

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