Three Jim Hightower columns


THEIR VIEW

By Jim Hightower - Guest Columnist



Why Did Trumpcare Fail?

Trump could probably sell BS to a feedlot — but this bill was even worse.

Why?

That’s the big question the mass media is asking about the sudden failure of the Republican leaders’ relentless push to demonize and kill Obamacare.

After all, the GOP bragged that they now control the legislative game and would quickly knock Obama’s trademark reform out of the park. And their star slugger was on deck — Donald Trump, the self-proclaimed dealmaker extraordinaire!

Trump assured his fawning political cronies that selling his “repeal and replace” plan to Congress was no different from selling memberships in his luxury golf resorts. “It’s the same thing,” he insisted. “Really, it is.”

So, why did he fail?

Most media speculation has focused on the real estate mogul’s inability to grasp the nuances of legislating. True, but the fundamental cause of the embarrassing public collapse of the Trumpcare plan wasn’t about process, but substance.

As a master huckster, Trump could probably sell BS to a feedlot — but this bill was far more repugnant than the stinkiest load of BS. It gutted health care coverage for millions, while also sneaking in nearly a trillion-dollar tax cut for huge corporations and Wall Street speculators.

Even some Republican lawmakers gagged on the stench. But the real story is that the American people themselves — including many working-class voters who believed Trump was actually going to help them — got a whiff of the nasty stuff he was peddling.

Alerted by grassroots groups like Our Revolution and Indivisible, a mass rebellion erupted in the home districts of Republican congress critters who were selling out the health of America’s workaday majority.

As the protests spread and dozens of GOP lawmakers washed their hands of his bill, Trump was exposed as a clueless dealmaker, repeatedly asking his staff: “Is this really a good bill?”

Maybe Trump didn’t know what he was selling, but it’s a good thing the rest of us did.

Funny, There Are No Workers on the White House Jobs Panel

Trump’s whole “jobs” panel is made up of Wall Street banksters and corporate powers.

By golly, The Donald delivers.

Trump and his new blue-ribbon panel of working-class champions have announced a bold new initiative to create millions of American jobs. A spokesman for the panel, Steve Schwarzman, praised Trump as a leader who wants to “do things a lot better in our country, for all Americans.”

Wait a minute — Steve Schwarzman? Isn’t he a billionaire hedge-fund huckster on Wall Street? Yes — and holy money bags, there’s Jamie Dimon, head of the scandal-ridden bank JPMorgan Chase.

Working-class champions? Hardly.

Trump’s whole “jobs” panel, it turns out, is made up of Wall Street banksters and corporate powers like Wal-Mart that are notorious for laying off and ripping off workers.

Trump-the-candidate fulminated against such moneyed elites, calling them “responsible for the economic decisions that have robbed our working class.” But now, in a spectacular flip-flop, he’s brought these robbers directly inside his presidency, asking them to be architects of his economic strategy.

Worse, he’s doing this in the name of helping workers.

Hello! To develop policies beneficial to working stiffs, bring in some working stiffs! But there’s not a single labor advocate on his policy council, in his cabinet, or anywhere near his White House.

Thus, the so-called “job-creation plan” announced by Trump and his corporate cohorts doesn’t create any jobs, but calls instead for de-regulating Wall Street.

These flim-flammers actually want us rubes to believe that “freeing” banksters to return to casino-style speculation and consumer scams will give them more money to invest in American jobs.

Do they think we have sucker wrappers around our heads? Trump’s scheme will let banks make a killing, but it doesn’t require them to invest in jobs — so they won’t.

There’s a name for this: fraud.

Trumpcare Was for CEOs, Not Patients

Buried in Paul Ryan’s failed replacement for Obamacare was a huge handout to overpaid health insurance CEOs.

It appears that House Speaker Paul Ryan’s 123-page legislative plan for Trumpcare, the GOP’s so-called “replacement” for Obamacare, is dead — for now, anyway.

Republicans tried to rush it through, but not before the Congressional Budget Office discovered it was actually a displacement plan.

That is, if it had passed, 24 million Americans who are now insured would have lost their insurance. Moreover, the premiums paid by senior citizens would have been jacked up, and the benefits for practically everyone would have been cut.

But Ryan did make sure that one group with special needs would have benefited from his legislative wizardry: the CEOs of giant insurance corporations.

Understandably, none of the GOP lawmakers who’ve been loudly crowing about killing Obamacare mentioned a little, six-line provision hidden on page 67, discretely titled “Remuneration from Certain Insurers.” In plain English, this gob of gobbledygook offers a tax subsidy that encourages insurance conglomerates to increase the pay of their top executives.

Current tax law says insurers can pay as much as they want to top executives, but they can only deduct $500,000 per executive from their corporate taxes. Under Ryan’s rip-off, however, we taxpayers would have at least doubled — and possibly quadrupled — the unconscionable salary subsidies we dole out to these enormously profitable corporations.

The White House and GOP Congress proclaimed that their replacement of Obamacare was “the will of the people.” Really? How many Americans think that jacking up the pay of super-rich insurance chiefs is a proper use of our tax dollars?

And I’d say a big majority of the people would think it immoral to steal lifesaving healthcare benefits from working-class and poor families just to subsidize corporate elites who are already overpaid.

If Republicans actually thought their executive pay subsidy was the will of the people, why did they try so hard to keep it a secret?

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THEIR VIEW

By Jim Hightower

Guest Columnist

OtherWords columnist Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer, and public speaker. He’s also the editor of the populist newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown. Distributed by OtherWords.org.

OtherWords columnist Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer, and public speaker. He’s also the editor of the populist newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown. Distributed by OtherWords.org.