'We told you so'

By BERRY CRAIG

AFT Local 1360

Just about every independent analysis of the Republican House and Senate tax bills says both measures benefit rich people, big-time, at the expense of working people like my wife and me. We’re retired teachers, who still pack union cards.

I was taught that it’s not polite to say, “I told you so.” But if anybody has a right to say, “I told you so,” it’s any union member who, like my spouse and me, voted for union-endorsed Hillary Clinton on Nov. 8, 2016.

Unions warned everybody that Trump is a fraud, a demagogue and a shameful and shameless panderer to prejudice whose real aim is enriching plutocrats like himself.

Trump is a provably serial liar, pathological or otherwise. Among the president’s latest whoppers is his claim that the tax measures mostly benefit working stiffs.

"What this tax bill is about is nothing more than a gift to billionaire campaign contributors to the Republican party," Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said on Meet the Press. "You have 62 percent of all of the tax benefits going to the top one percent, 40 percent going to the top one-tenth of one percent.

"At the end of 10 years, 83 million American middle class taxpayers would pay even more in taxes, 13 million people will lose their health insurance, and we are going to run up a deficit of $1.4 trillion. This is not a tax bill designed to help the American people. It is a tax bill designed to help the wealthiest people in this country and the largest corporations."  

By word and deed, Trump, too, has repeatedly proved he’s the con artist unions said he was.

Trump is a Yankee George Wallace who appeals to the worst in the body politic: racism, sexism, misogyny, homophobia, Islamophobia, xenophobia and religious bigotry.

Unions warned that Trump’s strategy with blue collar voters was divide-and-conquer, that he would shaft the whole working class.

Trump claimed to be in organized labor’s corner. But early in his campaign, he said he preferred “right to work” states to non-RTW states.

He ran on a standard shaft-the-unions, Wall Street Republican platform that called for a national “right to work” law and for repeal of the Davis-Bacon Act, which requires contractors to pay workers the prevailing wages on federal construction projects. Another plank called for massive tax breaks for big corporations and rich individuals.

A recent Boston Globe story revealed the Grand Canyon-wide gap between Trump’s rhetoric and his record. Reporters Matt Viser and Astead W. Herndon cited Trump’s

-- Robin-Hood-in-Reverse tax legislation

-- Support for thwarting the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, which is supposed to keep banks, credit card companies and shady lenders from cheating us.

-- Nixing net neutrality rules which ensure that everybody has equal online access. (Trump is in the corner of giant telecommunications companies that demand more control over information and what they can charge us for it.)

The two scribes also pointed out that:

-- While Trump ranted against Wall Street on the stump, he put ex-Goldman Sachs executives on the payroll in his White House.

-- In trying to deep-six the Affordable Care Act, he endorsed Medicaid cuts that would hurt thousands of people in rural, Republican red states like Kentucky, where I've lived all 68 of my years.

-- He suspended policies to provide debt relief to students defrauded by for-profit universities.

As Trump’s first year in office is coming to an end, “he has established a record of pursuing trickle-down, deregulatory policies torn straight from boardroom agendas,” Viser and Herndon wrote.

Trump probably bloviated the most against trade deals and American companies which shipped jobs overseas. All the while, he was making big bucks from his products made in China and other low-wage countries. 

He promised to "bring jobs home."  

The Globe reporters conceded that shortly after taking office, he pulled out of negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

"But so far," they added, "he has not followed through on threats to label China a currency manipulator or impose tariffs on Chinese imported goods. He has also not made significant changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement, which affects trade with Mexico and Canada, though that remains a subject of multilateral negotiations.”

Trump is not unique in American history. “In every age it has been the tyrant, the oppressor and the exploiter who has wrapped himself in the cloak of patriotism, or religion, or both to deceive and overawe the people,” Eugene V. Debs, the storied Socialist and union leader, aptly observed 99 years ago.