To the Editor: I am sad to say it, but, it appears that the rich and well-connected are likely to escape a reckoning once again.
When Democrats began pushing for a far-reaching infrastructure package that included desperately needed policy changes, I was encouraged. It seemed the country was finally ready for a course correction. Namely, a tax rate re-set whereby corporations, investors and the wealthy would start paying their fair share for the first time since the Reagan tax cuts, a rollback of the absurd Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA) that banned Medicare from negotiating drug prices, and the first positive investments in fighting a changing climate that has left half the country (and world) on fire and the other half flooded.
Unfortunately, it appears that much or possibly all of this will not happen. Pharma, health-care insurers and Big Oil/Coal are spending a fortune to torpedo the plan. Every Republican is scrambling for a microphone to tell us how we will descend into socialism if this passes. All of these groups have softened support for the plan among so-called moderate Democrats, both office-holders and voters.
Press coverage has also been brutal, with most saying the Biden presidency is on the line (no pressure!). What is very rarely reported is that this "HUGE" $3.5 trillion is spread over 10 years and nearly completely funded by the aforementioned tax re-set and Medicare savings.
I wonder how many voters would be supportive if the media spoke of our defense budget in the same terms? Imagine this headline--"Democrats propose a $7.5-trillion defense budget plan," and making matters worse, the plan contains NO funding. My guess is they would be run out of office.
Yet that is exactly what Republicans and Democrats jointly do every single year. Over the past 40 years, we have even gone to war 12 times (Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, Iraq, Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq again, Libya and Syria) with no means of funding these conflicts, other than adding to our debt.
While I am still holding out hope that the full package amounting to $350 billion per year will pass, it seems more and more unlikely. Once again, the slippery, well-off few will wriggle off the hook and we poor fisherman will go home empty handed.
Retired 28-year DOT Employee
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