Sunday, December 03, 2017

GOP Greed: Taking From Disabled Vets To Make Their Wealthy Donors Richer


"I have a rough time wanting to spend billions and billions and trillions of dollars to help people who won’t help themselves-- won’t lift a finger-- and expect the federal government to do everything." Although reactionary vulture, Utah scumbag Orrin Hatch said this in regard to the children who count of CHIP (which he helped kill), he might as well have been talking about disabled veterans as well, since he just voted to set the government on a path of destroying their lives too.

The Republican Tax Scam will have serious, even devastating, consequences for the nearly 20% of us who have disabilities-- greater tax burdens and decreased opportunities. As Robyn Powell explained last week to Rewire readers, "People with disabilities already have massive expenses and far less income, on average, than their non-disabled counterparts. Many of their medical necessities-- such as long-term care and certain wheelchairs-- are not covered by some insurance plans, including Medicare, and can cost an individual tens of thousands of dollars. These services are not just about one’s health; having access to a power wheelchair or in-home care can be the difference between living in an institution or a private residence. Right now, taxpayers may deduct out-of-pocket medical expenses if they exceed 10 percent of their adjusted gross income. Notably, 8.8 million people-- primarily people with disabilities and seniors, as well as their caregivers-- benefited from this important deduction last year." But to make life a tad more bearable for overburdened private jet owners, Ryan's Tax Scam eliminates the out-of-pocket medical expenses deduction
The ability to live and move in the world is also under assault by the GOP. Currently, small businesses can receive tax incentives for modifying their facilities so that people with disabilities can patronize their place of business (as well as comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act or ADA).

Disability-related small business tax incentives also help businesses employ people with disabilities by allowing them to deduct some expenditures related to accommodating those employees, such as providing sign language interpreters. The employment rates for people with disabilities are shockingly low: In 2015, only 35 percent of people with disabilities were employed compared with 76 percent of people without disabilities. As the party of “individual responsibility,” you would think that increasing employment across the board would be a priority for the GOP. However, without these important tax breaks for small businesses... far fewer people will be able to work.
Los Angeles area Congressman Ted Lieu (D-CA), a veteran and an Air Force colonel is the West Coast regional Vice Chair for the DCCC. He told us that "The GOP tax scam will be a disaster for our veterans and our country. It is particularly disgusting that Republicans have proposed repealing tax credits to hire disabled veterans while at the same time giving billionaires and corporations a huge tax cut. Tax policy is ultimately a statement of priorities-- and Republicans like Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell are showing us what their priorities are, and it isn't our veterans."

I wonder if all those self professed Christians in the Republican Party ever think of Jesus' admonition: "As you do to the least of these, so do you do to me." This morning, Randy Bryce texted us that he had been going over parts of the GOP Tax Scam and one of the parts that infuriated him was how it penalizes veterans wounded in the line of duty. "After serving in the Army I returned home to Southeast Wisconsin," he told us. I saw fellow veterans without homes and I worked hand in hand-- through my union and with the Democratic Party and state government to bring needed assistance their way. That is the best of America and is the America I was proud to protect and serve. Targeting disabled veterans who served their country is especially cruel and unAmerican. Seeing this tax scam try and rip needed services away from my brothers and sisters who served sickens me. We didn't serve to protect a billionaires ability to fly a Learjet on the cheap. We served to protect the best of our American values. These frauds are shameful, and we will repeal and replace their leader in the house, Paul Ryan-- a man who appears to truly enjoy hurting those in need in order to see his billionaire buddy's smile."

Goal ThermometerLieu and Bryce are exactly right: the Tax Scam falls especially hard on disabled veterans. Blue America talked to the progressive veterans running for Congress, listed on the page that clicking on the thermometer on the right takes you to. As Pennsylvania's Tom Prigg put it: "We fought for our country. Some returned home wounded. All we want is the ability to live a good, normal, productive life. To take care of our families. But now Keith Rothfus and the Republican’s new  tax bill will eliminate the Disabled Access Credit and the Work Opportunity Credit  tax credits for businesses who hire disabled people like our vets. This heartless bill not only takes away our wounded warrior’s ability to work and take care of their families, it also takes away their dignity by undermining their livelihood. Keith Rothfus, a congressman who never misses an opportunity for a veteran photo-op, supports this bill that will hurt tens-of-thousands of American Veterans and their families."

And Tom's concerns were echoed by all the veteran candidates we talked with. James Thompson is running for the Wichita, Kansas seat, held by Ryan rubberstamp Ron Estes. "Ron Estes is a hypocrite," he told us. "He gives lip service to supporting veterans by showing up to some high profile events to get free media coverage. Yet when the rubber meets the road, and he is given a real opportunity to help veterans, especially disabled veterans, he didn't have their six. He voted in favor of the Republicans’ Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which will give massive tax breaks to the wealthiest of Americans, like the KOCH brothers here in my district. This is not tax reform, it is tax robbery paid for by robbing disabled veterans to pay the privileged princes of Wall Street. Ron Estes and his ilk, at the direction of these modern day robber barons, removed the Disabled Access Credit and the Work Opportunity Tax Credit. Simply put, the Work Opportunity Credit incentivizes companies to hire disabled veterans, while the Disabled Access Credit allows them to actually hire disabled vets by making it possible for those same companies to afford special accommodations like ramps. Ending these two credits, harms veterans. PERIOD. Veterans need representatives to watch their six, not use it as an opportunity to stab them in the back. I promise every veteran out there, regardless of party, I will have your six, and will lead the way in making sure our countries heroes are taken care of when they go to war and when they return from it. I hope everyone will call and encourage their Senators and Representatives to vote FOR VETERANS by voting no on the #GOPTaxScam."

Jared Golden is the Maine House whip. He told us that: "Bruce Poliquin and his corporate allies in Washington are intent on funding their tax cuts on the backs of our children and disabled veterans. By adding over $1 trillion to the debt, future generations will be on the hook for tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy. Where the tax plan does make up costs are on the backs of the disabled including our wounded fighting men and women. These tax credits are designed to create an incentive for businesses to hire disabled veterans and others with disabilities, I find it morally reprehensible that these laudable and effective tax credits are where Rep Poliquin and the Republicans in Congress want to find 'savings' so that millionaires and billionaires can buy an extra yacht, or a corporation can move more jobs overseas."


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At 6:01 PM, Anonymous Hone said...

Get out the vote for 2018 and throws the bums out! The Republicans are the worst scum that ever led this country and the majority of Americans had better see the light and vote them the hell out. It does not appear that we have much time left to reverse the effects of this monstrous administration, Congress and Presidency. Insanity and greed rule at this time.

Can we last until 2018? How much harm will be done by then?

Our nation has survived terrible times before. Democracy and compassionate government can and must rise again.

At 7:37 PM, Anonymous ap215 said...

The clock is ticking as their leadership is slowly winding down.


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