I usually try not to use the privilege of writing on SMP to do no more than reprint salient parts of news reports or editorial content without some “value” added. Reporters and pundits do a fine job, reach far more readers than I, and don’t need to be reprinted here unless their reportage and observations help me make what I hope is a related but separate point.
However, I’m making an exception today. The following text is taken from a Washington Post article about Trump’s overtures to red state Senate Democrats who may feel threatened enough to deal with the devil when it comes to his plans to slash taxes for businesses and wealthy folks such as himself. Specifically, I’m including a small section of the article dealing with the response – to date – of our Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill, widely considered to be one of the most vulnerable Senate Democrat, because I think it is so important to those of us in Missouri:
Wednesday’s meeting is expected to include Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), a member of the Finance Committee who has been critical of Trump’s approach so far. McCaskill has spent weeks pushing the White House to work more closely with Democrats on the tax plan, saying that a failure to work with Democrat doomed their efforts to make changes to health care rules.
But even though McCaskill is up for reelection in 2018 and comes from a state Trump won handily, she is digging in against the White House’s tax plan more than many of her colleagues, convinced voters will see it as a big handout for the rich.
During a meeting last week with constituents in Washington, Mo., McCaskill asked everyone to put a question on a slip of paper and drop it into a fishbowl.
The third question McCaskill plucked from the bowl asked simply, “Will you help get tax reform done this year?”
“I hope so. I would love to get tax reform done,” she said. “But here’s the issue. The issue is what is the tax reform bill? Now, I haven’t seen a final plan. We’ve seen an outline and the outline is very troubling to me.”
She explained that she’s “not interested in reducing taxes for the [wealthiest] 1 percent. I am very interested in reducing taxes to the middle class and to families that are living paycheck to paycheck. … That’s where my focus is.”
McCaskill then turned to notes on a lectern, telling the audience that she had asked staffers to determine how much money a Missouri family of four earning $50,000 would end up paying under the Republican proposal.
“Under the current law, their tax bill with the personal exemptions and the standard deduction and the child tax credit and the earned income tax credit, currently they’d pay $107 in taxes,” she said. But because the Republican plan would eliminate personal deductions, that same family would pay $887 in taxes if Trump gets his way.
Many in the room gasped.
“The family of four making $50,000 is going to pay more for taxes — that’s not middle-class tax relief,” she said, while noting that Republicans had not yet determined what they will do about the child tax credit.
So far, McCaskill is doing what she is able to do so well: take a stand and explain it clearly and honestly in terms that everyone understands. She’s also, wisely, acted proactivley, touring the state and getting the message out before she’s irrevocably slimed by the Kochbots – who will still be able to do lots of damage, the political climate in Missouri being what it is. She’s doing what she can to get the word out while making it clear that she’s one of the adults in the room – something that is sorely lacking in Trump’s Washington.
Nevertheless, McCaskill’s going to need active progressive support – and she’s showing signs that she’ll earn it. We need to encourage her to keep on keeping on in this way, let her know that we’ll back her up – as the WaPo article makes clear, there are several other “vulnerable” Senators who may be persuaded to give the oligarchy a win that will be paid for by the middle and working class. We have to do our bit to make sure that our Democratic Senator knows that we’ll work hard to support her come 2018 if she works equally hard to support us – and we need to let her know that we appreciate her efforts.
*Addendum: Want to know how the GOP is going to try to scam us in order to give their donors big tax cuts – and the narrative we’re asking McCaskill to stand up against? Read this Greg Sargent column from the WaPo. If you want a teaser, here’s Sargent’s conclusion:
This whole debate is entirely off the rails. Nothing that leaders say on any side — whether they’re the “establishment” or the “insurgents” — about what is going on among Republican voters makes even minimal logical sense. One persuasive explanation for this through-the-looking-glass state of affairs was recently offered by Ross Douthat, which is that there is an enormous void at the core of the GOP right now when it comes to what the party is supposed to stand for. Each side, I would add, is employing its own scam designed to fill that vacuum. This is not normal, and it isn’t possible to have a rational political debate under these conditions.