October 6, 2018


Thank you to the nearly 30 folks who attended our October group meeting today at the North County Library. We heard from Dan O’Flaherty, professor of economics at Columbia University, about the 2017 GOP tax bill. It was incredibly informative to hear from an expert on what the numbers really mean.


Dan generously agreed to let me share his slides. They can be downloaded here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1iXxCd3EHW09ICQzBaORv8rsnHEiHMCP5


The highlights:

1) The bill results in a dramatic upward redistribution of wealth. As Dan describes it, the wealthy got Jaguars and we got Jaguar baseball caps. It’s not nothing, but there is a serious equity issue here.

2) Blue states like New Jersey are preferentially the ones getting the caps not the cars, because of the limit to state and local tax (SALT) deductions. We have high local taxes because these fund excellent schools. So, this bill can be read as punishing states who voted against Trump and states that have good school systems. This bill was crafted in bad faith.

3) With declining revenue from lower taxes, it is unclear how the budget will ever be balanced. We can take Speaker Ryan at his word that the GOP will target spending cuts to Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid, and SNAP (food stamps).


4) We are in uncharted territory. It is unclear what will happen next with the economy.


5) Economist Paul Krugman once quipped that democracies are like insurance companies, with armies attached. Uncertainty is therefore hugely problematic. Trump is turning our country into a plutocracy in which our government is more like a casino with an army attached. And we know how well his casinos fared!

6) This is pillaging our government for the gain of the few. We must work to stop it.

We finished the meeting talking about what that work would look like. In short, keep working on the November election (talk to Lauren Grober if you need ideas). Keep educating yourself so that you have facts behind your convictions. And keep bringing more people into conversations about our political system and why you are a resister.

Thank you again for all the work that you are doing. This was a tough week, but we shall not wallow. Grieve and then pick each other up. One month until the election!