About 100 progressives showed up today for a pantheon rally in front of the Capitol building and this time we weren't kicked out after the first 15 minutes. Why? Because some prominent members of Congress were featured. The police were there to protect them as opposed to hassle us. Only one invaded our midst, with a "drug hound" to sniff us out. I don't think he found anything.
The sponsors were Moveon and Indivisible.org , as well as the Not One Penny coalition. The co-hosts were Moveon's Washington president Ben Wikler and Indivisible's Chad Bolt.
The bottom line, of course, was that this historically monstrous bill aims to lower taxes on the super-rich from 35 percent to 20 percent and fund it by increasing the deficit and extracting trillions from Medicaid ($1 tn) and Medicare ($.5 tn). And oh yes, in the Senate version Obamacare will be targeted again, with the single-payer mandate eliminated; the lost "tax" (John Roberts's term) will eliminate 13 million from health insurance coverage.
And the usual Democratic moot question about how billionaire taxes could fund infrastructure, environmental activism, debt-free college education, and more was asked. Tax and spend are democracy in action, as we all know, even those who don't want to.
"When you come for our healthcare, we go for your jobs!" said Wikler, who introduced the first speaker, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), who sits on the Budget Committee. The line that HR 1 will benefit the middle class is a ruse. Medicare for all is what we need.
PROTECT OUR HEALTHCARE! KILL THE BILL rang out the chant he initiated.
Tomorrow the House will vote on its version of the monstrosity. We needed one more Senate Republican to vote no, and as of about 3:53 today, we got one, Sen. Ron Johnson (WI). In the HR, we need to capture the support of 25 more Republicans, "we" being all of us who oppose Horror 1, whatever our stripe may be.
At this point I'd like to add a neologism to our mantra, "koirocracy," which means "rule by pigs." Will that catch on?
Next to speak was House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Sending jobs overseas will increase employment overseas, not here, she said. The middle class will receive table scraps and all of us 99 percenters are supposed to wait for the trickle-down effect, but the preceding two times trickle-down was promised, by Reagan and then G. W. Bush, the economy ended up in shambles. So why go there again?
NOT ONE PENNY! KILL THE BILL! was the chant she led.
Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) next took the podium to remind us that our voices "loud and clear" are essential to killing HR 1 and its Senate sibling--that's how we defeated the 60-odd attempts to squash Obamacare and warded off Trumpcare. The middle class should remain the locus of the American dream rather than be dissolved. Our wages haven't kept up with our costs of living. The child tax credit will be eliminated by the bill. Keep up the noise!
"Trump loves oligarchy," said Rep. Peter Welch from Vermont. What about students? (but "their" project is to dumb us down, I thought.) They will no longer be able to deduct the interest they pay on their student loans from their tax returns. "Paul Ryan," he apostrophized, "what's the problem with democracy?" HR 1 was written in secret and rushed through the House (not without huge Democratic markup, we were later informed).
NOT ONE PENNY! was the next chant.
The popular U.S. Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN), now deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee, next reminded us of the 5 percent unemployment rate and stock market boom (already sliding toward a bust?) and reminded us how much money will depart from the national income to buy political influence. Tomorrow evening the GOP will party in the Buildings Museum downtown, where another progressive protest is planned. Be there are 5:30 (Fifth and F streets).