By Frank Islam
Frank Islam is an entrepreneur, philanthropist, civic leader, and thought leader.
It now appears that the Republicans will get a tax bill to President Trump to sign before the holidays.
The bill will be a gift for a few. But, because of its serious inequalities, for most Americans it will be a lump of coal in their stockings.
The tax plan was purportedly going to cut taxes for the many. The hard truth is this is not the case. The plan is just an extension of the Trump approach to governing in his first year – which is doing so in a manner which taxes us.
The Trump style and administration has taxed our patience, credulity, and sense of fairness and decency. The forms of taxation have been almost countless and endless. Here are a few of the lowlights.
Trump’s taxation without representation began in his inaugural address in which he promised to end “this American carnage” while providing us with a dark, gloomy and troublesome speech which was a form of carnage in its own right.
During the primary campaign and the general election contest, Donald Trump engaged in a virtually endless stream of pugnacious and petulant tweets. There was a faint hope that, after he was elected President, Trump would become more presidential, tweet less and think more.
That hope began to fade away in the interim before Trump took the oath of office on January 20, 2017. It was permanently quashed in the following months of 2017 as the Donald’s trumper-tantrums increased.
His missives sent nearly daily were full of sound and fury signifying something. That something is that Donald Trump is immature, obsessed with himself, and incapable of maintaining any sense of dignity or decorum.
Trump’s tweets are stealing the American soul and spirit. But his executive orders and the actions of his federal government departments and agencies are even more deadly. They are sticking a stake in the heart of America and Americans.
Since he has been elected President, Trump has issued numerous executive orders. Many of them have been mundane and inconsequential. Others, however, such as his executive orders which suspended immigration from predominantly Muslim countries tear at the fabric of this nation of immigrants.
While the President’s actions tend to be highly visible and voluble, the work of those in charge of the federal bureaucracy tend to be less visible but very damaging to the interests and concerns of millions of Americans.
Consider the following decisions made in December by the Federal Communications Commission and the National Labor Relations Board.
The Federal Communications Commission by a 3-2 vote decided to repeal the “net neutrality” rules for the Internet. This gives license to the giant internet service providers such as Verizon and Comcast to slow or block websites and apps and to charge more for faster speeds.
The National Labor Relations Board by a 3-2 vote reversed an earlier Obama-era ruling which had given unions and workers some leverage in negotiating with businesses such as hotel chains and fast food franchises as joint employers. The NLRB restored the previous standard saying that a corporate entity was an employer only if it exercised direct, immediate and unlimited control over workers at a franchisee.
These decisions are just the most recent examples of actions that favor the big guys and gals while taxing the little guys and gals. Similar moves within the domestic agencies such as the Department of Education, and the EPA during this first year of the Trump administration grind away at the interests of the “little people” as well.
Under Betsy DeVos’ leadership, the Department of Education has eliminated 72 policies affecting services to disabled students; withdrew the Obama administration guidance on sexual assault on college campuses; and, considered a number of measures that would have a negative effect on loans and loan servicing for millions of students.
Under Scott Pruit’s leadership, the Environmental Protection Agency has eliminatedreferences to climate change from its website; changed its position on a number of legacy toxic chemicals that were seen as problematic; and, repealed the Obama administration’s regulation on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.
The list of things that are literally and figuratively taking our breath away could go on, and on. But, Donald Trump stands head and shoulders at the very top of that list.
And, at the top of his breath-taking away feats, is his inexplicable position regarding Russia. Or, perhaps his position is not inexplicable at all but merely the actions of an individual putting one’s self-interest above that of the nation’s interest.
Time will tell on that matter. Till then, we the citizens suffer. We continue to be taxed.
The famous bronze plaque at the base of the Statue of Liberty reads,
“Give me your tired, your poor
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”
We are tired
More than tired, we are exhausted.
We are poor
Poor in the sense of longing for leadership
We are the huddled masses
Huddled together to protect our democracy
We are yearning to breathe free
Free of who and that which taxes us.
We do not want our breath taken away.
We want to be inspired
To think great thoughts
To do great things
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