I've opened my laptop every day with the intent of writing something here, and then I've closed it again after staring at the screen for a number of minutes. These days are seriously taking a toll on me.
I've always said that the real danger in Washington wasn't the President, but rather what Congress could do with the spotlight permanently affixed on the shit show that is the current administration. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: The tax bill! While it's hard to judge exactly what's in it on account of the fact that it was still being written moments before the vote and no one had a chance to read it before they cast their vote. Based on what little we know, it looks as bad as anything I've seen.
It's a tax hike on the lower and middle classes and a big cut for the wealthy. That in and of itself is not damning. If the taxes on the wealthy are too high, you'll get high interest rates and a lack of investment. Of course, that's not the case now. Companies are not merely flush with cash; credit is cheap and readily available as well. Thus, lowering taxes is NOT going to result in an influx of investment. Many larger companies have indicated they'll just put the tax cuts in investors' pockets which is exactly what one would expect.
Of course, they didn't stop at tax cuts. They put in an end to the individual mandate of Obamacare, which will cost an estimated 10 million Americans their health insurance. In an attempt to make abortion illegal (via a tax bill, mind you), they defined "life" as beginning prior to pregnancy. They added tax deductions for private education and removed deductions for state and local taxes (which fund public education). Oh, and let's not forget that deduction for private jet owners. It will increase the deficit by over 1 trillion dollars, which, one presumes, will be the excuse for cutting public services in the future. It's a piece of shit bill.
That alone is enough to make me feel like we (meaning people with values similar to mine) lost, and lost big. If this thing passes in its current form, the damage will be significant and could take a generation to repair. The Senate Republicans flat-out said that, if they didn't pass this bill, their big donors would cut them off. That's indication enough who they're working for, and if you're not a big Republican donor, you're going to be worse off than you are now.
I don't mean to imply that this is the only bad thing the government is doing. The cascade of awful news is just overwhelming. We're giving public lands (meaning "yours and mine") to energy companies. We're making it harder to report sexual harrassment in schools. We're trying to kick trans folks out of the military. We're still talking about that border wall for some reason. We're about to elect a man who preys on children to the U.S. Senate, with the endorsement of the President. We're provoking additional violence in the Middle East. We're kneecapping the internet as an open channel for communication. We're allowing the police to murder black people without repurcussion because they feel threatened by the fact that they're black.
And, for some reason, the President is holding rallies for himself, like this is a normal thing.
I'm wiped out. I'm just buried underneath all of the horrible things we're doing to try to turn the clock back on every hard-fought gain we've seen over the last...well, my lifetime at least. I didn't even mention the fact that they're talking about allowing business owners to claim some of their employees' tips as their own. That's huge, but there's just so much and I can't keep up or prioritize because it's starting to break me.
Unfortunately, curling into a ball and turning off all media for the next couple of years isn't an option and wouldn't help if it were. Onward and upward. Shit's broken and it's not going to fix itself. Honestly, I'm probably not going to fix it, but at least I'm going to have to support those that are while I'm learning to live in the new dystopia.
Which is all a (very) long way of saying that I'm going to be making an effort to put something in this space on a regular basis. That's the point of that new "top 5 lists" thing at the top, to give me a place to write something easy and tiny when I'm too knackered to make a proper post.
That's all the venting for today. Cheers.