Democrats have spewed forth a lot of ridiculously over-the-top reactions to the passage of the GOP tax reform bill (it’s Armageddon, the death of democracy, the worst bill ever passed, etc.), but one of the most colorful came from California Rep. Jackie Spiere, who said this (full quote at the link):
“This may be the most shameful day in the history of Congress…We’re going to put 9 million kids in this country at risk. And these 9 million kids aren’t eligible for Medicaid, and their families can’t afford the Affordable Care Act. Because they have to pay a certain amount and the subsidized amount doesn’t cover the cost… Wealthy Americans, big fat Christmas present for you. Tiny Tim, we’re taking your crutch away from you and all the other kids in this country, and we’re putting a lump of coal into your Christmas stocking.”
I don’t know what the Democrats are most appalled by: the idea of cutting people’s taxes or that it might help the coal industry. This again reveals the liberal mindset that letting you keep some of your own money is a “present” from the government, as if all money is really theirs. I also wonder if she recognizes the irony in referring to families who “can’t afford the Affordable Care Act” (Who can?! By the way, the bill takes away the mandate forcing Americans to buy insurance they didn’t want or couldn’t afford. They can still buy Obamacare insurance, it’s just assumed that at least 9 million Americans will stop doing it if they don’t have a gun to their heads. That’s not “taking away” their health coverage.)
But it was that loopy “Tiny Tim” metaphor and the idea that letting people keep a little more of the money they earn is tantamount to taking his crutch away that was most intriguing (and does she recognize the irony in referring to government benefits as a crutch?) It inspired me to examine in more detail just how this bill would have affected Tim’s family, the Cratchits.
According to Dickens, Scrooge paid Bob Cratchit 15 shillings a week. It’s difficult to assess exactly, but relying on Internet inflation calculators, that would be about 90 pounds today, or $120 US. Considering he probably put in at least 60 hours a week, that’s $2 an hour, well below current minimum wage. (Although New York University political scientist Bruce Bueno de Mesquita has pointed out that the going rate for a clerk at that time was 12 shillings a week, so you could argue that Scrooge was actually generous by prevailing standards. He also noted that the Cratchits are described as poor, but they could afford their own house, a Christmas goose, 15 rounds of gin punch and a bowl of oranges, the most expensive imported fruit in London in winter in 1843. But I’d better stop before the Democrats declare the Cratchits part of the evil 1% and try to raise their taxes.)
Anyway, if the Cratchits lived in today’s America and paid taxes, the tax credit for each of their six children would double from $1000 to $2000. But even if Scrooge had to nearly quadruple Bob’s salary to minimum wage, they still wouldn’t make enough to pay taxes (the bottom 50% of earners currently pay nothing.) The family would still be eligible for food stamps, Medicaid or a full Obamacare subsidy, the CHIP program and various other benefits, including a larger check from the government for the new tax bill’s increased tax credit for each child. Washington bless us, every one!
You know, I used to think that “A Christmas Carol” might be the most imaginative piece of fantasy fiction ever created. But then I heard the Democrats’ descriptions of this tax bill.