Thursday, December 21, 2017

Louisiana Educators and Citizens: Wake up!

A recent survey of teachers by Education Week reported that nationwide about 30% of public school teachers voted for Trump for president. Based on the overall overwhelming vote for Trump in Louisiana, my rough estimate is that probably close to 50% of teachers in Louisiana voted for Trump. I decided to do a few simple math calculations to see how this is going to pay off for teachers and other Louisiana citizens. Let’s analyze just one Trump achievement: The Trump tax cut.

CNN estimates that the average taxpayer who earns between 35 and 85 thousand a year for a family of four will see about $18 more per week as a result of the tax cuts. So most teachers in Louisiana may see about $72 more in their paychecks since they are paid monthly. But for other citizens in Louisiana, about 40% will get absolutely nothing from the tax cut because they don’t earn enough to pay taxes in the first place.  So only about 30% of families will get the extra $18 per week. That amounts to about two large pizzas. So what will the fortunate 30% of Louisiana workers get other than these two large pizzas per week?

In ten years, the extra amount that the United States will have to borrow from China, Japan and other high saving nations to cover the Trump tax cut will be approximately two trillion dollars. (I am assuming that the Congress will continue the individual tax cuts that are now scheduled to end after 5 years) That will amount to $619 of extra debt for every man, woman, and child in the USA owed mostly to people in countries that don’t even like us!

In Louisiana, it has been estimated that most families of 4 do not even have $500 saved up to cover the cost of any emergency without going into debt. So in ten years, the Trump tax cut going mostly to very rich people will result in an additional federal debt for each Louisiana family of four amounting to a total of $2,476. How will Louisiana families deal with this extra burden placed on their families by the Trump tax cut of 2018? They probably won’t have to pay it all off in one lump sum. Instead, as the wage earner of that family of four gets to age 65 where she would have expected to receive a small social security check to help her survive in retirement, the U.S. treasury will be using that money to pay back loans to China and Japan. There will be little or no money left to pay for Social Security or Medicare. So when those individuals need a little help from their government for food, clothing, shelter and healthcare, it will not be available.

One of the biggest campaign issues for Republicans over the last few decades has been absolute opposition to building up a federal debt that would have to be paid by our children and grandchildren. But when president Bush decided to declare war on Iraq based on false claims of WMDs, not a penny of the cost has been paid by current taxpayers. Trillions to finance war in the Middle East  has been borrowed mostly from other countries to be paid back with interest at a later date. All of it is going to be passed on to future generations along with the growing interest on the debt. We need to remember that all of our Republican congress members have also chosen to pass on the costs of this most recent tax cut for the wealthy.

Teachers will do a lot better than most Louisiana citizens, primarily because they have a separate retirement system independent of Social Security. But the way things are going now in the Louisiana Legislature, (We have a looming billion dollar deficit caused by state tax cuts during the Jindal administration) that wonderful retirement system will probably not be funded much longer for future teachers. Health care benefits are also at risk. LABI and other conservative groups don’t think that teachers deserve these benefits, and soon our state will start diverting retirement contributions and health coverage to balance our deficit plagued state budget, The conservatives keep telling us that “our state doesn’t have an income problem, we have a spending problem.”  But none of them have been able to find the waste that could be cut. So our colleges are now starved of critical funding, and the next targets are sure to be funding for teacher retirement and health care.

This is how our Louisiana voters will be rewarded for their votes for Donald Trump and our Republican party congress members.