Commentary: GOP’s ‘reverse Robin Hood’ policies bad for US

Two major issues in this election, wages and healthcare/insurance bear closer examination of the facts.

According to “LivingWage.mit.edu”, a single person (adult) in Delaware working full time needs to earn $12.44/hour with a 40-hour week for 52 weeks. This amounts to $25,875/year. If one is the breadwinner with a spouse and one child, the needed hourly living wage jumps to $23.71/hour or $49,316/ year. Adding another child brings the living wage requirement up to $26.73/hour or $55,598/year.

If, however, one is earning Delaware’s minimum wage of $8.25 or $17,160/year, one is well below the “living wage” and is probably working a second job just to break even. MIT’s living wage page also shows the typical hourly wages and expenses for a variety of circumstances ranging from the single adult to a family of two adults and three children. It also notes the annual income before taxes as well as the required income after taxes. It is no wonder that one hears people proposing a $15 minimum wage.

According to “deptofnumbers.com/income/delaware,” the median household income in Delaware is $61,757 as of the Census ACS survey report of September, 2018. It doesn’t specify the makeup of the “household.” This same report notes that Delaware’s median family income was $74,251. Comparing this site’s information with the MIT chart, Delaware’s median household income falls between families of two adults with one or two children. The median family income is somewhat higher than MIT’s. Keep in mind that “median” means that half earn more and half earn less..

Not unlike Republican corporate tax cuts under President Reagan, the current Republicans’ Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) lowered taxes on corporations while giving little to employees. Both tax bills were promoted by assuring Americans that the benefits would “trickle down” and raise employees’ wages. This didn’t happen during the Reagan years and with the TCJA history is repeating itself. Despite the huge cuts for corporations, they did little for working people or to create new jobs.

According to the latest records I could find, the Conservative Action News of Jan. 23, 2018, reported that 15 corporations gave bonuses of $1,000 to $1,200 to their employees. Two of these corporations, BB&T Bank in January 2018 and Amazon in October 2018 actually did raise pay to $15.00/hour. If one received only such a bonus, one received an hourly “increase” of between $0.48 to $0.57/hour. Bear in mind, generally speaking, that only full-time employees receive any “fringe” benefits such as pension or 401K contributions and/or health insurance contributions. Regrettably, some full-time positions were downgraded to part-time which saved employers/corporations hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars. Do you fit into any of these scenarios?

According to the MIT information, medical expenses average $7,314 annually for a family of four with one breadwinner. This is third after housing and transportation and amounts to 16 percent of after-tax income. This doesn’t reflect any employer contributions to health insurance.

A report from “gobankingrates.com” for “Best and Worst States for Health Insurance Costs” was summarized in December 2017 by the Huffington Post. In it, one finds Delaware ranking seventh of the 10 costliest for the ACA’s Silver Plan. The median cost was $3,840/year with full coverage after a $3,400 deductible. Keep in mind that the ACA requires that pre-existing conditions be covered.

According to “ehealthinsurance.com,” non-ACA health insurance for a family averages $1,168/month or $14,016/year. That is quite a bite from one’s after-tax income. Since the signing of the ACA/”Obamacare,” Republicans have voted 70 times to abolish it and failed. Their latest tactic is to have Texas and 10 other states join in a lawsuit and let the now very conservative majority Supreme Court rule that the pre-existing conditions requirement is unconstitutional. This will let Republican candidates escape the responsibility of endangering millions of people; a slick move!

However President Trump, Texas’ Ted Cruz and other Republican candidates from these same states are swearing on camera that they will protect those with pre-existing conditions. They are lying to their constituents and to all Americans.

Searching “natbankruptcy.com” from Dec. 14, 2017 one finds that, for years, medical costs have been the No. 1 reason for declaring bankruptcy in the U.S. This is the only developed country in the world where this happens. If the Republicans’ lawsuit prevails, things will become worse.

Returning to the Republican tax cuts bill mentioned above, the Congressional Budget Office analysis states that the federal deficit will reach $1 trillion in fiscal 2020 and could reach 100 percent of the U.S. domestic product by 2028. In order to minimize these effects on the deficit, both Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have vowed to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

One can be sure that Republican majorities in the Senate and the House will pass the cuts and President Trump will sign the bill. This “reverse Robin Hood” proposal of robbing from ordinary Americans to give to the wealthiest must be stopped!

All Americans need to search for facts in order to present opinions in a civil manner and to respectfully listen to others if we are to restore and save the United States of America.

Alan P. Gaddis
Dover

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