Let’s Rob a Bank

 

I’ve always wanted to rob a bank. This could be Elmore Leonard’s fault as he always made it seem like a really cool thing to do, but I’m going to blame Kathryn Bigelow’s  1991 film Point Break. Either way, somehow I got it into my head that it would be a good idea to rob a bank… and I think now’s the time.

The Republican-controlled legislature just passed the biggest tax reform bill in 30 years, and as you would expect it’s Robin Hood in reverse. The new taxes offer tax cuts to corporations who offshore jobs, end many deductions for the working class and is expected to raise the deficit by a trillion dollars. And that’s just the highlights. I’m sure there are going to be many more far-reaching effects.

I shouldn’t be too mad really. I’ll get a modest cut for a year or two before I see an increase. My student-loan interest deduction is going away, but it won’t break me. I’m not going to go hungry.

Maybe I’m just pissed off because I know a lot of people will go hungry. A lot of people are going to lose health insurance. I’m not going hungry, but I’m not so wealthy that I can donate enough to help all those needy people in my country. I don’t even like to think of people in other countries because it’s too overwhelming. I give to my church, the Salvation Army, and other charities, but it never feels like I’m doing enough.

I’m not a libertarian. I don’t have a huge problem paying taxes. I just don’t like it that my taxes are going toward dropping enormous bombs on Afghanistan and gold-flecked toilet paper for the oval office.

And I keep wondering why the United States has such bad roads, bridges and infrastructure. Aren’t we the richest nation on the planet? I know we’re the largest economy. We should have a highway system that is the envy of the world, every American should have health care, the plumbing in Flint, MI should have been replaced before it could become a problem and should be able to spew Pepsi AND we should be able to do all this stuff and still have plenty of money left over to build that stupid wall on the Mexican border.

But we don’t. People sleep on the street and go without food to buy medication so we can give enormous tax breaks to multi-millionaires who pay their workers starvation level wages so they have to rely on welfare to make ends meet. Then they cut the welfare benefits.

The money held in banks is insured by the federal government so technically I wouldn’t be stealing from Chase, PNC or any other average joes like myself. I would be stealing from the government that has just voted to steal from myself and everyone I know. In fact, they’ve voted against everyone in this country who makes less than $75,000/year. They’ve voted against everyone with a conscience.

Anyone with me? I’ll need a bit of cash to pay off my student loans, but the rest can go to UNICEF. I don’t want to be rich, I just don’t want anyone to be extremely poor.

 

 

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Letter to my Representatives

Dear Congressman Gibbs and Senator Portman,

With the attention being given to tax reform by both Congress and the media, I feel it is important to voice my opinion on the matter. I’m hoping I will have a few views that you may not have heard or considered regarding this debate and I sincerely hope you will receive them with an open mind.

I’m not opposed to the idea of tax reform. There are certain aspects of this debate I think merit attention. I strongly support making our tax code simpler and easier. I also like the idea of ending loopholes that allow American companies to shift profits overseas and ending subsidies that allow poor businesses to continue at taxpayer expense. It’s well past time we make a few changes.

I also like the idea of paying a lower tax, I would drop from the 15 percent bracket to 12 percent, but I don’t like the idea of adding 1.5 trillion dollars to the national debt. This seems like an extremely irresponsible and selfish thing to do at the moment. There is no economic crisis or cold war going on that could justify passing this tab to our children. I have a three-year-old daughter and I can’t help but think to pass a tax cut that would add to what she will have to pay would be like taking her out to eat at McDonald’s and then making her pay for everyone’s meal.

I have other qualms about this plan. I know the chief argument for it is that it will create enough growth pay for itself, but aside from the fact that there is no evidence or such a thing happening in the past the president himself recently tweeted that unemployment is somewhere near 4 percent and the stock market is higher than it has ever been. There really isn’t any need to stimulate growth or give our economy a “shot in the arm.” It’s also possible that adding to the debt may increase inflation, so while I would be receiving more money from my paycheck it would be worth less.

My second concern comes from the effect of these cuts on the future of our country. There has been talk of investing in our infrastructure, but no concrete plans have been laid out as to how it will be paid for. I’m also concerned about the effects this could have on other government-funded programs such as Medicaid (which both my girlfriend and mother use) and education.

I’m really concerned about what this tax plan and future budgets could mean for my income-based student loan repayment plan. Not only does this program allow me to pay my mortgage, health insurance, bills and groceries; it also allows me to put aside a few dollars every month into a savings plan so I can someday send my daughter to college.

The most important thing we can do right now is to make this a better world for our children. I may not be a small business owner or the chairman of a Super PAC, but I am one of your constituents. When considering the effects of tax reform I don’t think we should be looking at how it will affect us, but how it will affect those we care most about.

Thank you,

Zachariah T Baer