Jay Bookman

Opinion columnist and blogger with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, specializing in foreign relations, environmental and technology-related issues

Opinion: Just a bunch of suckers

Just to be very clear: My fellow Americans, you're getting scammed, screwed and swindled.

Bamboozled, bilked and betrayed.

Also, deceived, duped and double-crossed. And the question is what, if anything, you're willing to do about it.

If you're paying attention -- if you're not off watching the Kardashians or playing Xbox or letting Fox News enrage you with the latest evil perpetrated by Hillary Clinton -- if you've still got the common sense the good Lord gave you, you know what's going on in Washington. You know that the Republican-led Congress is right now putting the finishing touches to a tax-cut bill that is going to slash taxes for the wealthy and for corporations that are already swimming in trillions of dollars of capital, literally more capital than they can put to good use. Now they get even more.

Oh, you too may get a little taste of it, if only for a few years. You'll get just enough to let them say you're getting a little taste, a message that will be conveyed to you in expensive TV ads that are paid for by the people and corporations who will really be cashing in on the deal, the ones who are its true and intended beneficiaries.


And yes, congressional Republicans are rushing to pass that bill even though they've been warned by their own analysts that it will add at least $1 trillion to the national debt and generate just 0.8 percent additional growth; they've been told all that, and they don't care. Caring about the debt will be next year's obsession, when they'll suddenly care about it very very much, when House Speaker Paul Ryan has already promised that they'll have to start slashing Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security and other safety-net programs.

You know, because of the debt.

You ought to know the scam by now, people. You ought to know how they tell you with a catch in their throat and a tear in their eye that they too grieve for those being lost in the opioid epidemic, but then proceed to dismantle Medicaid and the mental-health system that represent the last best hope for many of those already addicted or soon to be addicted.

They travel to your rural community and tut-tut about how those liberal city folk just don't understand real Americans, then they'll climb back into their corporate jet and fly back to their own homes in those very same cities and quietly gut the programs that sustain your stuggling rural hospital, the mainstay of your economy.

They wrap their left hand around your shoulder like an old pal and tell you how together you're going to form a movement that will take on and beat that hated elite establishment, while their other hand dips unnoticed into your backpocket to take away your health-insurance card.

They join you in the church pews on Sunday, singing songs of praise for the man who drove the moneychangers from the temple, while on Monday they collect their campaign checks from the moneychangers on Wall Street, and on Tuesday they gut the regulations that keep Wall Street from preying on you like lambs thrown to wolves.

They preach the virtues of education as the pathway out of poverty, while cutting programs that help make college affordable for those not wise enough to be born into the lucky sperm club. In the House tax-cut bill, they eliminate a $250 tax credit for teachers who make $40,000 a year but have to buy their own classroom supplies, while creating a new tax subsidy for those rich enough to send their kids to private school.

On and on it goes. Don't listen to what they say; watch what they do. Because if you watch what they're doing, you just might get mad enough to make them stop.



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About the Author

Jay Bookman writes about government and politics, with an occasional foray into other aspects of life as time, space and opportunity allow.