Richard Rohr Meditation: Inalienable Rights

Economic justice is not popular. Who will hold our politicians and corporations accountable today? Jim Wallis, founder of the faith-based nonprofit Sojourners, writes:

What if the calls for economic justice were made in the name of Jesus—or Amos, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Micah—instead of from more ideological sources and causes? . . . What if behavior in the economic spheres of our lives became the substance of adult Sunday school curriculums and Bible study groups? And what if the hard political questions about corporate responsibility, tax benefits, trade policies, budget priorities, and campaign financing were coming from religious congregations that political leaders couldn’t afford to ignore? Nothing could do more to bring about a change of fortunes in the battles of class warfare. [3]

There has been a permanent state of class warfare of the rich against the poor throughout history, but for some strange reason it is only called class warfare when it is the poor against the rich!

Soak the Poor, Feed the Rich

Trumpcare will eliminate virtually all of the taxes that Obamacare introduced to expand health care coverage, including the Medicare surcharges that only apply to high earners: 0.9% on earned income and 3.9% on investment income. That in itself is a 16% cut in taxes on investments for a class of people who make lots of money from investments. Health savings accounts will increase the tax breaks available to high-income families. The “Cadillac tax,” which would have affected people with generous health plans, will be pushed back until 2025 (in a transparent bid to improve the bill’s scoring for reconciliation purposes), with the expectation that it will be repealed at some point in the future.

.. Because Trumpcare eliminates the individual mandate, more healthy people are likely to opt out of coverage. This will increase the average actuarial cost of people buying individual plans, which will push up premiums—a transfer from sick people to healthy people.

.. Trumpcare achieves the long-held conservative dream of converting Medicaid into a block grant program, which means that Republican state governments will be able to use the money in ways that are only tangentially related to providing health care for poor people. (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families block grant money, for example, is routinely used to support abstinence programs or premarital counseling services aimed at getting couples to marry.)

.. People will need the same amount of health care no matter what Congress does. If the government pays less for health care, poor people will have to pay more. If they can afford it, Trumpcare is effectively the same as a tax on the poor. If they can’t afford it, it’s even worse. This is as naked an example of class warfare as you’ll see today.