An Antidote to Greed

Matthew Freeman

Nov. 28, 2017

If there's a defining value to the tax bill now working its way through Congress, it's greed. How else to account for a bill that wipes out tax deductions for health care expenses, double-taxes the money you pay in state and local income taxes, eliminates the deduction for interest on student loans, and at the same time eliminates the tax that's now paid on estates in excess of $5.5 million, eliminates the alternative minimum tax, and slashes corporate taxes, all while adding $1.5 trillion to the federal debt? The principal objective of this bill is to make rich people richer, and it accomplishes that by squeezing pretty much everybody else – some right away, some in a few years.

Of course, greed is at the heart of much of President Trump's policy agenda. In its service, he's rolled back environmental regulations, allowing big corporations to shift the pollution burden their pursuit of profit creates from themselves to you, by letting you breathe it and drink it rather than cleaning up their own mess. His FCC is about to wipe out net neutrality, allowing Internet providers to squeeze more money out of you by coming up with creative new fees and surcharges to access sites you now visit at no additional cost. And with the resignation of Richard Cordray, head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the White House is practically salivating at the prospect of defanging the agency created to protect consumers from the many and varied ways that Wells Fargo and other large financial corporations have created to bilk their customers.

Had enough? If yes, here's a way to stand up for a different value: generosity. Today marks the sixth annual Giving Tuesday, the Internet and the nonprofit community's effort to add a grace note of social responsibility to the extended post-Thanksgiving kickoff to the holiday shopping season – Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. Across the Internet and in your inbox and Twitter feed today, you'll find CPR and other nonprofits appealing for your support.

CPR is not the only worthy cause, and it's not the only organization fighting the Trump administration's and the congressional majority's ongoing assault on our safeguards. But we bring, as Liam Neeson famously intoned, a very particular set of skills to the job. Our scholars and staff have an unsurpassed understanding of the regulatory process and how Trump's various agency appointees are trying to manipulate it. Their work is thus vital to the work of labor, environmental, consumer protection, and other advocates in the broad progressive community.

If you're repelled by the wave of greed now rolling over Washington and are in search of an outlet for good, wholesome generosity, please consider CPR.

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