Sunday, December 17, 2017

Democrats from two counties march against tax bill

By Michele Bourdieu

Marchers head across the Portage Lift Bridge on Dec. 9 to protest the tax bill heading through Congress. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

HOUGHTON -- A group of marchers organized by both the Houghton County and the Baraga County Democratic parties braved a cold Saturday morning, Dec. 9, to protest the potential tax bill heading through the House and Senate on a fast-track this month. Carrying signs protesting a bill that, if passed, is expected to reduce taxes for the wealthy and corporations while increasing the deficit and threatening benefits for working class and middle class families and seniors, concerned citizens marched from Houghton to Hancock and back across the Portage Lift Bridge.

About 35 protesters, including members of both the Houghton County and Baraga County Democratic parties, showed up for the Dec. 9 march against the proposed tax bill, which Republicans hope to pass before Christmas. Several passers-by honk horns in support of the protesters. (Video by Keweenaw Now)

Valorie Troesch, Houghton County Democratic Party co-organizer, with Bill Binroth, of the march, said she learned from her father, a farmer who supported his family on a small Iowa farm, that the Republican idea of trickle-down economics is a flawed myth -- and now she sees the Republican/Trump/Bergman proposed tax legislation as built on that myth.

Valorie Troesch, co-organizer of the Dec. 9 march against the tax bill, displays her sign of concern for senior benefits. With her, at right, is Emily Fiala of Houghton. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

"My father used to say that when the farmer did well, the entire country did well," Troesch said. "I didn't understand what he meant until years later. But what he was talking about is exactly the opposite of trickle down voo-doo economics which holds that, if the wealthy get wealthier through favorable tax policies, their wealth will trickle down and help the folks at the bottom. All the Republican tax bill accomplishes is to ensure that prosperity will remain in the pockets of the wealthy. A real tax cut for the low income and middle class would make sure that tax breaks go directly to them. Cuts would be targeted, obvious, immediate, and substantial. The Republican plan is a tax sham designed only to further exacerbate the wealth gap and to create a pretense for eliminating the New Deal and Great Society programs for low and middle income workers and families."

Sharon Eklund, right, Baraga County Democratic Party chair, led a group of about 10 Party members from the Baraga - l'Anse area to participate in the Dec. 9 march across the Portage Lift Bridge in Houghton. Pictured with Eklund, at left, is her granddaughter Melanie Gibbs, 10, of Ishpeming. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

Sharon Eklund, Baraga County Democratic Party chair, said she brought a group of her Party members to join the march because of her opposition to President Trump's behavior and policies.

"When Trump was elected I was in a deep depression," Eklund said, "because if there's a presidential candidate who can get up in front of people and insult disabled people he will not be a president for any of the common people."

Liz Hakola of Pelkie, also a Baraga County democrat, was among the group Eklund led to Houghton for the march.

"I came to protest the tax giveaways to the billionaires and the takeaway from the poor and the working middle class," Hakola told Keweenaw Now. "I think that the next step is the Republican Congress will use the deficit that they cause to rationalize cuts in spending for social security, medicare and medicaid."

Liz Hakola of Pelkie, left, in pink hat, is pictured here with other march participants from Baraga County, including Linda Zimmer, second from left, and Sharon Eklund, center, in white hat. (Photo courtesy Sharon Eklund and Baraga County Democratic Party)

During the march, two Houghton County residents, Nancy Imm, left, and Denise Heikinen display their signs opposing U.S. Rep. Jack Bergman's support of the tax plan and Trump's negative character, respectively. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

Bill Binroth, co-organizer for the march and Houghton County Democratic Party co-chair, displays a sign showing his concerns about health care and government programs that could be cut if the Republican tax bill is approved. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

According to a Dec. 15 article in The Hill, Republicans revealed the final version of their tax bill on Dec. 15 and hope to have Trump sign it before Christmas. The House is expected to vote on the bill this Tuesday, followed by the Senate.*

In another article today, Dec. 17, The Hill quotes Sen. Bernie Sanders as saying Democrats did all they could in opposing the bill.

"Sanders described the GOP legislation as a 'massive attack on the middle class,' countering Republicans’ argument that the bill will help middle-class families through tax cuts."**

The article continues, "The bill cuts the top individual rate from 39.6 percent to 37 percent and also slashes the corporate tax rate from 35 to 21 percent.

"Sanders blamed the resulting legislation on the 'priorities' of the individuals who wrote the bill."**


* See "Republicans unveil final version of tax bill."

** See "Sanders: 'I think we did everything we could' to stop tax bill."

Click here for the final (Dec. 15) text of the tax bill. You can call Rep. Bergman at (202) 225-4735 to express your views on his support of the tax bill.

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