Trump says the destruction of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma prove we should pass tax cuts for the rich sooner rather than latter.
“I think now with what’s happened with the hurricane, I‘m going to ask for a speedup. I wanted a speedup anyway, but now we need it even more so,” the president said at the outset of a Cabinet meeting at Camp David. The White House released a video of his remarks.
Trump urged Congress in a Friday tweet not to wait until the end of September for tax legislation.
This is precisely the wrong moment to pass tax cuts for the rich. If anything, this would be a good time to raise taxes on the rich.
When the bill comes due for wildfires in the west, Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, and whatever devilry the rest of the year has in store for us, the cost will likely be in the hundreds of billions of dollars. Mister anti-government himself Texas Governor Greg Abbott has estimated that the cost of recovery for Hurricane Harvey alone will be over $100 billion.
And this is just the beginning, isn't it? When I quip that the "climate change bailout of 2050" will be epic, I'm not necessarily kidding, and the greatest bailout of our lives may not take that long.
Climate change refugees are already a reality right here in America and one day there will be a storm so bad no one will be returning home because sea level has permanently risen and swallowed the land. That day could have come today if Hurricane Irma cut a slightly different path and hit Miami or Tampa directly as a category 5 storm instead of weakening after hitting the coast of Cuba. Residents of several islands in the Caribbean including the U.S. Virgin Islands may already be facing the impossibility of returning home because there's nothing to return to.
We should tax the rich today to help pay for recovery and adaptation programs to prepare us for the next big storms that will undoubtedly come.
Cutting taxes for the rich right now would mean reducing their burden for rebuilding their own properties and redistributing it to people who can't even afford to rebuild. It could quite literally mean subsidizing the renovation of beachfront condo lobbies and private pools while average people are just trying to figure out where they're going to live now.
Whether or not these recent disasters jeopardize the GOP's plans to cut taxes for the rich may ultimately hinge on their commitment to passing cuts even if it could mean the return of trillion dollar deficits.