Letter to My Representatives on the Sadopopulism of the “Napkin Scribbles” Tax Bill

The tax bill as passed by the Senate remakes the entire social infrastructure of America. It is a fundamental re-plumbing of the American economy. The bill:

  • gets rid of homeownership as a policy goal.
  • eliminates a whole swath of the safety net and government in blue states.
  • ends taxation on concentrated capital.
  • cuts education.
  • cuts healthcare.
  • cuts access.
  • cuts Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security.

This isn’t a ‘tax’ bill, it’s sadopopulism deliberately designed to administer pain. It’s a way of putting an increasing number of Americans under the control of landlords in nearly every segment of their lives. It’s 1.5 trillion in debt on the backs of our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. It’s an attack on small businesses and the self-employed. It’s an enemies list and the purposeful destruction of every asset in the knowledge economy. It’s a straight-up war on public education. This bill beggars the country.

On the Senate floor, we watched septuagenarians and octogenarians pull up the ladder of the New Deal. They reaped the benefits their entire lives and are now callously burning down our systems on their way out the door. The GOP is trashing our democracy with a poorly constructed and hastily passed “napkin scribbles” bill that manifests the kleptocratic fantasies and sociopathic greed of its donors.

This bill will not grow the economy. It will redistribute wealth upwards and shrink the revenue of the federal government so severely that Republicans can justify austerity programs that will destroy the paltry social safety net we have. We’ve seen it in Kansas, Oklahoma, and other states. And now, the entire country will suffer under these morally, ethically, and intellectually bankrupt policies. Partisanship and sadopopulism have trumped patriotism.

We are tottering between democracy and oligarchy. If this becomes law, we will have chosen oligarchy.

These are policies that are deliberately designed to administer pain, to add to the total amount of pain in American society.

If you hurt people you create a resource of pain, of anxiety and fear which you then direct against others.

If, in the long run, the way that you govern is by hurting people who don’t mind being hurt because they think other people are hurting worse, what you will tend to do is take the vote away from people who expect more from government, what you will tend to do is try to suppress the vote and keep the vote down to the people who accept that government can do nothing except for administer pain. And then that moves you away slowly from democracy.

Source: Timothy Snyder Speaks, ep. 4: Sadopopulism – YouTube

Rule by the rich few doesn’t answer the question of what comes next.

It’s very hard for oligarchs to make markets because oligarchs can’t really accept the rule of law.

Markets will not work under oligarchy.

It’s very hard for oligarchs to redistribute.

Citizens United, in 2010, ignores exactly what’s happening in Russia.

The United States is tottering between democracy and oligarchy.

We cannot expect policy from a would-be oligarch, from a wannabe oligarch, that will benefit the population as a whole.

In conditions of oligarchical impotence, you shift the task of government from doing anything to affirming identity. Government is no longer about doing, government is about being.

What you end up doing as an oligarch is deliberately hurting your own followers and asking them to applaud you.

Source: Timothy Snyder Speaks, ep. 3: What is Oligarchy?


Props to these Tweets for information, language, and feels used in this post.

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