Rep. Tom Cole, R-Norman, disappoints his constituents once again. Falsely claiming that only 9% of the American Rescue Plan goes to fight COVID, Rep. Cole laments that past COVID relief bills were passed with bipartisan support but this one had none. Republicans seem to be following their usual battle plan to oppose anything sponsored by Democrats, while Democrats attempt to govern in ways that actually benefit their constituents. Rep. Cole failed his.
The American Rescue Plan contains supports for low-income families that will reduce the number of children living in poverty by half this year. Does Rep. Cole think this is a bad thing? Past government policies have certainly benefited people on the other end of the economic spectrum. From 1979 to 2019 the wealthiest 1%’s share of pre-tax income jumped from 11% to 19% according to the World Inequality Database. During the same time frame the one percenters’ share of wealth burgeoned from 23% to 35%.
Rep. Cole voted for the 2017 tax cut bill knowing full well the bulk of the benefits would go to corporations and wealthy constituents. And of course, he touted the idea that the resulting surge in the economy would be reflected in higher wages, greater employment, and prosperity for all. Republicans just love that old “trickle down” fiction, don’t they?
Oh, and then there’s that old favorite of Republicans that the resulting economic growth will create so much income that the tax cuts will pay for themselves. Want to know how that worked out? The Congressional Research Service found that the cuts produced an increase of 0.3% in GDP in 2018. For the cuts to pay for themselves, an increase of more than 6.7% would be necessary. So those tax cuts Rep. Cole was so fond of produced less than one-twentieth of the economic gain needed to pay for themselves. The tax cuts led to a $40 billion decline in corporate tax revenue and contributed to a huge federal deficit that year which continues into the foreseeable future.
Republicans including Rep. Cole complain about assistance in the American Rescue Plan going to cities, falsely complaining that Democrats are just helping out poorly managed cities run by Democrats. Well, guess what? COVID didn’t discriminate. Both Democratic and Republican run cities and states suffered grievously the last year. Unemployment remains high nationally, although not so much in Oklahoma, and expanded unemployment benefits will help families. Infrastructure spending got a big boost with the Relief bill, something I hope Rep. Cole recognizes is needed. And the list of benefits in the bill goes on, but Rep. Cole didn’t believe it was needed.
Rep. Cole may be my Congressman, but he seldom represents my interests. I’m happy the American Relief Bill is now law, and I sincerely hope the poverty reduction elements are made permanent. Oklahoma will be better off in the long term.