Americans are at high risk of suffering from a lag in reaction time that makes them suffer yet another cognitive error about tax cuts due to the economy. The middle class may get their $1000 a year more for ten years, while the poorest pay yet more in taxes. Meanwhile, the government will be forced to dramatically cut services and programs to the poor. They will be forced to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.
I have tried to sound my own alarm a million times about what happened to my family one of the last times dramatic cuts were made to social programs — the 1981 tax cuts. Their impact was so immediate on our family, it was flabbergasting.
They passed in August 1981. Yet somehow Reagan had already put numerous social programs in block grants as a result. The state of Iowa made the decision to cut its program, Aid to Families with Dependent Children-Unemployed Parents.
My parents were also conservative, mentally ill, and fundamentalist Christians. They declared they were going to “live off the land,” “stop suckling at the government teat.” and “follow Reagan’s lead to reject welfare queens” so they rejected other government services they were still eligible to have like a tiny amount of food stamps.
This all resulted in my parents losing custody of their children by December 1981 because we didn’t have enough to eat, we couldn’t pay rent so we had to move to an unheated farmhouse, and the small town we lived in ganged up on my parents like something out of a Shirley Jackson novel.
So then the State pays out twice as much money to the foster care homes as they were paying to help my family through AFDC-UP- $1000 a foster care family versus $450 they had been paying to my parents for AFDC assistance. And they do that times two, because they divide my parents’ five children between two foster care homes.
Instead of the State providing my parents with mental health services when we were returned to their custody, they just do a single assessment of the family and declare we are “fine.” This leaves me as a ten-year-old to try to pick up the pieces of two mentally ill people who are traumatized by having their kids taken away. These were two paranoid, damaged adults being taken care by a child who was now raising four (to be five) younger siblings.
You can estimate how many of these people ended up damaged themselves. The cost of that damage in dollars is into the thousands as well in health and mental health care costs, but I rarely get any conservative interested in preventing these costs. Just saving tax dollars. That’s their only goal. Saving tax dollars.
Preventing misery. Who cares about that? Is this scenario going to happen to another family out there? You betcha. Families will break apart. People will be traumatized. Mentally ill people will go untreated. Since people ended up dying in my family because of this, people will die.
But Americans are just as likely to blame whoever is in office at the time. That may be a Democrat. They aren’t necessarily good at identifying culprits. They may say taxes caused their problems, rather than the tax cuts. They may let Reagan-lite tell them government caused their problems rather than the tax cuts on corporations.
So I don’t trust my fellow Americans to see the tax cuts as the culprit whatsoever when the time comes to realize what happened this week.