Let Them Eat Cake

It was going on 9 p.m.. I’d just finished a workout and dropped by the grocer’s on my way home from the gym. There were only a handful of other people in the store so I didn’t have to wait in line. The checker greeted me cheerily.

“How’d your day go?” she asked as she ran the cans of corn over the scanner.

“Pretty good,” I said. “How about you?” I noticed her smile. It was easy and generous, even at that relatively late hour.

“Long day,” she said, smiling anyway. “I’ve been on my feet since 6 a.m..”

“Here?”I asked, wondering how anyone could tolerate standing on those concrete floors for over 3 hours, much less over 12.

“No, no,” she said correcting me. “I have another job.”

“Oh,” I said, pushing my debit card into the slot. “What do you do?”

“I work in finance,” she said.

“So you worked all day there and then came here?”

“Yes,” she said, handing me my receipt. “I made too much money in my first job last year and now I have a $5,000 tax bill to pay. So I’m working here to pay off my tax bill.”

“How awful,” I said. “All the while Jeff Bezo’s and Trump aren’t paying taxes.”

“I know, right?” she said. “I don’t know how this is all going to work out. I am working a second job to pay this year’s tax bill but that just means I’m making more money that will then mean I have to pay even more in taxes next year.”

“It’s crazy,” I said. “All the while Trump and Jeff Bezos aren’t paying taxes.”

“Yeah,” she said, still smiling. “Hopefully we can get that all fixed soon.”

I picked up my bags, “Yes, hopefully.”

Elections have consequences. Up the road from where I live, a young Hispanic woman is working the night shift at the grocery store, after putting in a full day’s elsewhere just so she can pay the tax bill she got burdened with, all the while Trump and his cronies stuff their guts and their pockets.

“Good for you for being so responsible while so many others are so irresponsible,” I said, trying to find any words of affirmation for her.

But as I walked to my car, all I could think about was how much more difficult life is for those on the lower end of the income bracket.

And how Trump’s policies, whether taxes, or healthcare, or immigration, are punitive in nature.

But don’t take my word for that, consider what folks at the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy have to say about it:

The incomes of the top 1 percent have grown five times as fast as the bottom 90 percent of incomes since 1979, and this growing inequity is an obstacle to improving the lives of working families. According to UCLA Professor Jason Oh, the TCJA will exacerbate the gap in post-tax income growth in 2019 by providing a higher proportional increase in post-tax income to the wealthiest households (those with incomes over $1,000,000), as compared to working households bringing in less than $50,000 annually.

Karen Spears Zacharias is author of Will Jesus Buy Me a Doublewide? ‘Cause I need more room for my Plasma TV. (Zondervan).

Karen Spears Zacharias

Author/Journalist/Educator. Gold Star Daughter.

1 Comment

AF Roger

about 5 years ago

The real bomb of the utterly misnamed TCJA hasn't dropped yet: the price all your wonderful grandkids will pay for our fiscal irresponsibility precisely when the cost of living on a much degraded earth will be unavoidable. At the end of the BBC News Hour yesterday, there was a heartening conversation of the host with 16-year-old Greta Thunberg of Sweden. Last August at age 15, she started the Friday school strike for climate change action. She was in Great Britain visiting with leaders there. Five memorable statements from that conversation (I have editorialized them a bit since I can't relate the whole context, but here they are): 1] There's no point in learning anything in school if politicians won't pay attention to fact. 2] If the house is burning down, panic is not irrational. We should all be feeling a bit of panic now. 3] People have accused me of being black and white and not seeing the gray. That's not true. There is no such thing as being "a little bit sustainable". Either we are sustainable or we are not. 4] I don't know what I could say to Donald Trump that isn't already well known. He's not listening. 5] I don't easily fall for lies. I see through them.... OK. And we wonder whether 16-year-olds should be allowed to vote! Lately, I've been thinking the opposite. Perhaps nobody over the age of 40 should be allowed to vote. Who got us to where we are today? Not our kids. If elders don't have the stuff to act grown up, the authority needs to go elsewhere.


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