The Republican tax plan is an unmitigated disaster. The bill creates permanent corporate tax cuts and slashes tax rates on the nation’s top earners, while eliminating a number of tax deductions families rely on. In order to fool at least some of the public into backing the bill, Republicans are giving minor tax breaks to regular Americans, but those will soon expire and then cause taxes to go up for most taxpayers.
But while the plan will be a disaster for workers, the healthcare market, and the mounting national debt, it also includes horrible ideas that have nothing to do with taxes at all.
Actor Robert Redford highlighted the “dirty deal” inside the Republican “tax scam” in a brutal op-ed at Time.
Redford slammed President Donald Trump for sacrificing “spectacular lands for the sake of oil and gas profits” by opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling.
“The Arctic Refuge is a national treasure, so majestic and wild and beautiful the Gwich’in people call it ‘The Sacred Place Where Life Begins.’ Part of the reason Republican President Eisenhower set aside the Arctic Refuge more than 50 years ago,” Redford wrote. “Oil and gas companies have coveted those lands ever since. They’ve tried, and failed, more than a dozen times, to break down the protections that guard the refuge from drilling, and the harm they cause.”
“Congress is about to shell out tax cuts to these same big corporations, and you may not know their deal includes a provision to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling if they get their way,” he explained. “They are claiming to pay for proposed tax cuts by charging oil companies $100 million a year to mine the Refuge but we all know what’s really going on. $100 million dollars sounds great, but don’t be fooled. It won’t even pay the interest on our new debt for even a single day.”
“And it’s not even close to being worth the trade for giving up the Refuge,” he added.
Redford’s opposition to drilling in the Arctic Refuge is supported by 70 percent of Americans, who said in a Yale University poll they are against drilling in the refuge. Even among those that back drilling, just 18 percent of Republicans say they “strongly support” the policy.
And many Republican lawmakers oppose it as well.
In a letter to both chambers of Congress, 12 Republican lawmakers objected to opening up the ANWR to drilling.
“Since the Refuge was originally set aside for the protection in 1960 by President Dwight Eisenhower, Republicans, Democrats and Independents alike have stood together to protect this unparalleled landscape,” they wrote.
“For decades, Congress has voted to prohibit oil and gas development in the refuge, with the overwhelming support of the American public. Support for this protection remains strong today. After years of debate, the Arctic refuge stands as a symbol of our nation’s strong and enduring natural legacy,” they said, adding that any drilling would likely be countered by lawsuits.
Worse, the devastating move likely wouldn’t even net oil companies that much money.
“The strongest argument against drilling might be the numbers, because while Republicans have always wanted to drill in the refuge, doing so today makes about as little economic sense as it has in ANWR’s 57-year history,” according to Outside magazine.
According to a Center for American Progress analysis, opening up the ANWR for drilling leases would generate less than $40 million in revenue for the US Treasury over the next decade, compared to the $1 billion to $1.8 billion proponents of the move outlandishly claim it will bring in.