Video: Tax bill will slash Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, Democratic leaders say

By Tim Hernandez

House minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) joined U.S. Rep. Joaquín Castro (D-San Antonio) and Ann Beeson, Executive Director of the Center for Public Policy Priorities, to critique the new tax bill and discuss its effects on people.

During a town hall meeting at San Antonio’s Central Library, the three answered questions about the tax bill from moderator Francine Sanders Romero, Ph.D., Associate Dean in College of Public Policy, UTSA. (scroll down to watch complete video of the event)

“This tax bill is bad, not only in itself, but for what it does to the budget,” said Pelosi. “Our national budget should be a statement about national values. What is important to us as a country should be about how we invest in the education of our children, in the health and welfare of the American people, in the defense of our nation - the values that make our country great,” said Pelosi.

Instead, said Castro, “Eighty-three percent of benefits basically go to the top 1 percent. Now the question is, why would you be doing that in a time when income inequality has just been getting larger and larger? When really the wealthy are getting wealthier and the poor are getting poorer? Not only that but the middle class is also suffering.”

All three panel participants argued that the loss of tax revenue from the tax bill would result in a deep slashing of social services.

“Because of what it does to the deficit it’s bad enough. But what it does to our opportunity for the budget is really what is damaging,” Pelosi said. “ As Congressman Castro said exactly the same amount, $1.3 trillion they are giving to corporate America, but cutting $1.4 trillion from Medicaid.”

Romero asked what the panelists thought about some companies giving out bonuses after the tax bill was passed.

Pelosi likened it to an employer giving out turkeys at Thanksgiving. She said a real reward would be to give employees a raise in their hourly rate or annual salary.

“Look, companies giving bonuses is a good thing,” said Castro. “All right, someone gets extra money in their paycheck, that is a good thing. But the fact is that a lot of those companies who announced bonuses for their employees, they also announced layoffs a week or two later.”

Watch the video: