I assume that you don’t read DigBoston for our coverage of financial issues. We are not a primary source of information on taxation, nor are we a font of economic wisdom. Other than the work of Jason Pramas, whose deep spelunking in the corporate welfare state and other crass capitalist crevices is critical, and of some others on occasion, such as Saul Tannenbaum who chimes in this week about the erosion of net neutrality, we’re not exactly Crain’s or Business Week. You get the picture.
Still, I am using this last column of the year to rail against and whine about impending changes to our tax code that have been pursued by President Donald Trump and his GOP minions (among other nefarious forces). In case you haven’t noticed, even with the endless crush of crazy tweets and distractions related to MS-13 and other nonstories, every pundit and economist who’s worth their weight in bitcoins has spent the past month or longer eviscerating the tax bill preparations of right-wing extremist lawmakers: Still, I am expressing this outrage despite its trite and obvious nature. It’s not my style; I prefer to keep my commentary local, but this is a disaster that must be addressed from every angle, and that includes the municipal and community perspective.
In the interest of not selfishly hating the tax news (it’s not a “cut” for everyone, so let’s not call it that) simply for how it will hurt me and my family, which I won’t fully realize for more than a year, I want to point out a small but nonetheless depressing aspect of the plan that has been left out of most reports on the matter, even though it won’t impact my own pocket directly. Sickeningly, businesses will no longer be able to claim reimbursements for employees who bike to work (individuals can still spend up to $20/month on bike-related expenses). That’s right, in a move that will save the federal government a mere estimated $5 million a year—and as part of an overall overhaul that will, by all trustworthy accounts, deliver more to the haves at the expense of have-nots—the Trump army is removing the tax incentive to cycle to work. They’re actually that depraved.
Since I’m not a twisted conservative brat who pulls stick to the thought of eroding the middle class and polluting the planet, it’s hard to put myself in the shoes of Republicans on such matters. Nevertheless, it couldn’t be clearer that these measures are intentionally targeting blue states, since even Trump’s moron advisors are smart enough to know that anyone who is environmentally minded or urban enough to ride on two wheels sure as hell didn’t vote for the POTUS. This is the world that we live in, and 2018 will only be worse. You have my word on that one.
In the meantime, it’s more important than ever that our local Democrats, who have made careers out of running against Trump lately (instead of their actual opponents), do everything they can to minimize harm to constituents. From protecting immigrants from ICE agents, to securing state or city monies to reward those who bike to work, we’ve never needed our elected pols this much. God help us.
A Queens, NY native who came to New England in 2004 to earn his MA in journalism at Boston University, Chris Faraone is the editor and co-publisher of DigBoston and a co-founder of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. He has published several books including 99 Nights with the 99 Percent, and has written liner notes for hip-hop gods including Cypress Hill, Pete Rock, Nas, and various members of the Wu-Tang Clan.