There was some excellent video last week from the Senate. After the Senate’s version of the tax cut plan was criticized by Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio (D), Republican Orrin Hatch from Utah, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, cut Brown off. He barked, “I come from the lower middle class originally, we didn’t have anything, so don’t spew that stuff on me.”
Note Hatch’s verbal maneuver here – he doesn’t directly disagree with the substance of Brown’s criticism, instead he basically says, I grew up in the middle class, so therefore I wouldn’t favor the rich over the middle class.
But Senator Hatch is a long way from his hometown of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.
When he came to the Senate in the 1970s, he quickly made a mark by leading the filibuster that defeated the last major attempt by the Democrats to improve labor union laws. Hatch didn’t think workers should be defended from company harassment during organizing drives.
Hatch, as befits his seniority, is a very powerful man. The former chairperson of the Senate Judiciary Committee, he now is chairperson of the Senate Finance Committee. Along the way, he has done okay for himself. Inside.gov.com reports his net worth was $4.9 million in 2014.
Wealthy people love to support eager, formerly poor people who run for public office and then promote policies that line the pockets of the rich. Hatch voted several times this summer to repeal Obamacare, not worried that 25 million middle and lower class folks would lose their health insurance.
He is one of the Republican Senators who agreed this fall that there isn’t enough money in the budget to fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Known as CHIP, the program funds health insurance for 8.9 million children in families that can’t afford private health insurance, but are not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid.
Now he is shepherding a bill through the Senate that would provide the wealthy and major corporations and banks with a $150 billion tax cut every year.
Growing up in the middle class doesn’t mean you stay there.