Wow! They said the positive effects of the tax overhaul would be felt right away by the little people, like you and me. And they were right!

In Chicago where I live, the utility monopoly Commonwealth Edison issued a press release January 5 announcing that because the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act reduced the corporate tax rate from 36 to 21 percent, they plan to pass along $200 million in tax savings to customers.

Wow again! That’s a lot of cash! That’s means that the monthly bill of the average ComEd customer will be a whole $2 to $3 less, according to the press release.

The monthly bill of the average ComEd customer will be a whole $2 to $3 less

In an attempt to fully comprehend the magnitude of this windfall, I thought in terms of things I regularly purchase. For instance, let’s say my ComEd bill turns out to be $2.50 less a month. When viewed in terms of dog food, that’s pretty underwhelming. The dog food I buy typically costs $1.50 per can. My utility savings would only increase my dog food purchasing power by 1.5 cans. And you can’t buy .5 of a can.

But when viewed in terms of Trader Joe’s bananas, it’s a different story. A banana at my local Trader Joe’s costs 19 cents. So, thanks to the generosity of Edison and the Republicans, I can buy an extra dozen bananas a month (allowing some wiggle room for sales tax). Hell, with my newfound largess, I may even decide to splurge and buy organic bananas. Those cost 25 cents each at Trader Joe’s, so I’d only be able to buy 9.5 extra bananas a month. But you can’t put a price on good health, am I right?

Or I could blow my $2.50 on four organic and 6.5 or so regular bananas. Or I could buy a can of dog food and five regular bananas. The array of possible permutations is dazzling!

I must emphasize, however, that in order to experience the full thrill of this tax cut, I must buy my bananas at Trader Joe’s. A lone banana at the 7-11 down the block costs 69 cents. At the Starbucks across the street, a banana sells for $1.12.

But, regardless of where I shop, bringing home extra groceries for the same price feels good. It’s like getting away with shoplifting.

Of course, the big question is: Will this change my values? Because that’s what this tax cut stuff is all about for the little people. You and I our supposed to say to ourselves, “Geez, look at all these extra bananas! From now on, I’m voting Republican!”

“Geez, look at all these extra bananas! From now on, I’m voting Republican!”

When Ronald Reagan ran for re-election in 1984, he told voters to ask themselves if they were better off than they were four years ago.

Well, all I know is that, compared to even one year ago, I’m a dozen regular Trader Joe’s bananas a month better off.

Mike Ervin is a writer and disability rights activist living in Chicago. He blogs at Smart Ass Cripple, “expressing pain through sarcasm since 2010.”



USA News


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