- TALKING POINTS
- MEDIA MEMO/KEY FACTS
- SAMPLE OP-ED
- SAMPLE LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
- TAX DAY DIGITAL DAY OF ACTION TOOLKIT (Separate document; still being compiled)
- COMPILATION OF MEDIA STORIES ABOUT ECONOMIC EFFECTS OF TRUMP-GOP TAX CUTS (Separate document)
- POLLING DATA
- ALG Poll for Tax March & Americans for Tax Fairness, March 2019
- Polling Memo
- Poll Questions/Toplines
- Compilation of recent polls
TAX DAY 2019 TALKING POINTS
- This Tax Day working families are paying their fair share of taxes, but the same can’t be said of the wealthy and big corporations. The Trump-GOP tax cuts that cost nearly $2 trillion are mostly benefiting the rich at the expense of the rest of us. President Trump and Republicans in Congress now want to pay for the increased debt caused by their tax giveaways by cutting Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, education and more services millions of us depend on every day.
- We need to repeal the Trump-GOP tax cuts that benefit the wealthy and corporations so that they start to pay their fair share of taxes like the rest of us. A fairer tax system contributes to an economy that works for all of us, not just the wealthy few. By raising trillions of dollars in taxes from the rich and corporations we can protect Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security and invest in priorities that matter to working families like improving education, lowering healthcare costs, making child care and housing affordable, repairing roads and bridges and protecting our environment.
ADDITIONAL TALKING POINTS & FACTS
- The Trump-GOP tax breaks cost $2 trillion and went mostly to the rich & big corporations.
- At a time of staggering wealth inequality, the rich don’t need another tax cut. Just three men—Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates—together are worth as much as the whole bottom half of society (165 million people).
- Corporations were the biggest winners from the Trump-GOP tax cuts. Their tax rate on domestic profits was cut by 40%—from 35% to 21%—and the tax rate on offshore profits is half of that—creating big incentives to shift jobs and profits offshore.
- Trump’s new budget cuts trillion of dollars from Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, education and more to pay for his $2 trillion tax cut for the rich. Amazingly, Trump’s new budget also gives another $1 trillion tax cut mostly to the wealthy, slashing services even more to pay for it.
- Trump’s budget cuts $1.4 trillion from Medicare and Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to pay for tax breaks for the rich and Wall Street—hurting seniors, families, children and people with disabilities.
- Trump’s new budget repeals the Affordable Care Act, which will take healthcare away from 20 million Americans. It will also take away the protections for 130 million people with pre-existing medical conditions who would pay more or not be able to afford insurance without the ACA. Repealing the ACA will also give $600 billion in new tax cuts to drug companies, health insurers and the wealthy.
- President Trump promised that corporations would use their tax cuts to give working families a $4,000 pay raise. Instead, corporations are making record profits thanks to their huge tax cuts but are giving almost nothing to their workers. Instead, they are distributing their tax cuts to wealthy CEOs and shareholders.
- Only 4.3% of workers have received a bonus or raise as a result of the Trump-GOP tax cuts. Instead, corporations used their tax cuts to buy back $1 trillion of their own stock last year. This jacks up stock prices, which mainly benefits the rich who own most stock.
- Major U.S. banks shaved about $21 billion from their tax bills last year.
- Amazon made $11 billion in profits last year but paid no federal income taxes.
- Drug companies have made billions in profits thanks to billions in tax breaks, but they haven’t stopped increasing prices on medicines that millions depend on to stay alive.
- We need to create a fair tax system that makes the rich and corporations pay their fair share of taxes, like the rest of us. This starts by repealing the Trump-GOP tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations. We also need to close the many tax loopholes that force the rest of us to pick up the tab, even as the rich get richer. These steps would raise trillions of dollars to protect critical services like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act. It would also help us make major new investments in education, housing, roads and bridges, child care, renewable energy and the environment, and more. This is how we begin to create an economy that works for all of us, not just the wealthy few.
POLLING AND MESSAGING
In March 2019, ALG Research conducted a poll (poll questions here) for Tax March and Americans for Tax Fairness to gauge the publics’ views about taxing the wealthy. Its top message findings below were very consistent with previous polls conducted for the two groups:
[FAIR SHARE] The rich take advantage of many tax loopholes, leaving the rest of us to pick up the tab, even as they’ve gotten richer. We need to raise taxes on the rich so they pay their fair share, and make our tax system fairer for working families.
[MEDICARE/SOCIAL SECURITY] The recent tax cuts for the rich increased the debt by nearly 2 trillion dollars and put funding for Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security at risk. We need to raise taxes on the rich to make sure these programs are protected.
[INVEST IN PRIORITIES] Raising taxes on the rich will allow us to invest in key priorities such as improving education, lowering healthcare costs and repairing and upgrading our infrastructure, such as our crumbling roads, bridges and tunnels.
Two Key Questions from the Poll:
- Question 33K: 80% (57% strongly) support raising taxes on the richest 1% to raise trillions of dollars to help address the country’s top priorities.
- Question 33I: 62% (44% strongly) supported repealing the Trump tax cuts that benefit the rich and corporations.
MEDIA BRIEFING MEMO
To: Reporters, Editors and Columnists
From: Frank Clemente, Executive Director, Americans for Tax Fairness
Date: April 9, 2019
WHY THE WEALTHY ARE HAVING A BETTER TAX DAY THAN MOST AMERICANS
New Polling Shows Voters Believe Trump-GOP Tax Cuts Skewed to Wealthy & Corporations, Threaten Services
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Tax returns due April 15 are the first to be filed under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), which became law about 16 months ago. Recent polls continue to show that the law is opposed by more Americans than favored, most likely because it has failed to live up to the many claims President Trump and GOP lawmakers made to get it passed.
The public is aware that most of the tax cuts favored the wealthy and corporations. They were not paid for through increased economic activity but instead ballooned the federal debt. To cover their nearly $2 trillion cost, which includes the $1.5 trillion tax cut plus interest costs on the debt, President Trump and GOP lawmakers are threatening massive cuts to critical services, including Medicare, Medicaid, education and more. Moreover, the tax cuts did not result in corporations giving working families a $4,000 raise, as promised.
This Tax Day, we urge you to take stock of the TCJA’s impact and write an editorial or column explaining it to your readers and urging Congress to go in a new direction by repealing the parts of the tax law that benefit the richest Americans and corporations and closing long-standing and expensive tax loopholes, which could raise trillions of dollars for critical new investments.
TRUMP’S TAX CUTS ARE SKEWED TO WEALTHY & CORPORATIONS; BENEFIT FEW WORKERS
- The TCJA was estimated to give the richest 1% about 21% of the tax cuts in 2018, an average tax cut of $51,000 per the Tax Policy Center. Their share grows to 83% in 2026, once some of the law’s tax cuts expire. The tax cuts were even bigger for the country’s 400 richest people who collectively own $2.9 trillion—as much as the bottom two-thirds of Americans, or about 220 million people. Just three men—Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates—are together worth as much as the whole bottom half of society, or about 165 million people.
- The law’s main focus was cutting corporate taxes. The corporate tax rate on domestic profits was cut by 40%—from 35% to 21%, and the rate on offshore profits is half of that. This change alone cost $1.3 trillion per the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT).
- The corporate tax cuts show no sign of paying for themselves, as the Trump administration claimed they would. Corporate tax revenue dropped by about a third ($92 billion) from $286 billion in 2017—before the TCJA—to $194 billion in 2018, according to the Treasury Department. At the same time corporate profits soared: after-tax profits increased 16.2% in 2018 compared with 2017, rising from $1.75 trillion to $2.03 trillion, per Bureau of Economic Analysis data. Bloomberg reports that “[m]ajor U.S. banks shaved about $21 billion from their tax bills last year.” Amazon made $11 billion in 2018 but paid no federal income taxes.
- Contrary to the president’s promise that corporations would use their tax cut to give working families a $4,000 pay hike, only 4.3% of workers have received a bonus or raise as a result of the TCJA. Instead, corporations used their tax cuts to buy back $1 trillion of their own stock last year. This jacks up stock prices, which mostly benefits the richest 1%, including CEOs, who own 40% of corporate stock and the richest 10% who own 84%.
- The tax cuts have had no major impact on business investment. After an initial jump in business spending following passage of the TCJA, business investment has slowed a lot and is following the trend in 2017 before the TCJA became law.
THE TAX CUTS HAVE BALLOONED THE DEFICIT AND THREATEN CUTS TO KEY SERVICES
- The national debt is projected to increase by $1.9 trillion over 10 years due to the Trump-GOP tax cuts, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Trump’s 2020 budget doubles down on his tax cuts, giving away another $1.1 trillion to individuals by making the TCJA tax cuts permanent, again favoring the wealthy.
- Trump’s 2020 budget proposes at least $2.5 trillion in cuts to critical services that benefit working families to reduce the debt caused by the tax cuts. Trump proposed cuts to healthcare, education, housing, nutrition, Social Security disability benefits, college aid, environmental protection and many more services working families need.
- Trump proposes to cut $1.4 trillion from Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to pay for his tax cuts—hurting seniors, families, children and people with disabilities. About $600 billion would be cut from Medicare and $777 billion cut from Medicaid and the ACA.
- Trump’s budget repeals the ACA, which would give huge tax breaks to the wealthy and corporations. It will also take healthcare away from 20 million Americans and take away the protections for 130 million people with pre-existing medical conditions who would pay more or not be able to afford insurance without the ACA. Repeal would also result in a $600 billion tax break for the rich and healthcare companies; those taxes help pay for the ACA’s expansion of coverage and insurance subsidies.
VOTERS OPPOSE THE TAX CUT LAW, BELIEVE OUR TAX SYSTEM IS UNFAIR
- A March Pew Research Center poll found that 49% disapprove of the TCJA, with only 36% approving. It also found that more than 80% are bothered “some” or “a lot” by wealthy people and corporations not paying their fair share.
- A March Fox News poll found that voters’ top tax concern is that the rich are not paying enough (34%). Lesser concerns were the way the government spends the money (28%), and “too many people don’t have to pay taxes” (12%).
- A March poll by ALG Research for Tax March and Americans for Tax Fairness found that nearly two-thirds (62%) of voters support repealing the Trump tax cuts, including 39% of Republicans and a third of voters who approve of Trump’s job performance. [Q. 33I] The same poll also found that 80% (57% strongly) support raising taxes on the richest 1% to raise trillions of dollars to help address the country’s top priorities. [Q. 33G]
This compilation of polls shows many other similar findings.
Given all of the above, we ask that you urge Congress to reverse course this Tax Day and begin the process of amending or repealing those TCJA tax breaks that benefit the wealthiest Americans, businesses and corporations, and close numerous long-standing and expensive tax loopholes that were never touched by the TCJA.
This would create a tax system where the wealthy and corporations pay their fair share—something that polling shows the American people strongly support—and it could raise trillions of dollars. That revenue is needed to address critical needs—expanding access to affordable healthcare, repairing roads and bridges, improving education, making child care and housing affordable, and addressing climate change.
For further information contact Dennis Bailey, communications director, at email@example.com.
SAMPLE 2019 TAX DAY OP-ED
NOTE: Please use this op-ed as a model for the types of information and messages to consider communicating this Tax Day. Please do not copy the passages in this model op-ed into your own. That is a good way to have your op-ed rejected, as the media has tools to determine if text in your op-ed has been used elsewhere. Instead, use this language as a guide for what to write in your own words.
This model op-ed is about 660 words long. Many newspapers will take an op-ed up to 750 words long.
Tax returns due April 15 are the first filed under the new tax law President Trump and the GOP enacted some 16 months ago. That makes Tax Day 2019 a good time to judge whether they made our tax code fairer. Sadly, the answer is no: the tax code, which was already slanted towards the wealthy and big corporations and against working families, was made worse.
The Trump-GOP tax law mostly benefits the rich and corporations and will balloon the nation’s debt by almost $2 trillion. President Trump and GOP leaders in Congress want to cover that huge shortfall with cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, education, housing and other vital public services.
This cruel one-two punch—tax cuts favoring the wealthy and service cuts for everyone else—will clobber working families. Congress should repeal those Trump-GOP tax cuts benefiting the wealthy and corporations and invest in America’s future instead. That means protecting existing services like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid but also making new investments in public education, helping working families afford healthcare and housing, rebuilding roads and bridges, and a bold response to planet-threatening climate change.
President Trump needs to hear that message. In his recently released budget, he proposes cutting $1.4 trillion from Medicare, Medicaid and other healthcare services while calling for another $1 trillion in tax cuts mostly benefiting the wealthy.
Trump’s budget would also repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), depriving 20 million Americans of their healthcare and taking away the protections for 130 million people with pre-existing medical conditions who would pay more or not be able to afford insurance without the ACA. Also outrageous, ACA repeal would give $600 billion in tax cuts to health insurers, drug companies and wealthy families—revenue that finances the expanded health coverage.
America’s working families won’t let Republicans take their healthcare away. And they certainly aren’t buying another tax cut favoring the rich, not after all the promises made about the first one fell flat.
Republicans said their tax cut would “pay for itself” through greater economic growth. Last year the federal deficit soared, thanks in good part to a huge drop in corporate tax receipts after the corporate tax rate was slashed by 40%. That higher deficit is the excuse Republicans use to starve public services and investments.
Trump guaranteed his corporate tax giveaway would result in a $4,000 raise for every working family. So far, according to a tally by Americans for Tax Fairness, only 4.3% of American workers have gotten any kind of pay bump tied to the tax cut, most of them modest one-time bonuses.
The GOP claimed the corporate tax cut would spur massive investment in this country and stop the outsourcing of jobs. There’s been no lasting increase in investment and Trump’s own budget effectively admits his 2017 tax cuts won’t deliver the economic growth he promised.
What’s more, the tax law actually provides new incentives for companies to shift profits offshore and outsource jobs by charging one-half the corporate tax rate on foreign earnings and further cutting taxes for American companies that build factories overseas.
Instead of sharing tax cuts with their workers or investing them in their operations, corporations have predictably passed them along to their CEOs and wealthy shareholders through stock buybacks and higher dividends. Since the Trump-GOP tax law was enacted, Corporate America has announced over $1 trillion in stock buybacks, which jack up stock prices. The richest 10% of Americans own 84% of all stock.
This Tax Day, as working families pay their fair share, they’re demanding fair taxes now. For starters, Congress should repeal the special breaks for the rich and corporations in the Trump-GOP tax law. Then it should close all the other loopholes for the wealthy and well-connected that were already in our tax code. We can use the trillions of dollars these reforms would free up to invest in families, local communities and an economy that works for everyone, not just the wealthy few.
TAX DAY 2019 SAMPLE LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Tax Day 2019 is the deadline for the first tax returns prepared under the new rules of the Trump-GOP tax law. It provides a good opportunity to explain the many problems with the law, how it’s threatening key services working families depend on and how to create a fair tax system moving forward.
The sample Letters to the Editor below contain the key points we suggest using. But please write a letter in your own words; don’t use the sample letters verbatim and insert relevant details about your story. Newspapers often search for key words to determine if the author has used text used by others.
Most papers have a form on their website for submitting letters, or instructions on how to send them with your full name, address and daytime phone number.
The sample LTEs do not include sources that link to the facts. Should your local newspaper request sources, you can find them in one of the links below.
- The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act gives huge tax cuts mostly to the wealthy and big corporations and will add $2 trillion to the national debt.
- To cover the cost of the tax cuts, Trump’s budget would cut about $2.5 trillion from Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security disability benefits, education and more.
- Trump proposes to cut $1.4 trillion from Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to pay for his tax cuts. $600 billion cut from Medicare and $777 billion cut from Medicaid and the ACA.
- Trump’s budget will take healthcare away from 20 million Americans and take away the protections for 130 million people with pre-existing medical conditions who would pay more or not be able to afford insurance without the ACA.
- By repealing the ACA, Trump’s budget also includes a $600 billion tax cut for the wealthy, drug companies and health insurers.
- The $4,000 pay raise that Trump promised corporations would give working families as a result of the tax cuts never came true. Only 4% of workers got a raise from the tax cuts.
- Trump’s new 2020 budget includes another $1 trillion tax cut for the wealthy.
HEALTHCARE & TAXES
President Trump and Republicans in Congress want to repeal the Affordable Care Act, leaving 20 million without healthcare coverage. This will also take away the protections for 130 million people with pre-existing medical conditions who would pay more or not be able to afford insurance without the ACA.
The President’s budget also calls for $1.4 trillion in cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act. These cuts make no sense, until you realize that the GOP wants these cuts in healthcare services to make up for the trillions in tax breaks they’ve given away mostly to the wealthy and big corporations.
Among those getting the biggest tax cuts are the giant prescription drug companies. These are the same companies who have been gouging us on medicine for years. Instead of lowering the cost of prescriptions, the drug companies lined the pockets of rich CEOs and Wall Street investors with our tax money thanks to the new Trump-GOP tax law.
The rich and big corporations need to start paying their fair share of taxes. If they did, Medicare and Medicaid would be protected, and we could make major new investments to make healthcare affordable for everyone.
The cost of my prescription drugs keeps going up. So do my insurance premiums and copays. So, when I read that President Trump’s new budget gives another $1 trillion tax break to the wealthy and his plan to repeal Obamacare would give a $600 billion tax cut to the rich, drug companies and health insurers, I felt my blood pressure rising. But it gets worse.
This new tax cut is on top of $2 trillion cost of the Trump-GOP tax law from 2017, mainly benefitted the rich and corporations. He wants to pay for both tax cuts by cutting Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, food stamps and other vital services. That’s not right.
Everyone should pay their fair share of taxes. But our tax system favors the wealthy and big corporations over average working people. If we are going to have the funds needed to provide affordable healthcare to everyone, improve education, strengthen Social Security and rebuild roads and bridges, the wealthy and corporations need to pay their fair share.
Why does President Trump’s proposed budget repeal the Affordable Care Act and make cuts to Medicaid, Social Security and other services? Because his big tax cut last year that mostly benefits the wealthy and corporations cost taxpayers nearly $2 trillion and now, he wants to pay for it with our benefits.
That means the rich and drug companies and health insurers are making out great this Tax Day. The rest of us, not so much.
The tax cuts haven’t lived up to all the promises Trump and other Republicans made. They haven’t paid for themselves. They haven’t upped wages—did you get that $4,000 raise from your employer that we were guaranteed? But they did fatten the wallets of the already wealthy, and further enrich Wall Street–especially the healthcare industry.
And now President Trump has proposed a budget that cuts $1.4 trillion from Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act. In fact, he repeals the ACA. When it comes to tax cuts for the rich and corporations this White House has no problem. When it comes to healthcare for the rest of us, forget it.
TAXES AND TRUMP’S BUDGET
As I was filing my taxes this year, I was reminded that this was supposed to be a happy day. My taxes were supposed to be a lot lower this year due to the big Trump-GOP tax cuts, but they weren’t. I bet it was a different story for the rich and the big corporations that made out like bandits.
Meanwhile, I read in the newspaper that Trump’s 2020 budget wants to repeal Obamacare, cut Medicare and Medicaid, cut some Social Security benefits, education, environmental protection and on and on.
Why all the cuts? Because those big tax handouts he gave to the wealthy and big corporations aren’t cheap. They cost nearly $2 trillion – with a T. I guess someone’s got to pay for them, and that someone is you and me.
Congress needs to repeal the Trump tax cuts that benefit the rich and corporations and make them pay their fair share. I’m calling on Congressman/Congresswoman to lead the charge.
As I was calculating my taxes this year, I did some other calculations. Those big tax cuts that Congress approved in late 2017 will cost the government about $2 trillion. Coincidentally, President Trump’s 2020 budget includes about $2.5 trillion in cuts to basic services like Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, education and more.
That’s how the president plans to pay for those expensive tax cuts that mostly benefited the wealthy and big corporations – by gutting essential services that a lot of elderly and working people rely on. Does this strike you as fair?
Obviously, those tax cuts didn’t “pay for themselves,” as Trump’s people promised. Corporations didn’t give their workers that $4,000 raise Trump promised or increase investment. Instead, the tax cuts threaten health care coverage and other vital public services for millions of Americans.
This is not only unfair, it’s insane. We clearly need a new approach and a new tax system that makes sure everyone pays their fair share, including the wealthy and corporations. Then we can protect existing services and make needed new investments in the future.
It’s Tax Day and time to assess how the tax cut law passed by Trump and the Republicans in Congress has helped or hurt us. My big concern is it will cost $2 trillion and is giving most of the tax breaks to the rich and big corporations. To make up the difference, President Trump’s new budget has proposed cutting trillions of dollars from Medicare, Medicaid, education and more.
And his new budget calls for another $1 trillion in tax cuts, mostly for the well-off. It would also repeal the Affordable Care Act, which will hand $600 billion in tax cuts to prescription drug companies, health insurers and the wealthy.
If we had a tax system that made the rich and corporations pay their fair share, we could make health care more affordable, improve education, provide affordable housing, rebuild roads and bridges and more. I say no to President Trump’s budget cuts and yes to repealing the Trump-GOP tax cuts that benefit the rich and corporations. And that’s just a start. There are lots of other tax loopholes for the rich costing us trillions of dollars a year that need to be closed.
Nobody loves Tax Day. But what makes it doubly infuriating is knowing that even as I pay my fair share of taxes to the IRS this year, the wealthy and big corporations won’t be. They got huge tax cuts last year from President Trump and Republicans in Congress. And now, Trump in his new budget is proposing another $1 trillion tax cut. Again, mostly for the wealthy.
How do they intend to pay for these massive tax giveaways to the rich? Trump’s budget proposes cutting trillions from Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, education and other essential services. We’re not supposed to mind paying for rich peoples’ tax cuts with funding cuts to critical services because the benefits of the tax cuts are supposed to “trickle down.” Well, working people are still waiting for something to trickle down.
We could strengthen our country by investing in education, housing, infrastructure, as well as protecting Medicare and Social Security, if we make sure the wealthy and corporations pay their fair share of taxes. It’s not money we lack, it’s political will.
WORKERS’ WAGES & CORPORATE TAXES
Paying taxes is an annual duty, but this year’s Tax Day is cause for celebration—if you’re a corporate CEO or similarly very rich. That’s because the wealthy and corporations benefitted the most from the Trump-GOP tax cuts, which took effect last year.
Workers were promised a $4,000 raise from the big corporate tax cut Republicans enacted in late 2017. Instead, corporations that got trillions in tax cuts gave most of it to their wealthy shareholders and CEOs.
We were conned. I’m fine with paying my fair share of taxes, but when will the wealthy and big corporations pay theirs?
Now that it’s Tax Day I’m remembering that President Trump and the Republicans promised that corporations would use their big tax cuts to give every family a $4,000 raise. Well where is it? I’m sure the big corporations are celebrating because they’re profits are way up because they got the lion’s share of the tax cuts. But instead of using their refunds to give workers a raise, they spent it on buying back their own stock. This jacks up the share price, meaning rich COEs and corporate shareholders got even richer.
Meanwhile the president’s latest budget calls for big cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and other critical services. They have to pay for those $2 trillion in tax cuts somehow. I’m tired of working families are picking up the tab for the well-off: and getting no relief from higher healthcare costs and other necessities. Isn’t it time to make the wealthy and big corporations pay their fair share?
On Tax Day 2019, it’s clear everything the critics warned us about the Trump-GOP tax cuts has come true.
The tax cuts that were supposed to help the middle class and give every family a $4,000 raise have mostly rewarded the very rich and big corporations. According to Americans for Tax Fairness, just 4% of workers got a raise as a result of the tax cuts. 4%! That means the other 96% of workers are still waiting.
Meanwhile, the cost of the tax cuts – around $2 trillion – has exploded the national debt. To pay for that, President Trump’s new budget proposes to make huge cuts to essential services, like Medicare, Medicaid, education and Social Security disability insurance.
The tax cuts for the wealthy and big corporations were unfair. Making regular people pay for them by cutting their earned benefits and other services is a disgrace.