Coal Miners get Shaft from Trump

July 24, 2019

Most unsurprising development this week.

Reuters:

A group of coal miners afflicted with black lung disease met with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday as part of an effort to convince lawmakers to restore a higher excise tax on coal companies to help fund their medical care, but several said the meeting left them discouraged. 

McConnell, the Republican leader who represents Kentucky – one of the states that has seen a rebound in the progressive respiratory illness – told them their benefits would be safe but gave no assurances about the excise tax and left without answering questions or offering details, several of the miners who attended the meeting said. 

“We rode up here for 10 hours by bus to get some answers from him because he represents our state,” said George Massey, a miner from Harlan County, Kentucky who spent two decades in the mines and is on disability. “For him to come in for just two minutes was a low-down shame.”

David Mullins, who worked in coal mines for 34 years and is currently battling an advanced stage of black lung disease, said he was also frustrated. “It’s time to act,” he said, while wearing a “Black Lung Kills” T-shirt and using an oxygen tank. 

Coal companies had been required to pay a $1.10 per ton tax on underground coal to finance the federal Black Lung Disability Trust Fund, which supports disabled miners whose employers go bankrupt and can no longer pay out medical benefits. But the amount reverted to the 1977 level of 55 cents this year after Congress declined to take action to maintain the rate. 

The coal industry had lobbied hard to allow the tax to drop as scheduled, despite a government report saying the fund was in dire financial straits, arguing the companies were already facing economic pain and that benefits for afflicted miners would not be affected.

4 Responses to “Coal Miners get Shaft from Trump”

  1. David Tyler Says:

    The majority of these people voted for McConnell. They may not have known about Trump, but McConnell has been screwing them for years. Now that they finally noticed it is too late.


  2. Reblogged this on The Most Revolutionary Act and commented:
    Coal companies had been required to pay a $1.10 per ton tax on underground coal to finance the federal Black Lung Disability Trust Fund, which supports disabled miners whose employers go bankrupt and can no longer pay out medical benefits. But the amount reverted to the 1977 level of 55 cents this year after Congress declined to take action to maintain the rate.

    • J4Zonian Says:

      This would be disgraceful conduct for any government, but for one that’s made so much mileage in elections trumpeting fossil fuels, glorifying their great contribution to our great civilization, exploiting miners and bigmanlymachine bias, saving coal and all that, it’s inexcusable. Yet another criminal act by people who should be barricaded in their houses so they can do less damage, impeached and prosecuted, and sent to live out their lives in abandoned Japanese internment camps. In addition to deepening, broadening and specifying crimes against humanity and nature regarding climate-wrecking, we need to set up a climate truth and reconciliation process so we can at least subject coal and oil executives to asset forfeiture and find out about the details of the conspiracy from the insiders without waterboarding.

      • dumboldguy Says:

        You’re over-revving with the rhetoric again, Jeffy.

        This is just another example of how the 1% views the 99% as a commodity to be used up and thrown away when it no longer yields a profit. Miners, factory workers, farm workers—all pay the price along with those in communities whose soil, water, and air is contaminated.

        For those who haven’t read it, Muscle and Blood: The Massive, Hidden Agony of Industrial Slaughter in America, by Rachel Scott, is an award winning work from 1975 that is just as current today.


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