Sometimes a catastrophe takes you by surprise. At other times you can see it coming. The tax plan our U.S. senators are taking up this week, after their Thanksgiving break, is the latter.

Despite the deception and outright lies coming out of Washington, D.C., anyone who is paying attention can see that this tax plan, which was written by and for billionaires, millionaires and the wealthiest corporations, is a catastrophe in the making. It gives huge tax breaks to those who need it least while doing great damage to our economy and to working families – to people like us.

MAINERS LOUD AND CLEAR

Congress has tried, time and again this year, to take away our health care – and the people of Maine have stood strong. Maine’s own U.S. Sen. Susan Collins played a pivotal role in protecting our care. And in Maine, we just had a referendum on Medicaid expansion where voters said, loud and clear, that they want to expand health coverage, not take it away. But the U.S. Senate Republican tax proposal does the opposite. It includes a provision to gut the Affordable Care Act that would leave 13 million Americans without health insurance and raise premiums for those of us who buy our insurance in the individual marketplace.

When Arabica Coffee opened in 1995, we provided health insurance for our employees. The days when we could afford to do that are long gone. Today, we all – owners and employees, both – have to fend for ourselves in the health insurance marketplace. So gutting the ACA, raising premiums and destabilizing the health insurance marketplace that we rely on hits very close to home. This tax plan wasn’t written for us.

NOT HELPING CHILDREN

It also wasn’t written for those of us with children – the moms of Maine and of America – who urgently need quality, affordable child care and a way to put our kids through college. The U.S. Senate tax proposal includes a pathetically weak child tax credit that isn’t even refundable, meaning that those struggling to make ends meet lose out the most. The tax plan passed by the U.S. House of Representatives – and still very much on the table if the Senate bill gets the votes to move forward – kills the student loan interest exemption, pushing higher education out of reach for many working families. This tax plan wasn’t written to help us.

How do we know? Because it permanently lowers the corporate tax rate and doubles the estate tax threshold, so individuals in wealthy families pay no taxes on the first $11 million they inherit – and couples pay no taxes on the first $22 million. It’s pretty clear who this bill was written for!

It certainly wasn’t written for those of us who rely on – or may someday rely on – government services. This bill adds at least $1.5 trillion to the federal deficit by cutting taxes for the richest individuals and corporations. If it takes effect, very soon there simply won’t be enough money to sustain the programs that boost our health care, nutrition, education and economy. If Congress passes this tax plan, then job training, disaster relief, food stamps, Head Start, Medicaid and even Medicare and Social Security will go on the chopping block because the federal deficit will explode.

WE WANT TO TRUST LAWMAKERS

This isn’t what we want to be thinking about this holiday season. We want to be able to trust all our elected representatives and to believe that each and every one of them has our best interests at heart. But the truth is plain to see: This tax bill won’t help small businesses, working families, our economy or the moms of America. It’s for Wall Street executives and real estate moguls. It will hurt the rest of us and hurt our economy while creating a legacy of debt our children will be forced to pay off.

This tax plan is a long con, one that will devastate our country for years to come. Every U.S. senator who cares about her or his constituents must vote “no.”