It's hard to overstate the importance of the tax bill. The federal government is 21 percent of the economy, and this bill fundamentally restructures that sizeable chunk of the economy. The financial fate of the poor and the middle class depends on how that portion of the economy is structured.

The bill is being rammed through with essentially no input from the party that won the popular vote for president by 2.8 million votes and won a clear majority of votes for the House and Senate, only to lose the House because of Republican-concocted gerrymandering. And Democrats would have won even more votes but for Republican-engineered voter suppression.

In other words, the true majority party is being almost completely shut out. No debate, no hearings.

This is new. In the past, both parties have generally been involved in the drafting of bills with such widespread effect. The downward spiral of democracy continues.

But it's worse than that. The very need for the bill, as put forward by its proponents, is a basic, fundamental lie. And that lie is facing little if any challenge from Democrats. Thus half the battle is lost before the first shot is even fired.

Lie No. 1: Almost everyone in both parties says we have the highest corporate tax rate in the world and that we must lower that rate to be competitive. The debate is about how to do it, not whether it's even needed in the first place. Yes, the official rate of 35 percent is high by current world standards. But with loopholes, the effective rate is less than 9 percent, and that is low, or very low, for an industrial country. Lowering our already low rate wouldn't make us more competitive and wouldn't create jobs — it would simply fatten corporate profits.

Lie No. 2: Corporations need this. That's a lie. Corporate profits and the stock market are at all-time highs.

Lie No. 3 is one of omission. What is rarely discussed is that the push to lower corporate taxes is part of a global race to the bottom in which revenue shortfalls caused by lower corporate taxes are filled by individuals — or by cuts to government programs that benefit individuals. To fully understand the tax bill and the motivation behind it, it has to be seen in this context. It's simple: The global race to the bottom, as exemplified by this tax bill, either continues or is stopped, and who better to stop it than the world's biggest economy?

Lie No. 4: Another lie of omission. The tax burden has already been steadily shifting away from corporations and to individuals for decades, with no jobs benefit. In 1945, corporations accounted for 35 percent of federal revenues. That is now 9 percent. The burden borne by individuals has risen from 40 percent to 47 percent. And the portion paid by payroll taxes has skyrocketed from 8 percent to 34 percent. True, corporations pay a large share of payroll taxes, but according to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, corporations often do this by paying lower wages — thus individuals are effectively paying most payroll taxes.

Lie No. 5: The bill will create jobs. In 2003-2004, corporations repatriated offshore profits at reduced rates. This bonanza for the rich was supposed to create jobs — it didn't. The trillion-dollar bank bailout of 2009 was supposed to save mortgages and infuse money into the economy — it didn't. Banks fattened executive bonuses and bought back stock, to no general economic benefit.

Lie No. 6: It's a middle-class tax cut. The corporate tax cut is permanent, while the mixed-bag middle-class tax cuts are temporary. The middle class gets sandbagged down the line. Bruce Poliquin voted for this. His corporate love is eternal — his middle-class love is a one-night stand.

Lie No. 7: Trump says the bill would hurt him personally. But the bill has a special tax cut for golf courses. Seriously. And Trump's heirs could get a $1 billion tax break — while teachers would lose their deduction for school supplies they buy for needy students. Seriously.

We are already seeing the flip side of lowering corporate taxes. The proposed elimination of deductions for state and local taxes, mortgage interest and student loan interest, the gutting of Obamacare that will result in higher premiums for all, and the absolute hammering of students and graduate-school assistants who receive free tuition — a real body blow to an economy already facing a severe shortage of high-skill labor. President Trump decries the importation of high-skill labor, but this bill will make that even more necessary, as our homegrown students are forced to drop out. Instead of working to reduce outrageous college costs, the GOP is raising them.

Even this copious shifting of tax burden fails to pay for the bill's corporate largesse, so $25 billion to $48 billion would be cut from Medicare — from health care for 55 million elderly.

And now the GOP is openly saying it must have something, anything, any kind of legislative victory to show for itself heading into next year's elections. It doesn't matter what is passed — what's important is to pass something, anything. Republicans say this openly, right in front of television cameras.

Clearly this is not about what's best for the country. Twenty-one percent of the economy would be widely restructured with only 24 percent public support, so that one party — the minority party — will have some sort of ragged, tattered "accomplishment" to run on.

Last week Bruce Poliquin did right by his corporate buddies and voted for this train wreck. Now the ball is in the Senate's court, and Susan Collins is a crucial swing vote. Her Washington phone number is: 202-224-2523. One hundred phone calls to Collins could defeat this deceitful, undemocratic, regressive bill that will harm most people and produce no jobs. Be one of those calls.

Lawrence Reichard is a first-place Maine Press Association winner, freelance writer and activist living in Belfast.