Sometimes, even politicians are surprisingly honest. When Republican Representative Chris Collins of New York candidly told reporters his donors were telling him to pass tax reform or “don’t ever call me again,” he provided a rare confirmation of what most Americans already suspected: wealthy donors expect something in return when they make large political contributions.
Senator Collins comment was the first clue of many more to come that donors, rather than the will of the people, directed the Republican’s push for tax reform.
The insight Collins and other similarly frustrated Republicans provided didn’t stop President Trump and Republican leaders from portraying the “The Tax Cut and Jobs Act” as tax reform that will benefit the middle class the most. Trump touted the bill will “deliver more jobs, higher wages and massive tax relief for American families and for American companies.”
Tax Reform Worsens Income Inequality
It’s true the bill provides tax cuts to most of the seven tax brackets. It’s also undeniable the wealthiest Americans will see the largest savings.
According to the Brookings Institute, households earning $25,000 per year will see about $60 in savings. By contrast, Americans who earn $3.4 million will save about $193,000 per year. From these figures, it’s clear the “massive tax relief” President Trump speaks of will be enjoyed by the wealthiest Americans.
That the richest Americans are getting the largest tax breaks isn’t the only way the tax bill contributes to income inequality. If the $1.5 trillion tax cut is paid for by slashing spending on entitlements and welfare, the poor and middle class will be disproportionately affected.
According to CNN, House Speaker Paul Ryan says Republicans plan to pass entitlement reform in 2018 as a way to “tackle the debt and the deficit.” Ryan seemed to specifically target Medicare, calling it the “biggest entitlement that’s got to have reform.”
Not only is the #GOPTaxScam less popular than past tax plans – it’s also less popular than:
– Darth Vader
– Justin Bieber’s “Never Say Never” feature film
– Tom Brady
– Jury duty
– Getting a healthy snack on Halloween
– Candy corn
— End Citizens United (@StopBigMoney) January 12, 2018
America: World Champion of Extreme Poverty
Just as Congress was passing “The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” Philip Alston, rapporteur to the United Nations and an expert on extreme poverty, was wrapping up a fact-finding tour of the United States.
Alston will give the United Nations the final report on his 15-day tour in May. But he hasn’t wasted any time giving reporters a taste of his findings.
According to Alston, the Republican’s tax plan “stakes out America’s bid to become the most unequal society in [the] world.”
Alston also charges, “The persistence of extreme poverty is a political choice made by those in power. With political will, it could readily be eliminated.” Alston cited the abounding wealth in the United States and goes on the say that the “U.S. now has the lowest rate of social mobility of any of the rich countries.”
Tax reform isn’t the only way Trump and Republicans have worsened the country’s income inequality problem. Congress still hasn’t given the Children’s Health Insurance Program, known as CHIP, funding for the coming years. Created in 1997, CHIP covers 9 million children and is just one of the many government programs struggling Americans depend on. Trump’s proposed budget earlier in 2017 cut CHIP by 20 percent.
Currently 41 million Americans, or nearly 13 percent of the population, live in poverty. Thanks to tax reform and the constant Republican threat to programs they rely on, America’s poor will likely be even worse off in 2018 and beyond.
A Bad Plan at a Bad Time
President of the New York Fed, Bill Dudley, summed up the consequences of the Republican’s recent tax reform. He says, “The legislation will increase the nation’s longer-term fiscal burden… which is already facing other pressures, such as higher debt service costs and entitlement spending as the baby-boom generation retires.” In short, tax cuts are a bad plan at a bad time.
On paper, the tax plan will cost $1.46 trillion dollars. It will likely cost more because the individual tax breaks set to expire in 2025 will likely be renewed.
GOP tax reform ignores the most pressing issues facing the country, of which a bulging national debt and an aging population are only two. Also of great concern are the country’s crumbling infrastructure and costly emergency relief efforts due to the record-setting number of natural disasters brought on by climate change.
What Tax Reform Means for 2018 Elections
That the tax reform bill had an approval rating of only 29 percent is indication that Americans are in touch with larger problems facing the nation. Also, the 2016 election brought issues such as income inequality and big money in Washington to the forefront of voters’ minds.
GOP representatives from blue states where high taxes are no longer deductible will have the most difficulty getting reelected. That fact, along with Congress’s low approval rating of only 16 percent, may be the reason 18 GOP members of Congress have announced they will retire rather than seek reelection.
Among those retiring republicans are Representative Darrell Issa of California and Representative Ed Royce, also of California. In all, 37 current Republican members of Congress won’t be on the ballot in 2018.
Click here to learn more about End Citizens United and their mission oust the “Big Money 20” in the 2018 elections.
Big Money’s Role in America’s Deterioration
The GOP’s own admission that passing tax reform benefiting the wealthiest Americans was essential to retaining big money donors illustrates the disastrous effects of the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizen’s United v. F.E.C.
The “Tax Cut and Jobs Act” underscores the gravity of Big Money in politics made possible through the Citizen’s United decision. By Representative Chris Collins’ own admission, donors are driving legislation. Billionaire donors are getting beneficial bills detrimental to the rest of the nation.
The political action committee End Citizens United was established in 2015 to end Big Money in Politics. With that goal in mind, End Citizens United named 20 Republican Congressional members who have put Big Money ahead of their constituents. The PAC has pledged to spend $35 million to oust these “worst of the worst.”
End Citizens United is committed to electing candidates who support campaign finance reform and raising national awareness of the issue of money in politics.