Our American democracy — that is, our representative society — means to most that those elected to office will serve those who elected to them, not just those who got them elected.
It also means that important issues in America society, like taxes, should be carefully presented and considered. They should be debated, deliberated, explained, and revised as necessary. Something as important as taxes should aim at bipartisan consideration and should certainly factor public opinion.
Unfortunately, none of those things mattered to congressional Republicans, who quickly passed, along party lines, a bill that wasn’t debated, a bill they knew little about, and a bill that ignored public opinion. The unpopular $1.5 trillion tax bill (a Harvard CAPS-Harris survey found 64 percent opposed the bill) provides big tax breaks to corporations and the wealthy.
The average tax cuts in 2018, according to the Tax Policy Center, look like this:
• Households making less than $25,000: $60.
• Middle class households: $900.
• Top one percent: $51,000.
• For corporations, the tax rate will decline from 35 percent to 21 percent.
Of course, these are just averages and will differ by individual and entity.
Considering that the country is already $20 trillion in debt, Republicans have forever given up their ability to complain about the national debt, as this bill may add another trillion (what happened to the Tea Party anyway?). It may also threaten Medicare and Social Security.
For individuals, the cut for middle and lower class households basically adds up to a bribe for large tax breaks on the wealthy. Many social media comments include those who say they are happy as long as the bill reduces their own taxes. But it is a matter of perspective — $60 is a couple tanks of gas, $900 is a set of tires, but $51,000 is a small house, a modest Jaguar, or a decent boat. Of course, $51,000 over 10 years is $500,000 and the possibilities are nearly endless. As a member of the middle class — you’re welcome!
The biggest fallacy is that the reduction in corporate tax rates will lead to more jobs and higher wages. Taxes are an expense, and when you reduce expenses, you increase profits. Corporate executives and shareholders seem to have an affinity for profits and bonuses, dividends, and higher stock prices. After outsourcing production, busting unions, and increasing corporate welfare, reducing taxes are all that remains. Sure, it could lead to investment and innovation (hopefully not machines that replaces workers), but this is about greed and political influence. If the corporate tax cut is so good for the American workers, why not include an increase in the minimum wage? It’s trickle down and it hasn’t worked — it doesn’t work.
Of course, President Donald Trump, fresh off of his second Politifact “Lie of the Year” Award, is as boisterous as ever, claiming this is a “middle class miracle” and that it essentially repeals Obamacare. It isn’t and it doesn’t.
In fact, economist Robert Reich called it “unbridled greed, utter disdain for the rest of America, and a cynical assumption they can get away with anything by repeatedly lying through their teeth.”
Goodbye democracy, welcome oligarchy.
Rob Swindell is a lifelong Lorain County resident offering his opinions on politics, science, and social issues. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.