The tax bill is a bad deal for America
BY DOUGLAS E. SCHOEN
(OPINION FROM "THE HILL" WEBSITE)
While it remains unclear precisely who and how many people will get tax breaks under the Republican tax reform bill, one thing is clear and unambiguous: The bill is a bad deal for American taxpayers. The House’s version of the bill that passed this month is widely perceived to help corporations and the wealthy on the backs of the middle class. Now that the bill is headed to the Senate, there’s an effort amongst all Democrats and even some Republicans to see that it doesn’t get any further.
While there is substantial support for tax reform, the public have hardly embraced the GOP bill with open arms. Quinnipiac University released a poll that showed only 25 percent of Americans approve of the Republican tax overhaul, and 61 percent of voters are under the impression the bill mainly helps the wealthy.
A different survey conducted by the Harvard-Harris Poll shows that 54 percent of respondents oppose the Republican tax bill. Additionally, 54 percent believe that the GOP bill will hurt them financially. Put simply, the bill is a far cry from the 1986 tax reform. That was an example of tax reform done right because it was a bipartisan effort that focused on benefitting American workers.
The proposals made the House and the Senate do not do that. These bills sacrifice benefits to American workers to those of corporations and grow the national debt in favor of giving short term tax deductions. The Republicans want a legislative victory with this bill, but this bill is not what is needed to put more money in people’s pockets, strengthen America’s economy, and keep us competitive on the global stage.
Here is why. Americans will see tax cut in the short term, but for many, this will be short lived. The GOP plan removes the deduction for state and local taxes. For those who live in high tax areas, this can result in much higher taxes that are not offset by the doubled standard deduction. Ultimately, this will double taxes for roughly half of Americans by 2027, according to a new analysis by the bipartisan Tax Policy Center.
This has resulted in backlash even from Republican lawmakers, like New York Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), who has called the increases on high tax states unfair. In addition to this, the bill calls to end the mortgage interest rate deduction, which greatly helps anyone living in high cost cities, which are often in the same places that are losing the deduction for state and local taxes.
The GOP plan also benefits corporations more than the American people. The lower corporate tax rate that is set to be implemented is permanent, while the changes for the American people will only be for 10 years and then would up for renewal. The Senate bill provides more benefits to pass through corporations (like the Trump Organization and other companies run by wealthy owners) than it does to other businesses.
Voters understand this. The Harvard-Harris poll showed that 58 percent of voters believed that the reduction of corporate taxes would help the companies more than the American people. It also found that 57 percent actually opposed slashing the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent, as proposed in the Republican bill.
The GOP legislation also impacts health care. Part of the bill is a provision to remove the individual mandate, which alone has the ability to cause over 10 million Americans to lose their health care. These Americans will no longer be able to afford health care, resulting in them being sick at work, or not being able to make it to work at all. This ultimately slows down the American economy as fewer healthy workers results in slower economic growth.
President Trump said last week, “We’re going to give the American people a huge tax cut for Christmas.” However, most Americans would prefer a lump of coal than a “present” that strips away health care from 10 million Americans and raises taxes for 50 percent of the population is a bad deal for Americans.
America’s economy has been growing since President Trump took office, but the passage of a plan like this could halt the progress. With the potential of a polarizing vote in the Senate on Christmas Eve, the last gift Americans want is in increase of their taxes. Outrage for the tax plan has come from Democrats since the plan was introduced. They’re preparing to fight this bill now and all the way to the polls next year.
That the Democrats are planning to use this bill as a weapon against Republicans going into the 2018 midterm elections was made blatantly clear when House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-N.Y.) decreed, “We will run on tax reform, and we will win on tax reform.” Progressive groups have launched ad campaigns against the plan showing how the plan would harm the middle class, and Democrats across the country are portraying Republicans as abandoning the middle class and pleasing the wealthy by tying the tax bills in with the efforts to repeal ObamaCare.
With their weak legislative record to date, President Trump and the Republican controlled House and Senate need a win here going into the midterm elections. But if the bill fails, Democrats will be able to point to a unified government that has had failed attempts to repeal ObamaCare and cannot pass any meaningful legislation.
Even if the bill does pass, 10 million Americans will be left without health insurance and Democrats across the country will portray Republicans as proponents of a thinly veiled effort to bring large tax breaks to companies, while making it seem as a though it is a good deal for middle class Americans, when it is really a “middle class con job” as Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) has called it. None of this bodes well for Republican candidates.
Douglas E. Schoen (@DouglasESchoen) served as a pollster for President Clinton. A longtime political consultant, he is also a Fox News contributor and the author of 11 books, including “Putin’s Master Plan: To Destroy Europe, Divide NATO, and Restore Russian Power and Global Influence