I know that we are all preparing and celebrating the holidays of this season, and that is a good thing.
However, we still need to face the vote that is likely to happen this week regarding tax reform and why this particular bill is bad for us.
Did I say it was bad for us? Yes. Yes, I did.
The president calls it the greatest Christmas present we could have. He's wrong.
First, this cuts taxes on corporations by a huge amount, and offers little to balance out the loss of income. Inevitably this will mean cutting programs that are necessary for the health of the people of this nation. Already this congress has not reinstated the CHP program that allows children to have have health coverage and therefore keeps them healthy and alive. What further cuts are coming? I will be honest, I am all for going through each program that the federal government spends on, analyzing its worth, and redetermining funding for it depending on what it achieves. That's just a responsible thing to do. I am not for doing that simply on the basis of cutting what are termed as "entitlements," as that isn't a fair way of doing things. The government has a mandate to provide for the general welfare of the people, and should not be hampered from doing so.
Second, the bill still has a provision to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling, which is not needed and by no means should be encouraged. It destroys a valuable ecosystem, a whole people's way of life, and encourages climate change by encouraging use of fossil fuels. We should be investing in renewable energy sources, not doubling down on an energy source that will eventually run out and the use of which is more harmful than good for us.
Third, and in tandem with the first point, this is a return to the "trickle down theory" of economics, which time and again has proven not to work. Most recently Kansas attempted this to save their state economy. It backfired. Jobs were not created. Growth was not achieved. Their economy went further down the tubes. Corporations don't create jobs just because they have extra money to spend. They give it to their investors, who either hoard it or only spend a little on their own happiness. While some of that spending may mean a few people get paid for a few goods and services, the bulk of the money remains in the wealthy person's pocket. Corporations create jobs depending on increased demands for their goods and services, and that increased demand can only occur if a larger amount of people have money to spend. That larger amount of people will always be the middle class, who are mostly not wealthy investors. Far better to look at ways to create jobs, get money into the hands of those that are not wealthy, and get the economy going strong from the bottom, the foundation, up.
Fourth, and I'll make this last despite there being a lot more to go on about, the way it handles the standard deductions and exemptions is likely to raise your personal taxes while seeming like it cuts them. Buyer beware.
In the interests of being fair, I must point out that the current version of the bill did get rid of some provisions that were heinous or simply unnecessary, namely it does not count the tuition waived for grad students as income, which would have been a huge blow to higher education since it would reduce the number of students. It does not simply get rid of the state and local tax deductions, although it does limit them considerably. It also does not have the provision to set up accounts for unborn children that was obviously there to please the anti-abortion community.
I think tax reform can be a good thing, just not the way this current bill deals with it, and not handled in the manner that this congress has handled it. This is a delicate and complicated task that needs the right amount of time to research it, analyze it, and come up with a solution that we can all agree on. It should only deal with taxes, and not any other issue. It should have input from us all so that we can see the long term impacts and come up with something that may actually benefit everyone. This bill still benefits a very small group of people who happen to be quite well off. It does not benefit the middle class in any meaningful way, and in the long term may harm our nation's economy. If the president and congress were serious about tax reform, they wouldn't try to package it behind closed doors and then force it upon us within a week's, or even month's, time.
They could take most of the year to work on it meaningfully, with a bipartisan approach, and could have something that would work for us all. They didn't, and we may suffer for it.