The GOP Tax Scam
The massive tax giveaway just passed by the Republican-controlled Congress is a broken promise of historic magnititude.
Broken Promise #1: Americans were promised, "a simpler, fairer tax code." Yet, the tax bill relies on a series of gimmicks and expiring provisions that will undoubtedly complicate tax filing for millions of American households for years to come.
Broken Promise #2: Americans were promised the tax plan would provide economic relief to our nation's middle-class. Instead, millions of middle-class Americans will see their taxes increase immediately. And once the gimmicks expire in 2027, every income below $75,000 will see their taxes increase.
Broken Promise #3: Americans were promised there would be "no absolute tax cut for the upper class." Yet, the non-partisan Tax Policy Center found that the top 1% of earners will enjoy 83% of the tax benefits of this legislation.
Broken Promise #4: Americans were promised the tax cuts will pay for themselves. Yet, nearly every independent analysis of the bill has confimed this plan will explode our nation's deficit by over one trillion, while only providing modest benefits to our economy.
Broken Promise #5: Americans were promised no cuts to Medicare or Social Security. Yet, already some in Congress, including Speaker Ryan, are speaking openly about how they now hope to cut Social Security and Medicare to fill the hole caused by this uncessary giveaway. So much for Presdient Trump's promise to protect those critical programs.
Broken Promise #6: Americans were promised a thorough and thoughtful process. Instead, this bill was assembled in backrooms with little time for expert review or input. What's worse, not a single hearing was held on the bill and not one Democratic amendment was adopted. Compare that to the process of the Affordable Care Act, when Democrats held over 79 public, bipartisan hearings and markups on the bill; spent over 100 hours in hearings; and considered 239 amendments, from Democrats and Republicans alike. The Senate, for its part, spent 160 hours considering the bill and included 147 amendments offered by Republicans.
At every step of the process and with every broken promise, the Republican tax bill has gotten worse. As I said when I wrote you last, it didn't have to be this way. Both parties have long supported a revamping of the tax code, but it needed to be done in a bipartisan way. Republicans rejected that approach from the outset.
Time will further expose just how bad this legislation is. It will need to be fixed. Let's hope that a different Congress will have the capacity and the leadership to truly build a more sensible tax code, that is fairer, simpler and boosts economic growth.
John P. Sarbanes
Maryland's Third Congressional District