The Trump administration and congressional leaders are working overtime to sell us a bill of goods.
They want us to believe their tax cut proposal will benefit America’s working families. They want us to believe that these tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans will somehow create jobs. However, nothing could be further from the truth. This ill-conceived bill is a job-killer. It provides huge incentives for corporations to outsource good-paying American jobs to other countries.
House Republicans' tax cut bill would provide massive benefits to the rich at the expense of working Americans. This is class warfare, an assault on working families conducted by our nation’s wealthiest individuals and biggest corporations because they believe they have more to take and working families have more to give.
The House tax cut bill is estimated to cost $1.5 trillion. According to the Joint Committee on Taxation, two-thirds of that -- $1 trillion -- is the result of slashing corporate income taxes from 35 to 20 percent. Those who inherit wealth, rather than work for it, will be better off because the bill doubles the estate tax exemption, going from $5 million to $10 million.
The House bill also includes a provision that allows the wealthiest Americans to have their personal income taxed at a much lower rate by declaring it business income and running it through a pass-through corporation. How, you might ask, is personal income for the wealthy taxed at a low business rate supposed to benefit working people?
It won’t. And working families will be worse off under the House tax cut bill. The House bill collapses seven tax brackets down to four. This raises taxes for middle-income families by shifting them into a higher tax bracket, all so proponents of the bill can lower the tax rate paid by those in the very top bracket.
To add insult to injury, the House tax cut package proposes to increase exemptions for the wealthy and paying for them by taking away the exemptions that benefit working families. Increasing the standard deduction -- while, at the same time, eliminating the personal exemption, the medical exemption, the mortgage interest deduction, and even the student loan interest deduction -- will mean working families will pay more in taxes.
As the saying goes, “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice shame on me.” We will not be fooled. We understand who this bill is designed to benefit.
With rising economic inequality, balancing tax cuts for the wealthy on the backs of working families will only serve to widen the gap between the richest Americans and those of more modest means. Tax cuts that benefit the wealthiest Americans are not a priority for the rest of us, but, not surprisingly, they are a major priority for wealthy elites.
Nebraska's congressional delegation needs to stand with the working families of our state, the men and women who have made the Good Life possible in Nebraska. We need our members of Congress to promote and protect our hard-earned investments in programs like Social Security and Medicare, not cut them.
The great Kansas experiment with tax cuts for corporations and wealthy individuals failed miserably -- and created the great Kansas revenue debacle, which nearly destroyed the Kansas public education system and, frankly, just about everything else.
It is long past time to put the failed approach of tax cuts for the rich at the expense of working families to rest. The results of this debate, and where our elected leaders stand, or sit, will decide the future of Nebraska’s working families.