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U.S. Capitol Police officers make arrests as protesters shout their disapproval of the Republican tax bill outside the Senate Budget Committee hearing room Tuesday on Capitol Hill in Washington. The committee advanced a sweeping tax package to the full Senate.

J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE, ASSOCIATED PRESS

Emboldened by the expediency of reconciliation, Republicans in Congress have begun their redemptive chants about tax reform. They are anointing our heads with the snake oil of corporate tax reduction as salvation for the middle class. As with all political prattle, scrutiny is essential.

Lawrence Summers, former Treasury Secretary and current professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, asserts that tax reform requires restructuring the tax code, not simply reducing, reshuffling or reallocating tax funds.

The latter, however, is exactly what is being proposed. Despite the blather about simplifying our tax return and mailing it in on a postcard, the tax code will remain as byzantine as ever.

Republicans are pandering to the middle class with token crumbs of tax relief with one hand while preparing a veritable feast for their cronies and benefactors with the other. The reform to which they give lip service is actually a transfer — our money into their pockets, which will only exacerbate the economic apartheid in our country.

Adding insult to their smugly conceived sleight-of-hand, the Senate allows the meager individual tax cuts to expire in 10 years; yet, it keeps those cuts lavished on corporations and the privileged in perpetuity. Their plan requires examination with both microscope and telescope.

In their reckless haste for a solitary legislative accomplishment before year’s end, the $1 trillion-plus their bill would cost is re-forming the national debt — skyward. I realize their sacred cow of fiscal accountability was sent to the abattoir during the Reagan administration, but their current duplicity puts their irresponsibility on par with their hypocrisy.

Though Mr. Summers' well-credentialed opinion is compelling, REFORM has become merely an acronym for Rascals Eager For Our Remaining Money.

Larry McClung, Lincoln

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