Just in time for the season of giving, congressional Republicans appear to be on the verge of passing a tax bill that represents one of the most transparent money grabs for corporations and the wealthiest Americans, breaking a huge string of promises President Trump made on the campaign trail to “stick it to Wall Street” and give tax relief to “the middle class, who have been forgotten.”

If all you want for Christmas is your two front teeth, you’re in luck. That’s all most of us will get if the Senate’s remarkably named “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” is pushed through congressional reconciliation and into law.

And you don’t have to take my word for it. The bill turns out to be the most unpopular piece of legislation in 30 years. In a recent USA Today/Suffolk University poll, only 32 percent of Americans said they supported the legislation while 48 percent opposed it. A slight majority – 53 percent – said they believed the bill would not reduce their taxes and believed it would not help the economy.

Even some Republicans late last week acknowledged the gulf between GOP promises to cut middle-class taxes.

“Fundamentally, the bill has been mislabeled,” said South Carolina Republican Rep. Mark Sanford. “From a truth-in-advertising standpoint, it would have been a lot simpler if we just acknowledged reality on this bill, which is it’s fundamentally a corporate tax reduction and restructuring bill, period. I think they were particularly concerned about innuendo and what that might mean, so it was labeled as a middle-class tax cut.”

And that’s not all. Not only does the bill break big promises made to voters and enjoy an approval from only, at best, a third of Americans, nearly every subjective analysis of the bill predicts that it will add at least a whopping $1 trillion dollars to the national debt over the next 10 years. Yesterday, an analysis by the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Business School estimated that the increase to debt would be $1.5 trillion.

Common sense would indicate that Republicans will pay for this at the polls in both 2018 and 2020. But common sense doesn’t fare too well in 2017. How could any group defend the need for corporate tax cuts at a time when the stock market is at record levels and one of the biggest stories of the last month was the Paradise Papers that revealed the massive amounts of money the wealthy and corporations were stashing in off-shore accounts to avoid taxes? Richard Harvey, a tax professor at Villanova University, told the Financial Times that leaving offshore profit tax breaks in place could save Apple – one of the world’s richest corporations – $47 billion.

It’s difficult to see the bill as anything more than malicious not only to working-class people but also to middle-class voters, many of whom help put Republican lawmakers in office. It does nothing to address the real financial burdens facing Americans – high health care costs, declining public schools and ever more expensive higher education. Why anyone would expect companies like Apple or Nike to do anything more than shovel tax savings into offshore accounts and executive bonuses is beyond me.

Will American wage earners, who have yet to see their share of earnings return to pre-2008 recession levels, catch on? Those poll numbers are promising, but it’s hard to imagine we’ll look up from fighting the culture wars long enough to realize we’re being swindled.

Pete Mazzaccaro

  • Robert Fox

    I’m willing to consider an argument about how REDUCING the amount that the government confiscates from working Americans is “malicious” toward them and amounts to “robbery” of them, but first I need the argument. Like the lady in old Wendy’s commercial, where’s the beef?

    The only facts/statistics/figures included here are those about the bill’s initial popularity (evidence of robbery?) and its (potential) increase to the national debt of $1 trillion, over 10 years. I hate to point out the obvious, but Trump’s predecessor increased the debt by $9 trillion over 8 years and I don’t recall seeing a piece protesting that in the pages of this paper.

    At least there is one potential silver lining. The left, in its lurch further leftward, has revealed itself as a group that believes, more deeply than ever before, that the rightful owners of the profits earned by Americans and American businesses, is the ever-increasing federal government. How pathetic.

    • Joe

      Robin, I think it’s time Your middle class customers know who you are, right ?

      • Robert Fox

        Not yet

        • Joe

          Robin, I mean, hypothetically… if my dentist had your points of view, I wouldn’t want to give him my business. In fact, I’d go out of my way to make sure his other patients knew where he stood.

          • Robert Fox

            Well, that would be pretty sad – trying to live your life interacting only with people who agreed with you on politics. No sense in meeting people who have different views, perspectives, and ideas, right? Just silence them!

            No idea who Robin is, unless that’s your pet name for me?

          • Joe

            Robin, sure you do. Just ask your father, Robert F. – again, how about we meet in person? Perhaps at your place? I’d love to debate in person.

          • Robert Fox

            Dude, now you’re slandering an actual person- which is ILLEGAL. I recommend you remove the comments about him, or I’ll request the Local/authorities do it for you. If you think I’m lying, show up at his office and confront him in person. This is not a joke.

          • Joe

            Ok, Robin. Would you like to meet up? There is no slander here. Look up the definition.

            My future responses to your drivel will be both online and offline protests. All legal, of course. I just think the people should know.

            Merry Christmas Robin.

  • CH

    This article is incredibly misleading and is a naive buy-in to liberal talking points. Almost everyone (and especially the working and true middle class families) will receive a tax cut…and yes that is in addition to the wealthy and corporations, who just happen to pay the bulk of taxes in absolute dollars so that’s only fair as far as I’m concerned as a middle class taxpayer. This is yet another instance where Pete/CHL should focus more on local issues – there actually is a local angle here that you neglect, specifically the state/local tax deduction, which may have a more local impact on CH than anything you reference in this article, but again it seems you’re more focused on piling onto the national liberal cacaphony rather than adding to a value-added local discourse on how this stuff hits home. Please keep it local!

    • CH2

      Blah blah blah. Everything you said is false. Pete’s insight on this subject is right on point – and shared by pretty much all academic authorities (like climate change).

      What you don’t understand CH, is that speaking up on these issues is important. There is so much right wing bullshit being framed up up as true and beneficial, that’s it’s scary and dangerous – particularly with the current idiot of a potus.

      • CH

        I guess we’ll just see who’s right – time will tell. Please report back on April 15, 2019 with how you made out on your 2018 taxes and how the economy reacts. Thanks and godspeed!

  • pcroscia

    Do the math? All your valued deductions are removed from the table. For a family of 2 people you lose the personal exemption versus the new std deduction of $24000. Typically a new mortgage with re tax will be $19000, you get $12000 from the std deduction $24000 – $8000 = $16000 versus a deduction of $19000. You have just lost $3, 000 of deductions plus potential deductions for stae/local tax, healthcare cost unreimbursed employee cost. Need to finance tuition for your children through HELOC forget it you now have to pay for that. Wake up. Think about removing every last republican from officebecause when the debt ceiling ballons they will be going after your social security checks.