By Congresswoman Julia Brownley
President Trump said the tax cuts would be huge. They would go straight to the middle-class, and everyone would get a $4,000 raise. The plan would create jobs and spur growth. And all of this would be done without adding any more money to the national debt. Listening to the rhetoric, the plan sounded quite glorious.
The president is right that we do need to cut taxes for the middle-class, and we do need to spur economic growth. However, his soaring rhetoric has given way to the stark reality that we’ve been sold a bill of goods in the form of the Ryan-McConnell tax plan. Have House Republicans fallen victim to their own sales pitch? As George Costanza said: ‘It’s not a lie if you believe it.’
First, this bill gives a massive tax cut to the very wealthy at the expense of seniors, veterans, families with children, future homeowners, students and more. Nonpartisan experts estimate that more than 22 million middle-class households will see a tax hike because of the Ryan-McConnell tax bill, while billions of dollars in benefits go to the richest one percent. Their plan eliminates deductions and credits that are critical for working families in California, including state and local income taxes, medical expenses, student loan interest and dependent care. They also limit the property tax deduction and the mortgage interest deduction for future homebuyers. So if you want to go to school, have a child in daycare, are buying a home for the first time, or have major medical expenses, you lose out. Yet, Republicans in Washington continue to claim that the middle-class will benefit most. It’s not a lie if you believe it.
Second, the GOP majority voted for a budget that adds $1.5 trillion more to the national debt to make way for this tax giveaway to the rich — putting more pressure on Medicare and Social Security and sticking our grandchildren with the bill. You can bet that next year, Ryan and McConnell will be screaming that we have to reduce these important programs in order to reduce the national debt that they themselves ballooned for these perverse tax cuts.
Furthermore, the vast majority of economists say that tax cuts funded by adding to the deficit are not the path to economic growth. In fact, some of the people who spun the trickle-down economics myth in the 1980s now say they were wrong. Yet, Congressional Republicans continue to spout failed economic theory, claiming the tax cuts will spur growth. It’s not a lie if you believe it.
And all the while, their budget calls for billions of dollars in cuts to education, infrastructure, innovation, clean energy, job training, R&D, and medical research—the key drivers of economic prosperity and job creation.
So while the prospects for passing this windfall for the wealthy and corporations enjoying historic profits are unclear, one thing is clear: Americans need a better deal!
We need a tax reform plan that truly addresses tax fairness and takes into account all taxes that individuals and businesses pay, including payroll taxes, income taxes and taxes on investment income. We need to reduce the tax burden on working families and on small businesses. And we need to incentivize innovation and look toward the jobs our children will be competing for in the global economy.
As tax legislation continues to move forward, these are the principles by which I will judge it. Because what America doesn’t need is more lies.
Brownley (D-Westlake Village) represents California’s 26th district.