Reader: Tax plan doesn’t promote ‘all-American opportunity’

TO THE EDITOR:

Republicans, including Rep. Jack Bergman, delivered “big league” for their billionaire campaign donors by upending the U.S. tax code. This legislation was hastily written, deep in the swamp, behind closed doors.

The tax bill does not primarily benefit the middle class. The top tax rate for couples making over $600,000 was reduced. Billionaire hedge fund managers keep a version of the unfair carried-interest loophole, even though candidate Donald Trump vowed to eliminate it. Couples can pass on estates of 22 million to their heirs tax free. None of this helps the middle class. Despite historic wealth disparity, the affluent amass even more.

The tax rate for thriving multinational corporations was slashed from 35 percent to 21 percent.

AT&T now boasts about spending $200 million on one-time employee bonuses. The company’s profit last year was around $13 billion. Like most corporations, they were flush with cash and didn’t need this colossal tax cut in order to give a little back to employees. AT&T and several corporate giants are suddenly tossing a tiny fraction of their new, tax-cut loot to workers through overdue pay increases or bonuses.

Some previously planned wage increases are being attributed to the tax bill. Corporations, some seeking regulatory favors, are happy to help Trump promote this unfair, unpopular tax bill. They made out like bandits. It’s good to see workers benefit, but considering the corporate tax windfall, wage-earners are getting a relative drop in the bucket.

Republicans hyping these raises and bonuses is like slapping a cheery coat of paint on a house while the foundation crumbles. Ballooning debt, exacerbated by this bill, ultimately impairs economic growth. Because the super-rich pay even less of their fair share, essential revenues are depleted. As titans of capital wield political clout and stockpile cash we are less able to fund Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, fix our roads, educate our workforce, help veterans, cure diseases, sustain public libraries, keep our air and water safe, respond to disasters, etc.

Trump claims the tax bill will “cost him a fortune.” This dubious assertion is just one reason why citizens need to see his taxes. He has also not divested his business interests. The fact that Trump foregoes his presidential salary may be insignificant if he is otherwise profiting from the presidency. No one is picking on Trump. Citizens have every right to expect Trump to be as ethical as every modern Republican and Democratic president and release his taxes.

While some billionaires hire people to wait on them hand and foot, chauffeur their children and build their mansions, this is hardly an employment strategy for America.

No one resents those who live in luxury as long as everyone can receive healthcare, make a reasonable living and retire with dignity. This legislation puts life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness out of reach for many more citizens. This GOP tax bill promotes Gilded-Age greed, not all-American opportunity.

Norma Stewart

Filer Township

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