Republicans in Washington are about to undertake tax reform. As we in North Carolina know, that means a massive tax cut for the rich and massive budget cuts for programs that help the rest of us. The GOP will, of course, call it a middle-class tax cut, but that will be a lie. The vast majority of the cut will go to the wealthiest people in America and the programs that get the shaft will be the ones that help the poorest.
In North Carolina, millionaires got cuts worth tens of thousands of dollars while school systems got handed unfunded mandates that cost students art and physical education programs. Republicans dubbed their tax reform the Carolina Comeback, but the state’s recovery was neither exceptional nor even. The median income is still below where it was when the Great Recession began while the wealthy are seeing a windfall from investments and a booming stock market.
And once again Republicans are selling the bill of goods that the tax cuts will pay for themselves through increased economic growth. That’s never happened and will likely make the deficit explode. Remember how much the GOP complained about the deficit when Obama was in power? They don’t care about the deficit nearly as much as they care about cutting taxes for the wealthy.
On its face, the Trump tax plan would raise taxes on the poorest Americans by increasing the lowest tax bracket from 10% to 12% while reducing the highest tax bracket from 39% to 35%. Republicans say they would offset that increase but won’t tell us how. They don’t even try to tell us how they would pay for the huge loss of revenue from the tax cut for the 1%, but you can bet it won’t be the rich people who pay for it.
Every time Republicans tell us they’re going to offer tax reform, it turns out to be a huge tax cut for the wealthy that creates or adds to deficit problems. Ronald Reagan’s tax cut left us with massive deficits that ended up killing George H. W. Bush’s re-election campaign when he had to raise taxes to cover expenses. George W. Bush’s tax cut squandered the balanced budget that Bill Clinton left him and made the pain of the Great Recession even worse than it needed to be. Now, Republicans who have been complaining about the debt and deficit ever since Obama took office will support budget busting tax cuts that they will try to sell as tax reform. Good luck with that.