Tax Day reminds us that the GOP has two conflicting talking points on taxes. On the one hand, they like to tell us that cutting taxes puts more money into the pockets of working people. On the other, they like to remind us that 50% of the people don’t pay federal taxes. Who are those people getting a free ride? Why working folks, of course.
When Republicans talk about cutting taxes, they really mean cutting taxes for wealthy people and big businesses. The tax cut they want to run on this year is unpopular because most people don’t feel it. There was a lot hoopla about one-time bonuses, but the overwhelming benefit is going to the wealthiest Americans, the same people who have already recovered from the recession.
At the same time, we’re increasing the debt by more than $1 trillion and increasing the deficit after years of Obama shrinking it. Clearly, the party of fiscal responsibility is the Democrats, not the Republicans. In a look at how Democrats and Republican do on fiscal matters, David Leonhardt writes, “One party has now spent almost 40 years cutting taxes and expanding government programs without paying for them. The other party has raised taxes and usually been careful to pay for its new programs.”
The tax cuts Republicans passed were supposed to keep them competitive going into the 2018 election but that’s not working out. According to the Wall Street Journal, only 27% view the new tax law as positive while 36% see it as a bad idea. Clearly, people aren’t feeling the impact of the tax cut—at least not yet. We’ll see if that changes after today.
Since 1981, we’ve been operating under supply-side economics, otherwise known as trickle-down theory. It’s more magical thinking among Republicans, like the notion that tax cuts pay for themselves. They may have some modest impact on the economy but they don’t pay for themselves and never have. Similarly, the reason we’re always trying to put more money into the pockets of working families is because tax cuts don’t and supply-side economics haven’t.
Instead, wages have been stagnant and the rich have gotten much richer. Now, we’re living with debt and deficits that Republicans will almost certainly try to pay off with cuts to programs that benefit working families. Watch out Social Security and Medicare.
Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent twenty years as a political and public affairs consultant. Learn more >