Republican tax reform: Principles of ethics and morals be damned

Republicans are trying to peddle the old worn out “trickle down” economic theory that they insist will greatly stimulate growth and create millions of jobs.


House and Senate Republicans rammed their tax reform plan through Congress and they and President Trump hailed it as a monumental achievement, a great step forward for this country and its people. However, this proclamation is in sharp contrast with the views of many millions of Americans who are highly skeptical and aren’t buying into it, not yet.

The provisions of the plan will allow the rich to get richer, corporations will benefit from a massive $1.5 trillion tax cut, and many middle class Americans will, unfortunately, end up paying more taxes. The federal deficit will balloon.

Once again, Republicans are trying to peddle the old worn out “trickle down” economic theory that they insist will greatly stimulate growth and create millions of jobs. That’s delusional thinking as that theory has been proven totally without merit time and again over past decades. They are using smoke and mirrors techniques to try to dupe the American people into thinking that this plan was designed to largely benefit them.

Why did they have to rush this highly faulted legislation through Congress? Senator Lindsey Graham, when questioned about the reasons, said that it was because the party’s major donors made it clear to Republicans that, if they failed to pass tax cut legislation, they would have their campaign donations cut off, a catastrophe for the GOP.

Graham further stated that if that would happen, “The party fractures, most GOP incumbents in 2018 will get a severe primary challenge, a lot of them will probably lose, the base will fracture, and the financial contributions will stop; other than that it’ll be fine!” He made it crystal clear that this plan was developed in order to keep Republicans in control and save the party from collapsing.

But, where is the Republicans’ loyalty to the American people? In a choice between doing what it right for them and this country versus the continued accumulation of political donations from wealthy donors, the Republicans did not hesitate to choose the latter.

Republicans are giving the lion’s share of the tax cuts to corporations and to the wealthiest Americans. As a result, the federal deficit will take a massive hit, over $1 trillion. And, sad to say, in the end some middle class Americans will actually see their taxes increase. Does anyone think that these politicians even gave one thought to the principles of ethics and morality when developing their plan?

Corporations should not have been granted such a generous tax cut with no strings attached. This plan should have included provisions by which tax cuts would only be given to those corporations who actually created new jobs and did not eliminate others in a given year.

A certain minimum number of jobs would have to be created based on the size and type of corporation and other important factors. Of course, there would have to be some type of exception to that rule for companies that had taken specific steps to bring back billions of dollars from their overseas tax havens.

Republicans should have thought much more deeply about what really drives the U.S. economy. It is small businesses with fewer than 500 employees that provide jobs for nearly 60% of the nation’s workforce. Secondly, consumer purchasing power constitutes 70% of the economy. The combination of these two entities is the driving force of the U.S. economy. The largest tax cuts should have been for them. But these kinds of facts don’t matter to Republicans when donors call the shots.

If Republicans had felt any need to include the principles of ethics and morality in their deliberations the plan would they have come up with such a highly faulted plan? Would they cut Medicare, the program that benefits many millions of Americans, by $500 billion and Medicaid by $1 trillion, over 10 years?

The plan eliminates the Obamacare mandate, a move that expert observers say will cause large increases in premiums for those covered under the program and will result in 13 million Americans losing that medical coverage.

Why include a provision that punishes students who are already weighed down by huge loans by taking away the student loan interest deduction? Why do that to them when they are already struggling to pay extremely high college tuitions?

Why in the world would Republicans decide to eliminate medical expense deductions that are so important to families that incur huge medical costs not covered by insurance? That’s beyond comprehension.

Sure there are some elements of this legislation that are of some benefit to taxpayers such as a sizable increase in the standard deduction and the child tax credit but, overall, this is a very bad plan. The more Americans hear about this plan the more they will be against it.

The media was strongly against it and most economists see it as being very problematic. But Trump and Republicans could care less what anyone thinks.

Oh how different this tax reform bill would be if the principles of ethics and morals would have been given consideration by these Republican politicians when they developed it. If they had there would be a far different plan, one that was fair to all parties; the people of America, corporations, small businesses and, yes, even some of those at the top.

With the resulting negative impact on the federal deficit where will the funding required to repair and improve this country’s crumbling national infrastructure, critically important to millions of small businesses and corporations, come from? America cannot continue to ignore the deterioration condition of its highways and interstates, its aging, weakening bridges, its dams and waterways, the outdated electrical grid, and our failing water delivery and sewer systems.

Yes, wealthy Republican donors are applauding Republican efforts and are renewing their promises of generous donations. However, Republicans would do well to enjoy the moment because their current state of euphoria will not last very long; in fact, it will last for less than a year.

Over the past year the American people have shown their great displeasure with many of the policies and actions taken by Republicans and President Trump, and that’s why Democrats have had great success in various state elections across this country. Their attempt to destroy Obamacare was one of them and will come back to bite them.

That misguided, short-sighted move, coupled with this disastrous tax legislation, will serve to lay the groundwork for their political demise, starting when they have to face the wrath of the many millions of Americans who will pay them back for their acts of betrayal in the 2018 elections.


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Michael Payne is an independent progressive activist. His writings deal with social, economic, political and foreign policy issues; and especially with the great dangers involved with the proliferation of perpetual war, the associated defense industry, and the massive control that Corporate America holds over this government and our election process; all which are leading this nation down the road to eventual financial ruin if the conditions are not reversed. He is a graduate of Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois and a U.S. Army veteran.