Rights & Democracy stands in opposition to the immoral tax bill passed today by the US Congress which gives huge tax breaks to corporations and the wealthiest Americans, while leaving low- and middle-income folks out in the cold.
Today, Republicans in Congress implemented an historic transfer of wealth and power for the sole purpose of enriching their donors, corporations, and Wall Street elite while widening an already massive income gap. This bill moves our country closer to an oligarchy, where only the wealthy will be able to profit from our economy, access health care, education, retirement savings, and have a voice in our democracy.
This bill’s passage means more money in the pockets of wealthy Americans—like President Donald Trump and many of his donors—which will be paid for by an impending assault on this country’s social safety net, with billions in cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.
We will continue to fight back against this disastrous policy, and thwart attacks on the public programs that enable millions of people to meet their most basic needs—needs that cannot be met on the wages that corporations have suppressed for decades.
As a grassroots organization committed to economic, social, racial, health care, and environmental justice, we believe this tax package is a direct threat to the sustainable, equitable, and healthy communities we are helping to build in Vermont and New Hampshire.
We are committed to fighting the fallout from this bill at the local, state, and national level and, in 2018, we will show Republicans that robbing from working people to give to their wealthy donors will cost them at the ballot box.
The GOP tax bill is bad for the vast majority of Vermonters and Granite Staters, who will pay for the Republican tax giveaway with higher taxes hitting middle- and low-income folks in just a few years. Those tax increases will come at a time when there will be drastic cuts to health care, education, and public services to fund ongoing tax cuts for millionaires, billionaires, and corporations.
Just a few highlights of the GOP tax bill, which will give the biggest tax breaks to the richest 1 percent of households and corporations like Apple, Pfizer, and Wells Fargo, while at the same time raising taxes on middle-class families:
- Even though giving Wall Street tax breaks has never created more jobs, the bill cuts corporate taxes by $1.4 trillion by permanently reducing corporate tax rates from 35 percent to 21 percent and eliminating the AMT (Alternative Minimum Tax).
- The bill encourages more companies to move jobs and profits offshore by eliminating taxes on foreign profits. It gives huge multi-national companies like Apple and Microsoft a discount on taxes they already owed on existing profits they have hidden offshore—instead of making them pay their fair share like the rest of us, the bill allows them to pay $400 billion less.
- Over the next 10 years (by 2027), the richest 1 percent of Americans will get 83 percent of the tax breaks in the Republican tax plan. In 2018, millionaires will get an average tax cut of $51,000 while the bottom 60 percent of taxpayers will get about a dollar a day.
- At the same time, 92 million middle-class families (households earning less than $200,000) would get a tax increase under the Republican tax plan. Over half (53 percent) of all Americans – 100 million households – would get a tax increase in 2027.
To pay for tax breaks that mainly benefit the rich and corporations, the Republican tax plan guts health care—leaving 13 million more Americans uninsured, raising premiums for millions more, and forcing cuts to Medicaid and Medicare:
- To pay for permanent corporate tax cuts in the bill, the Republicans will repeal the individual responsibility provision of the Affordable Care Act, which will destabilize markets, strip 13 million Americans of health insurance, and raise premiums 10 percent.
- Because the tax bill adds over a trillion dollars to the deficit, it will trigger automatic cuts to important government services—including $25 billion in cuts to Medicare (the national insurance program for seniors and people with disabilities) in 2018, increasing to $400 billion in cuts over 10 years. Over 55 million people depend on Medicare for their health care.
- House Speaker Paul Ryan has also announced that he plans to cut Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and a slew of other critical programs next year to address the increased deficit resulting from the tax bill. Medicaid is the largest source of federal funding to states and provides health care for more than 70 million Americans; the largest number of enrollees are children.
The Republican tax plan unfairly punishes families and children while giving big perks to wealthier households and corporations.
- On average, all families with children will get a tax increase – unless they earn more than $1 million. At the same time, the new tax bill ends the Child Tax Credit (CTC) for about 1 million of the nation’s poorest children—many of them Dreamers—who don’t have Social Security numbers even though their parents pay taxes into the system. The new CTC also provides only a token amount—$75 or less to 10 million kids in low income families while allowing upper income families (incomes up to $500,000 a year) to claim up to $2,000 on the CTC.
- The final bill also changes important deductions in the current tax code that help middle class families lower their tax bill including capping the federal deduction for state and local taxes (SALT) at $10,000, which will raise taxes for about 8 million families. Capping this deduction hurts middle class families and adds pressure on state and local budgets to cut education, health care, and infrastructure.
In contrast, rich real estate tycoons like President Trump himself will enjoy new loopholes for millionaires created in the bill.
(Photo of Mari Cordes, RAD leader, protesting tax cuts and health care cuts in Washington, DC. Photo by TW Collins)