President Donald Trump is talking — a lot — about a Republican middle-class tax cut plan that it supposed to be enacted soon, maybe even before next month’s elections.
Let’s be clear about one thing: There is not a GOP middle-class tax cut plan. And even if the White House had drafted such a plan, Congress is not in session, so it couldn’t be voted on and enacted by the Nov. 6 election.
Like so much else, Trump is making up a tax cut out of thin air. Americans should not fall for it.
At the White House Monday, reporters asked Trump about the new tax cuts. Here’s how the convoluted exchange went, according to a transcript from the White House:
“Question: You said ‘lower tax cuts.’ You said that you wanted tax cuts by November 1st. Congress isn’t even in session. How is that possible?
The president: No, we’re going to be passing — no, no. We’re putting in a resolution sometime in the next week, or week and a half, two weeks.
Question: A resolution where?
The president: We’re going to put in — we’re giving a middle-income tax reduction of about 10 percent. We’re doing it now for middle-income people. This is not for business; this is for middle. That’s on top of the tax decrease that we’ve already given them.
Question: Are you signing an executive order for that?
The president: No. No. No. I’m going through Congress.
Question: But Congress isn’t in session though.
The president: We won’t have time to do the vote. We’ll do the vote later.
Question: Congress is out.
The president: We’ll do the vote after the election.”
Translation: There is no actual plan. Nothing has been presented to Congress, which isn’t in Washington to consider it. When and if there is an actual plan to cut middle class taxes by 10 percent, it won’t be considered — let alone voted on — until well after the Nov. 6 election.
Why is the president talking about a tax cut plan that doesn’t exist? Because the tax cut bill Republicans did pass is not popular with voters, who head to the polls in less than two weeks.
It is not popular because, as experts predicted, the GOP tax plan’s benefits mostly went to corporations and rich people, not all of them Americans. Corporations used their windfall to buy back stocks, a mechanism to boost the wealth of stockholders and corporate executives, rather than to hire new works or to raise their wages.
In addition, the tax bill’s benefits to corporations are permanent. The tax cuts for individuals expire in 2025.
Worst of all, the cuts have sent the deficit soaring. The federal deficit is expected to be nearly $800 billion by the end of this year. That’s nearly a 20 percent increase over 2017. The deficit is projected to top $1 trillion in 2020, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
The higher borrowing is the result of lower tax collections from the GOP bill that were not offset by spending cuts. The amount of corporate tax revenue collected in the first six months of this year was a 75-year low. This has grown the federal deficit much faster than experts predicted, The New York Times reported.
Republican leaders in Congress are already using the growing deficit to call for cuts to Social Security and Medicare.
To hide the damage of their tax cut plan, which didn’t really help working families, Republicans need something to sell to voters. So, the idea of a nonexistent middle-class tax cut was born.
Working-class Americans have been largely left behind as the U.S. economy grows. Promising them a fake tax cut is a cynical political ploy that should fool no one.
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