Republican Tax “Reform,” Shifting the Tax Burden to the Middle Class and...

Republican Tax “Reform,” Shifting the Tax Burden to the Middle Class and Poor

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By Connor Sherman

I know this is an unpopular opinion, but taxes are good. They are the cornerstone of a properly functioning government, I think of taxes as being like vaccinations. You pay your taxes, and you get your shots, because otherwise you die of something preventable like polio. It is how we used to pay for roads and bridges, and it is how we used to pay for programs to help people. However most people hate taxes, which is why the GOP is moving to pass a tax “reform” plan. I’m sure you’ve heard they’re talking points, they’re going to cut your taxes, people will have more money, and businesses will hire more workers. Like with most things Republicans say this isn’t true at all. They aren’t going to cut taxes, not for any of us at least, after all how would we pay for the 15 billion dollar increase in defense spending? I mean we now have 700 billion dollars in our defense budget, a steep increase in spending, and it has to come from somewhere. So it should surprise no one that the Tax Policy Center has found that for Americans in the lowest income bracket would actually experience a 2% tax increase under the GOP plan. As the Trump tax plan would lower the top tax rate from 39.6% to 35%, abolish the estate tax, and lower the corporate tax rate meaning federal revenue would drop by about 5 trillion dollars over the next two decades. Remember when Republicans cared so much about the deficit? If passed on day one the 1% would receive nearly 75% of the tax reduction, while by 2025 the 1% would receive nearly 100% of the total tax reduction given by the plan. I just want to go back to that 5 trillion dollar hole in the budget again to say that most estimates say making public colleges tuition free would only cost 60-70 billion dollars, and that the highest estimates of the cost of a Medicare for all system is 1.5 Trillion dollars. Remember that the next time someone asks you how you expect to pay for one of those policies.

This isn’t the only way taxes are being shifted off the rich and onto the poor though. Regressive taxes are a favorite of Republicans, as evidenced by places like Texas having some of the highest regressive tax rates in the country. Regressive taxes are of course, things like the sales tax, alcohol tax, or tobacco tax, which not only count as a larger percent of a poor persons pay check but also affects middle and lower income families more often than they do upper class families. Civil Asset Forfeiture is another more malevolent form of regressive tax, as while the official reason for Civil Asset Forfeiture is to seize property that was suspected of being used in a crime functionally it exists to help police forces fund themselves by seizing and selling the property of private citizens. Furthermore indirect taxes such as the cost of permits, car registration, driver licenses, and just about any government related fee, are considered regressive taxes and will likely continue to become a greater burden as the amount of revenue the US decreases.

So no the GOP tax plan will not benefit you, even if your taxes actually do go down, because I doubt you save enough on your taxes to buy your city new water pipes. As Flint Michigan who still doesn’t have clean water can attest, or to pave your streets. Personally I find the idea that we should be cutting taxes when our country’s infrastructure gets a rating of D+ is frankly absurd, and hopefully you will as well.