Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) has been wanting to pull a Tax Reform initiative out of his hat for years. And now the talk around tax reform is front and center as the GOP controls both houses of Congress and the White House. But the current resident of the White House, President Donald Trump, when he talks about tax reform only touts the biggest tax cuts in history. And right now, tax cuts on their own, are the last thing we need.
I would be the last one to say we couldn’t stand a good round of talks and passage of a reasonable tax reform bill. I don’t think many in elected positions around the country would disagree with that. A fair and simple tax code is a good goal to work towards. But a tax reform bill that is simply a huge massive tax cut doesn’t solve any of our problems.
And if we look at Kansas (and we’ve talked about the near bankruptcy of Kansas due to unprincipled and illogical tax cuts before), some of the provisions of the current tax bill, culled from the Kansas ‘experiment’, will put the economy and government at risk.
Representative Jim Sensenbrenner (R -WI) extols the virtues of tax reform in an op-ed piece in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He dredges up the early history of President Ronald Reagan’s tax cuts and ignores the reversals later in his administration when revenue shortages at the federal level starting to hurt…and the resulting economic issues cost his VP, President George ‘watch my lips’ Bush, a second term as president. They didn’t work as advertised then and won’t work now.
Despite the talk around helping the middle class with tax cuts…the largest cuts still will go to businesses and the wealthy. One goal of tax reform should be flattening out the income inequality across the country. And despite that talk around who the tax reform bill will help, the bill itself is still just talking points and no real policy. What are we (regal we, since the Democrats haven’t been included yet) even talking about without the actual details needed to exclaim a new tax policy.
And I am not the only one concerned that the Republicans may be limiting the tax reform initiative to tax cuts. The Milwaukee Journal editorial board has the same suspicions:
And we agree: True tax reform, along the lines of the 1986 reform, in which tax rates are adjusted and loopholes are closed, would be a good and significant accomplishment.
Settling for only a tax cut would not.
With so many demands on the federal Treasury including a reboot of the war in Afghanistan and big bills for hurricane damage in the Gulf Coast, that’s a recipe for exploding the deficit.
But given the direction the GOP appears to be heading — toward satisfying a highly compensated Republican donor class — their efforts may end up being a tax cut marketed as “reform.” Don’t buy this line.
That previous link includes some video of the MJS editors talking with Speaker Ryan about tax reform. And if you want to see what Politifact Wisconsin has to say about the current tax reform plan: Is GOP tax reform framework aimed at giving breaks to the middle class, not high-income earners? Spoiler alert: For a statement that contains only an element of truth, our rating is Mostly False.
Nothing wrong with tax reform…if it protects the middle class…protects the needs of the federal budget…and helps even out the disparities in society.