The Senate Republican tax bill

This week, senators on Capitol Hill debated passing the controversial new Senate Republican tax bill, known officially as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, or colloquially as the Trump Tax Cuts. According to the official website of the United States Congress, the bill “amends the Internal Revenue Code to reduce tax rates and modify policies, credits, and deductions for individuals and businesses.” The Internal Revenue Code encompasses all domestic tax laws. Put simply, the goal of this bill is to reduce taxes for American individuals and businesses; a controversial goal indeed. The bill already passed a procedural vote on Wednesday, Nov 29, 52-48 and is expected to pass, finally, Friday, Dec 1, according to CNN Politics. In light of this information, it is important that we look at the details of the tax bill, which will undoubtedly affect millions of Americans.

The Senate tax bill differs from the House tax bill, which already passed on November 16, according to PolitiFact. The primary measures of the Senate bill are to lower individual and couple tax rates for the middle class, reduce corporate income tax from 35% to 20%, and to only tax income earned within US borders (PolitiFact). The idea is that these measures will create new jobs and businesses or, in the words of Donald Trump, perhaps the bill’s greatest champion, “Our focus is on helping the folks who work in the mail rooms and the machine shops of America, the plumbers, the carpenters, the cops, the teachers, the truck drivers… the people that like me best.” (St. Charles, Missouri, 11/29/17). The tax bill will also close certain tax loopholes that allow the rich to evade paying, including one highlighted by Donald Trump, in the same speech, that makes corporations pay less the more they reward their CEO’s with excessive bonuses, according to the Huffington Post.

These things may sound good, and certainly many Americans and 52% of the Senate think they are, but others argue they are not. According to Vox, the tax bill creates at least 5 big problems; it will create $1.5 in national debt over the first decade, it limits the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) which could create a “health insurance crisis,” it creates new loopholes for tax evasion despite closing others, it is designed to be more expensive or less effective than promised overtime, and most importantly, “According to the Tax Policy Center, by 2027 more than 75 percent of the tax cuts’ benefits will accrue to the top 5 percent of the income distribution, with more than 60 percent of the total gains going to the top 1 percent.” The tax bill, which has been promoted by President Trump, and other Senate Republicans, as a boon to the blue-collar worker and small business owner, may only benefit the very richest in our society.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll found that 49% of Americans that were aware of the bill opposed it, 29% supported it, and 22% said they did not know. These results, which show an increase in the percent in opposition from 41% on October 24, are shocking after witnessing the unanimous, explosive cheering, and applause at President Trump’s Wednesday speech, and begs the perennial question, “Do lawmakers really have the people’s or even their own constituency’s concerns in mind?”

As of the writing of this article, Republican senators are still scrambling to rewrite the bill before an imminent vote, according to Politico. All we can do now is wait.

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