When the Trump administration says that the tax cuts our president proposed this week would be historic, they’re right in one sense. The plan president Trump put forward on Wednesday is one of the worst legislative proposals for working families in recent history.
I agree that today’s tax code is in need of reform. Working American families need relief, American small businesses need help to compete in an increasingly global economy, and many of our nation’s wealthiest individuals use loopholes to avoid paying their fair share. Congress needs to find bipartisan, workable solutions for genuine tax reform that help all Americans make ends meet, and I am ready to work with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to make that happen.
But President Trump’s tax plan fails to address our biggest economic challenges all while increasing the burden on low- and middle-income families by raising the deficit and laying the foundation for massive budget cuts.
Out of the trillions of dollars in tax cuts that Trump proposed this week, nearly all of that money would end up in the pockets of America’s highest income households and corporations, like Trump and his family.
By any measure, the president’s tax plan proposes massive giveaways to high-income individuals. For example, president Trump’s plan recommends dropping the top individual tax rate from 39.6 percent to 35 percent – a change that would apply only to individuals making over $400,000 each year. President Trump would also scrap the Alternative Minimum Tax, a tax provision meant to ensure that the richest Americans pay their fair share. On top of that, Trump’s plan would also eliminate a tax created under the Affordable Care Act which applies only to individuals making over $200,000.
Every day I’m honored to represent Alabama’s 7th District, which includes many underserved communities in the rural south. The average income in my district for a family of four is just $34,000 annually, and only one percent of the families in my congressional district make over $200,000.
That means that more than 99 percent of the constituents in my district would see zero benefit from lowering the top income tax bracket and eliminating the healthcare tax.
But Trump’s tax cuts don’t just target wealthy individuals, high-earning corporations are the other main beneficiaries of this week’s proposal. The Trump tax plan calls for reducing the corporate tax rate and “pass-through” tax rate to 15 percent, a proposal that helps wealthy corporations far more than the mom-and-pop businesses in Alabama’s 7th District.
The real impact Trump’s tax proposal would have on my constituents comes in the form of a ballooning deficit and future cuts to essential government programs.
The non-partisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget says that the Trump tax plan would reduce federal tax revenue by $3 trillion to $7 trillion over the next decade. At the high end, that represents over a third of our nation’s annual GDP.
Attempting to balance those losses in the federal budget could be disastrous. Already President Trump’s proposed budget targets programs that many constituents in my district rely on, like Meals on Wheels and Community Development Block Grants. Together, these initiatives help to keep our seniors from going hungry and our infrastructure from deteriorating.
But the elimination of programs like these does not even come close to paying for the $7 trillion in tax cuts proposed in Trump’s tax plan.
To put $7 trillion of debt in perspective, consider that Social Security costs our nation about $900 billion annually, or that we spend about $600 billion annually to fund the United States military. Trying to balance $7 trillion in revenue loss doesn’t just mean cutting to the bone of our most important federal programs, it means cutting off limbs.
President Trump is known for speaking in hyperbole, whether he’s discussing the size of his electoral victory or defending his claims that Mexico will pay for a border wall. But to call his tax plan “reform” is one of Trump’s greatest exaggerations to date.
True reform means making our child tax credit refundable to provide struggling parents with the help they need raising a family. Reform means building a tax code that focuses relief on our nation’s small businesses and allows our workforce to compete in a global marketplace. Reform is about helping families make ends meet, giving entrepreneurs the leg up they need, and putting our country on solid financial footing.
To call his tax plan 'reform' is one of Trump’s greatest exaggerations to date.
Instead, President Trump’s tax plan offers our nation’s wealthiest families the tax break of a lifetime. This tax plan isn’t just a missed opportunity, it actively works against reform by raising the deficit and laying the groundwork for damaging budget cuts.
I know that this Congress can do better. Regardless of party, I believe that every lawmaker wants the best for their constituents and for the future of our country, because that is what brought me to Congress. I urge President Trump to work with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to craft legislation that gives all Americans the opportunity to succeed in today’s economy.
My constituents have too much at stake and deserve nothing less.