The ugly truth of congressional efforts to overhaul the U.S. tax code was revealed this week, when a nonpartisan committee of tax specialists released an analysis of the Senate’s bill.
In op-ed pages and press conferences, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan have tried to sell their tax plans as tax relief for America’s working families.
“You deserve an economy that lives up to its potential once again: with more jobs, fairer taxes and bigger paychecks. That’s why we are working so hard in Congress to pass tax reform,” McConnell wrote as tax legislation was being written earlier this fall.
But since then, congressional leaders have come up with a tax plan that slashes taxes on corporations and the super-rich at the expense of the middle class. Even McConnell was forced to admit, exactly a month after his op-ed, that the Senate proposal would raise taxes on some middle-class families.
In its analysis, the Joint Committee on Taxation of the U.S. Congress exposed the Senate bill for what it really is – a Trojan horse for working families that claims to be a gift but will wreak havoc in their lives.
The bill, which passed the Senate Finance Committee late Thursday, would give trillions in new tax breaks to corporations and millionaires, paid for by raising taxes on the average family. Tax increases for working families would begin in the year 2021 and shoot up from there. By 2027, most people earning under $75,000 would be paying more in taxes than they do now.
Going After Health Care Again
On top of tax hikes for working people, the Senate bill contains another last-minute attempt to undermine the Affordable Care Act (ACA), after repeated failures to kill the law known as Obamacare.
Senators added a provision to eliminate the ACA’s individual mandate – one of main ways in which the law keeps premiums affordable and protects people with pre-existing conditions. Removing the requirement that everyone should carry insurance would increase the number of uninsured Americans by 13 million over the next decade and lead to a rise in health insurance premiums, preventing many more people from buying insurance.
At the same time, corporations and the super wealthy would enjoy the bill’s new tax breaks for private jets.
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives on Thursday approved its own version of the bill, which also benefits corporations and the super-rich at the expense of average Americans.
Despite the bill’s provisions to reward corporations for outsourcing American jobs, Ryan said before the vote, “Passing this bill is the single biggest thing we can do to grow the economy, to restore opportunity and help those middle-income families who are struggling.”
Even as their true intentions are revealed, congressional leaders insist on presenting their tax schemes as a gift for working families. But we can see inside their Trojan horse, and we know what it’s hiding.