The U.S. House has passed its version of a tax package and the U.S. Senate is on the verge of doing so as I write this letter. If the Senate passes its bill, both bodies will try to hammer out the differences in the two bills in a conference committee.
Oddly enough, not a single public hearing was held on either of these bills. All negotiations are being done behind closed doors, and even Republican senators will have little idea what will be in the bill when they finally vote on it.
Both tax bills will add anywhere from $1.5 trillion to $2.2 trillion to our national debt and will benefit the wealthiest Americans. Taxes will be raised on lower and middle class Americans either immediately, or after a short number of years of minimal tax breaks.
As it stands, there are over 560 billionaires and almost 11 million millionaires in the United States now — more than our country has ever had. On top of this, the wealthiest 1% of the world’s population own more than half the wealth of the entire planet. These tax “reform” proposals will make this gap between rich and poor even more significant, and more threatening to our society.
Even more perplexing, these tax cuts would come at a time when we have been at war in Afghanistan for 16 years and other parts of the Middle East on and off over the past 25 years. These wars have cost trillions of dollars and will continue to tax our Treasury as we care for wounded veterans who come home. When the United States entered World War II, our nation did the smart thing and made every effort to pay its bills. Instead of giving away trillions to the wealthiest Americans, we should be closing the many loopholes they already use to avoid their tax obligation and work to bring back the hundreds of billions of dollars that are stashed overseas in shady “tax havens.”
Over 400 millionaires and billionaires recently wrote to Congress, urging Republicans not to shower them with additional wealth. They recognize the threat this disparity in wealth creates for our country. I hope wiser heads prevail to reject this shameful proposal and work together to find a realistic path forward to getting our deficit under control.