Letter to the Editor: Tax ‘Reform’

While our hearts must remain engaged with those who have experienced great losses in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and Las Vegas, we cannot afford to forget that the federal government will soon consider a massive reform of our system of taxation.

Although I am committed to the idea that taxes ensure our opportunity to live in a civil society with healthy food, disease control, secure communications, public education, good roads, storm warnings and many other necessities that we take for granted, I do not think that all tax plans are created equal.

The present proposal focuses on tax rates. In addition to reducing rates on corporations from 35 to 20 percent, the proposal reduces the number of tax brackets for individuals from five to three. In each bracket, folks at the top will see their rate reduced by a percentage point or two, while the rate at the bottom will increase.

Thus, the organization Public Citizen has found that in 2005, Trump would have paid $31 million less in taxes if this plan had been in effect! We don’t know yet how it will affect everyone, but people at the bottom of the lowest tax bracket will pay 1-2 percent more than they do now. That increase would “only” amount to a few hundred dollars, but on a very tight budget, that could make a real difference in a person’s health or welfare. At the highest levels, however, an extra $31 million is unlikely to make any such difference.

Disguised as a proposal to “simplify” the tax system, this proposal will only make taxes less fair, increasing the gap between the super-rich and the rest of us. It will not help the economy. The tiny number at the top cannot realistically spend much more than they currently do, so the plan will simply add to the trillions that already fatten offshore accounts.

Likewise, there is little evidence that a cut in the tax rate for corporations will produce more jobs. The several corporations that have paid no taxes in recent years have typically bought up their own stock with their savings.

Citizens who are not in the top 1 percent (or .01 percent) and still work for wages deserve a fair tax plan instead of more trickle-down economics.


Estella Lauter

Fish Creek, Wis.

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