The Maneater

Column: The new tax bill allows people to keep more of their own money

The tax reform bill passed by congressional Republicans and President Trump has been a success and is providing cuts for millions of Americans despite the connotation that it would only help the rich.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren gives a speech at a Washington, D.C. rally to protest the American Health Care Act on June 21, 2017. courtesy of Edward Kimmel via Flickr

Brandon Bartlett is a freshman political science major at MU. He is an opinions columnist who writes about politics for The Maneater.

The tax reform bill passed in late December didn’t provide tax cuts; it was robbery. Future Americans will realize that the bill is a detriment to the federal government. This tax reform bill is the end of the world!

All of the statements just made are similar to quotes from Democrats such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Bernie Sanders and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Yes, Nancy Pelosi literally said this tax bill is “Armageddon.” Let’s assess if there is any truth to these statements, though.

Starting with a tweet from Warren on Dec. 20, “The bill that the Republicans jammed through the Senate tonight isn't tax reform. It's a heist.” A “heist” implies that someone or something is being robbed. In the sense of tax reform, Republicans would relate a “heist” to the story of Robin Hood, in which the Prince is stealing from the poor suffering citizens. According to David A. Graham of The Atlantic, “80 percent of households will see some benefit in 2018” from the tax cuts and NPR estimates that households would get an average tax cut of just over $1,600. To me, that doesn’t sound like a heist.

The next quote to be analyzed is from Sanders. “And [historians] will conclude that today is the day of one of the great robberies, criminal activities if you like, in the modern history of this country, because the federal treasury is being looted tonight,” he said Dec. 1. Leave it to the Socialist to think the federal government deserves your money more than you do. I don’t think this quote needs much statistical evidence because it’s really more based on what you think is the purpose of government. Most Republicans would agree that higher taxes are what would be robbery.

If you believe in individualism and personal liberty as I do, then you probably don’t want the federal government taking your money. Many people would argue they know how to use their money better than some politicians who are in a different part of the country and don’t know them. However, if you believe the government is there to take care of you and solve all of your problems because they know best and if you believe that the rich should be paying higher taxes because nobody needs that much money, then I would suggest that you should just give all of your money to the Internal Revenue Service and let the government do what it wants with it. Trust me; they won’t mind wasting it.

Sanders’ tax plan, according to Naomi Jagoda for The Hill, would cost American taxpayers $15.3 trillion over the first 10 years and $25.1 trillion in the decade after. The same article, which was published in 2016, claims that “in 2017, households in the middle fifth of income would see their taxes increase on average by almost $4,700, while people in the top 0.1 percent of income would on average have their taxes go up by more than $3 million”.

Finally, perhaps the most outrageous quote of all, said by Nancy Pelosi, is, “No, this is the end of the world. The debate on health care is life-death. This is Armageddon.” She brings up health care because the tax bill repealed the Obamacare individual mandate. The individual mandate forces most American citizens to buy health insurance whether they want to purchase it or not and if they don’t, then they are fined through taxes. I’d be surprised if the founding fathers didn’t roll over in their graves when the federal government decided it was OK to force its citizens to buy something from private companies. The preamble to the Constitution reads, “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty … ” It is not liberty to force people to buy something they don’t want. This is what an overreach by the federal government looks like.

There is really no reason to compare this bill to Armageddon. The largest downside is that the bill has the potential to plunge the U.S. over $1.4 trillion further into debt, according to CNBC. That being said, I don’t think the Democrats were complaining much when Obama increased the national debt by about $8 trillion, according to Kimberly Amadeo for The Balance. The new tax bill essentially doubled the standard deduction and the child tax credit. In addition to lowering the tax rates for some of the tax brackets, the corporate tax rate was lowered from 35 percent to 21 percent.

Because of the tax bill, many companies are giving back to their employees in the way of bonuses or raising hourly pay; some are even increasing matching contributions to workers' 401(k) plans. These companies include AT&T, Bank of America and Walmart, just to list a few. An article written by Adam Shell for USA Today has a list of bonuses that are being given by some of the major companies who decided to share the money they will be saving from the new tax bill; that short list alone adds up to $870 million in bonuses.

Before the tax bill was passed, the corporate federal tax rate was among the five highest in the world, causing many businesses to send work overseas. Apple has stated it will bring its money from overseas back to the U.S., presumably because of the tax decrease. Thus, it can be argued that this bill was not a heist and did not bring on Armageddon; it just let people keep more of their own money.

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