Email #269: “middle-income tax cut”?

Given your career-long dedication to balanced budgets and deficit reduction, you must be very concerned about the President’s proposed tax plan. According to the Tax Policy Center, it would undermine efforts to balance annual budgets over the next decade by dropping revenues by $6.2 trillion, and it would raise the debt by $20.9 trillion come 2036.

Many of your GOP colleagues seem fine with that, since the plan also cuts taxes for the wealthiest Americans. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin said after the election: “Any reductions we have in upper-income taxes will be offset by less deductions so that there will be no absolute tax cut for the upper class,” insisting that the plan “is a middle-income tax cut.” But the Tax Policy Center instead found that “the largest benefits, in dollar and percentage terms, would go to the highest-income households.”

Secretary Mnuchin later rescinded the so-called “Munchin rule,” repeating at his Senate confirmation hearing only that: “If confirmed, I am committed to working with Congress to craft the best possible tax reform plan to serve all Americans.” Yet in that current plan, the top 0.1% Americans get a 14% tax cut, middle-earning American only 1.8%, and Americans in the lowest bracket less than 1%.

Speaker Ryan promised “to fix this nation’s tax code once and for all,” something that would be “absolutely transformational, something that will have a truly lasting impact.” Why then is the GOP approaching this “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity through the special budgetary process of reconciliation? If the GOP leadership can’t convince sixty senators to end a potential filibuster, does such a “truly lasting” bill that changes the code “once and for all” deserve to move forward?

Although the Trump administration has abandoned its revenue-neutral pledge for the wealthy while also showing no concern for the expanding deficit, will you retain the conservative values that have defined your quarter-century career as a Congressman and oppose any tax bill that violates them?

Author: Chris Gavaler

Chris Gavaler is an associate professor at W&L University, comics editor of Shenandoah, and series editor of Bloomsbury Critical Guides in Comics Studies. He has published two novels: School for Tricksters (SMU 2011) and Pretend I’m Not Here (HarperCollins 2002); and six books of scholarship: On the Origin of Superheroes (Iowa 2015), Superhero Comics (Bloomsbury 2017), Superhero Thought Experiments (with Nathaniel Goldberg, Iowa 2019), Revising Fiction, Fact, and Faith (with Nathaniel Goldberg, Routledge 2020), Creating Comics (with Leigh Ann Beavers, Bloomsbury 2021), and The Comics Form (Bloomsbury forthcoming). His visual work appears in Ilanot Review, North American Review, Aquifer, and other journals.

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