Winning Our Fight for Middle Class Tax Reform

by: Elijah Cummings Special to the AFRO
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Along with my Democratic colleagues in the Congress, I support tax reform legislation that would truly help everyday Americans and the small businesses that employ them while protecting critical federal commitments to the education, health care, Social Security and housing of the American people.

However, the budgetary and taxation proposals being advanced by the Republicans fail these fundamental tests.

The current Republican proposals would primarily benefit large corporations and the wealthiest among us, increase the federal debt, and set the stage for massive cuts in Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, education and other critically important federal programs.

These shortcomings are why the Republican congressional leadership has worked in stealth mode to advance their tax proposals without much bipartisan consideration, negotiation or intellectual input.

Congressman Elijah Cummings

It also is why the American people are rising up against them.

A major political hurdle that President Trump and congressional Republicans are facing in their obsession to enact their so-called “middle class tax reforms” is that their proposals are far more likely to harm, rather than help, our nation’s middle class.

When the Republicans attempt to hide the truth about their taxation and budgetary plans under the “spin” of “middle class tax reform,” the contradiction between the spin and the truth is blatant – and a majority of Americans view it that way.

The Republican would do well to truly listen to the people whom they were elected to serve.

By large margins, the public is telling the Republicans to provide tax relief to everyday Americans and the small businesses that employ them – while protecting the federal programs that help everyday people survive and thrive.

Consider the perspectives advanced by the American public in the October 27-30 CBS News poll [https://www.cbsnews.com].

A clear majority of Americans believe that the Republicans favor the most affluent among us [58 percent] and that “the rich” would benefit the most from the Republican tax proposals [56 percent].

Most Americans have also concluded that the taxes paid by “middle class Americans” should be decreased [60 percent] while the taxes paid by “wealthy Americans” should be increased [58 percent].

Where corporate taxes are concerned, American majorities currently believe that the taxes currently paid by large corporations are less than “their fair share” [52 percent] and should be increased [56 percent], while the taxes paid by small businesses should be decreased [68 percent].

What we all need to understand, however, is that, contrary to the views of the American majority, congressional Republicans are attempting to rush their radical proposals into law before the American people have a chance to fully understand the consequences for their families.

The American people deserve the truth about the real consequences for all of us if these Republican tax and budgetary proposals become law – so here is a brief summary.

The Republicans are proposing to borrow an additional $1.5 trillion in order to provide unfair and largely ineffective tax cuts, 80 percent of which will go to the wealthiest 1 percent among us.  Taxes will actually be increased for many middle class American families.

The broader Republican budgetary plan would devastate Medicare and Medicaid, slashing Medicare by $473 billion and imposing $1 trillion in cuts on hard-working Americans on Medicaid:  veterans, seniors with long-term care needs, children and rural communities.

This same radical agenda would slash non-defense spending by $5 trillion over 10 years, including cutting mandatory programs by over $4 trillion and cutting nondefense discretionary programs by $660 billion.

The Republicans would actually cost our economy jobs by cutting infrastructure funding, as well as federal investments in education, innovation, clean energy, job training, R&D, and medical research – all investments that are needed to create jobs and grow our economy.

These consequences are why we must defeat the Republican tax and budgetary plans and move on to truly bipartisan and legitimate tax reform that will truly stimulate our economy, create more well-paying jobs and protect our safety net.

To win this fight, however, we will need the full engagement of the American people – the same constructive public outcry that Americans demonstrated in defense of the Affordable Care Act.

We need the American people to raise their voices now.  We can expect the Republicans to bring their tax plan to a vote by the House of Representatives during the week of November 13 – and a vote in the Senate after Thanksgiving but before December 11.

In the Senate and House, Maryland’s representatives are raising our voices and challenging these unfair Republican plans.  Meanwhile, in Washington, as well as in Senate and House offices throughout the nation, Americans are challenging the Republicans and demanding that they act in the public interest – not the interest of the wealthy and powerful few.

This is how we can win the fight for true middle class tax reform.

This is how democracy – and the will of the American people – can once again prevail.

Congressman Elijah Cummings represents Maryland’s 7th Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives.

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