The tax bill currently set for a final vote in Congress will be a disaster for millions of hard-working American families. It’s true that some in the middle class are going to get a tax break over the next few years. But don’t be fooled. Those tax cuts expire, meaning that if you make less than $75,000 a year, you’re almost certainly going to be paying more in the long run. Tax cuts for people like me, who have significant income and wealth, will stay permanent.
This might all seem confusing, but that’s by design. The bill’s authors don’t want you to know just how much you’re going to lose. But you don’t need to know all the specifics of the math to understand this bill. You just need to know this ― that your tax cuts are going to expire in a few years, while virtually every tax cut for wealthy individuals and corporations are going to be permanent.
Tax bills are about priorities, and unless you’re a millionaire like me, or a big corporation, you’re at the bottom of the list.
How in the world can anyone claim with a straight face that the people who are really struggling, that really need tax relief, are corporations sitting on billions in capitol, or the wealthy heirs of rich people.
For Californians, the GOP proposal to remove exemptions for state and local taxes will be especially devastating; clearly targeting blue states. Our state has the highest state income tax rate in the country; in 2014 we claimed nearly $70 billion in deductions ― $70 billion under the GOP proposal that, instead of going back into the wallets of American consumers, will be used to fund corporate tax cuts.
In the wake of devastating wildfires that have laid a path of destruction and chaos throughout California, Republican lawmakers want to remove a deduction that helps people who are uninsured or underinsured cover financial losses from wildfires, earthquakes and floods. In 2015, Californians claimed casualty loss deductions totaling $700 million, and this year will be in the billions.
This tax bill is a joke. Or more accurately, it would be a joke if it weren’t so deadly serious. Because the damage this bill is going to do to the poor and the middle class isn’t limited to their bank accounts. For some, it could even threaten their very lives.
The GOP tax bill, with its repeal of the Obamacare individual mandate, will lead to 13 million Americans losing the health insurance over the next decade. That’s 13 million Americans condemned to live their lives on a knife’s edge, where a single injury or sickness could mean financial ruin, or worse. Without the ability to pay for treatment for chronic conditions, many simply go without. They just keep getting sicker and sicker with no end in sight, except for one final, very permanent, end.
Recently, former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers crunched the numbers, and the results should terrify lawmakers. Based on completely non-political, peer-reviewed research, the most conservative estimates predict that this bill will cause at least 10,000 deaths every year thanks to widespread disruption to people’s health care coverage. And that’s on the low end, it could easily be twice that number.
Whatever happened to the global dialogue concerning income and wealth inequality? This tax bill reads as if this discussion never occurred. When the top 10 percent of Americans have over 90 percent of the wealth and income already, what possible reason could persuade us to help the already successful.
When President Trump promises a “Christmas gift” of tax cuts for all Americans, he confuses the Art of the Deal, and his money-centric life, with the true meaning of Christmas.
George Zimmer is the Founder of Generation Tux, and The Men’s Wearhouse.