Photo: Aaron P. Bernstein, Bloomberg
As a registered Republican, small-business owner, philanthropist and member of the 1 percent, I have something to say about the new GOP tax law: It’s 360 degrees of wrong, and I don’t want it and I don’t need it.
Being a practical Republican, which is rapidly becoming an oxymoron, I’m looking at this new law through a pragmatic rather than partisan lens. I employ about 50 people at my company, and this law is going to benefit me because I can pass income through my limited liability company and get a huge tax discount. But a lot of my employees are going to get hurt, especially in the long run, which is more than unfair — it’s heartless.
This law penalizes people who work for a living and, despite campaign promises from Donald Trump, entitlements soon will be on the chopping block, as promised revenue fails to materialize. The needy will then be lectured that their benefits should be reduced so they can fully appreciate the honor and dignity of work. What has become apparent is that while the Republican Party claims to represent the working class that helped elect Trump president, in reality, the GOP is treating extremely wealthy individuals as somehow better than middle-class citizens.
This law falls somewhere between a sham and a scam, although a scam presupposes somebody buys into it, and polls show that a majority of Americans simply don’t. Republican leaders Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell knew this, but they didn’t care because they were so desperate for a win to reward the GOP’s largest donors.
The harsh reality is that even if Republicans lose both legislative chambers in the 2018 midterm elections, President Trump can veto any repeal attempts for two more years after that (unless he somehow manages to implode while in office). So we will be stuck with it until at least 2021.
The president has said he will address rebuilding America’s infrastructure next year. If the Republican Party really wants to show that it cares about the working class, then require companies including Google, Apple, Pfizer and General Electric, which will get a permanent tax break of about half a trillion dollars, to repatriate and deposit in a national infrastructure bank at least several hundred billion dollars of the nearly $3 trillion held overseas. This concept would be a new and improved version of one proposed in 2007 by Sens. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., and Chuck Hagel, R-Neb. Rebuilding America’s infrastructure will be complex, both fiscally and logistically, but can anyone deny that the country’s entire substructure needs upgrades, maintenance and repair?
What can someone like me, who will gain from this law, do besides taking a political stand against this noxious legislation? I plan on investing in my business, which will help both employees and customers. I will also be able to donate more to my philanthropic interests. I can only hope this law’s ultra-rich individuals and corporate beneficiaries will do the same.
But hope is not enough. First and foremost, concerned citizens, including the GOP supporters most affected by these cuts, need to let their congressional representatives and senators know that they will not have their votes in 2018 and beyond. They must understand that this tax law will be a nail in the midterm-elections coffins. Republican losses in Virginia and Alabama have gotten the GOP’s attention, but the only language that creates action in Washington is the stark message that you are about to lose your job.