THEIR VIEW: A seriously bad idea

Published on Friday, 26 October 2018 22:29
Written by The Washington Post

Ideas have consequences, which is why we are not just going to ignore President Donald Trump’s proposal for cutting the middle class’s taxes by 10 percent, on top of the tax cuts already delivered by the $1.2 trillion 2017 plan he and the Republican Congress enacted.

As is often the case with Trump’s policy utterances, this one appears improvised, blurted outto reporters in Nevada and repeated amid a campaign rally in Texas.

Yet he has insisted on it, claiming Tuesday that “we’re putting in a resolution probably this week,” notwithstanding the fact that Congress is not in session.

And in keeping with his party’s general strategy of enabling the president, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, issued a statement claiming that “over the coming weeks” the GOP will come up with actual legislation. “Take him seriously,” added National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow.

OK: Taken seriously, this is a deeply irresponsible idea.

Defined as the middle fifth of the income distribution scale, the middle class does not need more income tax cuts.

According to a 2016 Congressional Budget Office study (based on data compiled before the 2017 tax law), households in that stratum received about 14 percent of total before-tax income and paid about 9 percent of federal taxes.

Trump’s idea would be slightly less reckless if it were true.

He’s attempting a cheap political trick near the end of a midterm campaign in which middle-class voters have not responded well to the 2017 tax cuts, partly because those did favor the wealthy and businesses.

The truth is that the United States needs a long-term plan for fiscal sustainability that would probably require middle-class Americans to pay a bit more for the government services they evidently want and need.

Telling the truth, though, is not Trump’s strong suit.

Posted in New Britain Herald, Editorials on Friday, 26 October 2018 22:29. Updated: Friday, 26 October 2018 22:31.