By Tom Casey
What would our deeply principled founders and great Republican leaders like Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt think of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act?
Is it moral and responsible? Lower estimates state that the law will add $1 trillion to our debt. Thomas Jefferson said, “We should consider ourselves unauthorized to saddle posterity with our debts, and morally bound to pay them ourselves.” Yet we are on the verge of burdening our children and grandchildren with more unacceptable debt, all so that Congress’s wealthiest donors can become even wealthier.
Further, this bill repeals the inheritance tax, a tax Republican Teddy Roosevelt strongly supported: “Therefore, I believe in a graduated income tax on big fortunes, and … a graduated inheritance tax on big fortunes, properly safeguarded against evasion, and increasing rapidly in amount with the size of the estate.”
Is it honest? Thomas Jefferson said, “The whole of government consists in the art of being honest.”
This tax bill was sold on the claim that it will pay for itself – a claim that economists agree is unequivocally false. Will it create more jobs? One well-proven strategy to creating jobs is to put money in the hands of lower- and middle-class people whose purchases put immensely more back into the economy, creating jobs.
Initially families earning under $30,000 per year will have 20 cents more a day to spend, but in 10 years, 50 percent of Americans, almost all low- and middle-income Americans, will be paying higher taxes.
Large corporations say they will use the savings to pay down debt (increasing profits), buy back stock (increasing their worth), or purchase other firms (often resulting in job loss). Practically every economist agrees that these actions will increase the trade deficit – something Trump vowed to reduce in order to create more jobs at home.
Is it patriotic, democratic and country-building? The passing of this tax bill would result in a massive transfer of wealth and power from the lower and middle classes to the richest Americans and corporations.
Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and both Roosevelts knew that an excessive concentration of wealth was absolutely incompatible with democratic government.
Jefferson’s words on this leave no doubt about where he would stand: “I hope we shall … crush in [its] birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations.” History has shown that when world powers have collapsed, it was due to overspending.
This bill gives to the wealthy and leaves little for infrastructure and social programs that help working-class Americans.
Paul Ryan, who some hoped would reduce our dangerously high debt and who previously said that the current debt “will weigh us down like an anchor,” is now championing this debt-increasing bill.
What do you think the founders of our nation – and the brave women and men who for two centuries have fought to build, protect and improve on the foundation established by the creators – think and feel about this bill?
Tom Casey, of East Aurora, is a retired civil engineer, community volunteer and candidate for Congress in the 27th District.