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12/28/2017
Bad advice

EDITOR, Daily News:

On Dec. 20, your paper published an editorial counseling its readers to assume a wait-and-see approach to the Republican tax bill: “The proof will be in the pudding – whatever the pudding looks like in about 10 months.”  This is bad advice, as it advocates outright ignoring all information on the tax bill’s long-term effects.  

The truth is that there is no need to wait and see, as we already know what the tax bill does: It permanently cuts the corporate tax rate to 21 percent, permanently eliminates the 20-percent corporate alternative minimum tax, permanently cuts the top income tax rate from 39.6 percent to 37 percent, and then gradually pays for these permanent corporate and upper class tax cuts by permanently increasing taxes on 53 percent of Americans by 2025. What small, middle class tax cuts are in the bill are strictly temporary, designed to disguise this process of upward redistribution, wherein the wealthy pay fewer taxes and ordinary Americans pay more.

The current Republican line is that these future tax increases are a mere procedural gimmick and all temporary tax cuts will be extended. Dan Sullivan claimed as much when he spoke to the Alaska press on Nov. 30. But then the senator accidently let the cat out of the bag when someone asked why the Republicans didn’t just make the corporate tax cuts temporary as well. Sullivan answered: “The thinking on the finance committee side was that the real spur in economic growth that we want to see is going to come from having businesses being able to plan long-term for the future.” In other words, Republicans made the corporate tax cuts permanent because corporate America would naturally assume that any temporary tax cuts were, gasp, temporary and make their plans accordingly.  

I humbly suggest that ordinary Americans should adopt this same long-range perspective in assessing the Republicans’ tax legislation. After all, large corporations and the 1 percent did not attain their present wealth by being stupid about American tax law. We should see the tax bill for what it is: An incredibly regressive tax increase.

GHERT ABBOTT

Ketchikan