Thursday, December 7, 2017

This tax plan:

My father used to say, "Don't tell me what your values are -- show me your budget, and I'll know what your values are."
American Possibilities

Robert --

My father used to say, "Don't tell me what your values are -- show me your budget, and I'll know what your values are."

Well, last week, in the dark hours of morning, Republicans showed us exactly what they value when they passed a 500-page bill, full of last-minute changes literally made with hastily scribbled notes in the margins, and it's this:

Helping the already-wealthy get even richer. Giving huge corporations larger tax breaks. All at the expense of the American worker. And that's not a figure of speech.

If you're disgusted by this (and more than half of Americans say they are), then give what you can today to help elect a new kind of leadership for this country: those who will fight for working people, not just those who can stand to donate the most.

This plan raises taxes on more than 80 million families with incomes under $200,000. It's not a middle-class tax cut; it's higher taxes for working families to pay for tax cuts to investors.

At least 13 million Americans would lose their health coverage.

Folks who make more than $3.5 million would get an average tax cut of over $700,000 every year.

Under the House tax bill, taxpayers would no longer be able to deduct payments they made on student debt. Tax breaks for college tuition would be repealed. Graduate students would see their tax bills spike, as they'd be taxed on free tuition. All in all, it makes college more expensive for American families across the country.

This Republican plan isn't anything more than the latest, worst edition of the same-old trickle-down economics that has failed time and time again.

Even more than that, let's be clear about what's happening here. The goal the Republicans have today is the same goal they had when trickle-down economics first came on the American scene: Their long-term goal is to starve government. To say we don't have the money to pay for Medicare, for Medicaid, for Social Security. We heard it last week when one of the leading Republicans in the Senate actually said after passing this new tax cut that we don't have the money to pay for children's health care.

Simply put, the values reflected in the Republican budget are shameful. They aren't my values. And I don't believe they're America's values either.

And so it's time for a change. Right now, you can show that these actions have very real consequences. From now until 2018 and beyond, I'll be doing everything I can to help elect a new kind of leadership in our politics. Folks who actually understand the issues an average American faces. Folks who aren't scared to stand up to big corporations. And more importantly, folks who are absolutely committed to standing up for working people.

Let's once again elect leaders with true courage.

Thousands of regular Americans around the country are standing up to make a difference right now. Give $10 or whatever you can afford -- and let's go change the face of leadership in this country once and for all.

From where I sit, tax reform is all about values.

Based on my core values, here are five core principles I hope to see in any tax package that comes out of Congress.

Pay for national priorities by closing ineffective loopholes. Our tax system is weighed down by expensive and inefficient gimmicks. We can pay for all the things that are important to Americans -- infrastructure, education, expanded Social Security -- by cutting back on the loopholes that have no economic value. To take just one example: We could pay for 14 years of free college education three times over if we just cut back on a loophole that lets wealthy heirs escape paying capital gains tax. To me, this is an easy choice.

Treat workers and investors the same. Investors are a critical part of our economy, but they're not more important than workers. Our tax code confers an enormous preference for shareholders over people who make a living by working. Every time we give a dollar in tax cuts to an investor, a working family ends up paying more. It's time to give workers the break they deserve.

Don't burden the next generation with our unpaid bills. We need a tax system that can bring in enough revenue to pay for our spending. I don't know a single parent who would take themselves shopping with their kids' credit card, but that's exactly what we're doing with some of the plans floating around DC. If a tax cut is worth making, it's worth finding a way to pay for it. Between rising student loan debt and increasingly expensive housing, the last thing our children need is to inherit our unpaid bills.

Build a tax code that promotes growth, not tax havens. Taxes can influence how people choose to work, spend, and invest. If designed smartly, an efficient tax code can promote economic growth and prosperity -- especially if targeted at the middle class. But there is a wide gulf between a tax code that creates wealth and jobs and one that simply allows wealthy taxpayers to sidestep their civic duty to pay taxes. During the 2016 campaign, for example, Donald Trump proposed a tax cut that would lead to $2 trillion in additional tax evasion by large "passthroughs" like law firms and hedge funds, with little if any benefit for American workers. The future of our economy depends on knowing the difference.

Tax reform is about real choices, not creative accounting. After four decades in the Senate and White House, I can tell you that tax reform requires tough choices and making hard tradeoffs. The American public elected members of Congress to make these difficult decisions, not to hide behind accounting stunts -- like overly optimistic dynamic scoring. If Congress settles on a plan, we need to know the real cost -- not the one contrived by fantastical thinking.

There's a way to do this right. But it's going to take a new kind of courageous leadership willing to make tough choices.

If you agree, then let's join together and elect the true representatives who will get it done.

I haven't lost hope yet, Robert -- and I don't plan on it.


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