Bob Crandall: Tax Reform Is a Joke on the Middle Class

The tax bills now careening through Congress are a very bad joke.What the Republican leadership is calling "tax reform" is nothing but an ideologically driven plan to lower the taxes of wealthy Americans, myself included. To finance the cut, they propose to add a trillion and a half dollars to the national debt and impose higher taxes on an uninformed and largely unsuspecting electorate.America's middle class is falling behind. In 1971, the middle class earned 62 percent of aggregate income; by 2015, that percentage had fallen to 43 percent. In inflation adjusted terms, real average hourly wages for non-supervisory workers have fallen in the years since 1973. The middle class is hurting, yet the proposed "reform" would raise taxes on many middle-class families immediately and far more as deferred provisions of the "reform" take effect. Having America' s middle class pay higher taxes so that a retired CEO -- like me -- can pay less makes no sense.Meanwhile, the top 1 percent, which has done incredibly well financially, will benefit enormously from the proposed "reform." The share of total income earned by the top 1 percent has reached nearly 20 percent, up from about 10 percent in the early 1970's. Despite this group's prosperity, the Tax Policy Center calculates that this "reform" will generate an average tax cut of $35,000 for the top 1 percent and $85,000 for the top 0.1 percent in 2019. And both the 1 percent and the 0.1 percent will get larger savings in later years, when middle class taxes would go up rather than down.  Continue reading...

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