Rep. Kevin Brady's BAT Tax Will Punish Middle Class Families

Can you imagine paying $1,700 more in higher prices for your family's basic necessities? If that's not the change you voted for last November, you need to pay attention to the debate about tax reform in Washington.Rep. Kevin Brady (R-The Woodlands), the chairman of the tax writing committee in the House of Representatives, and some other Washington Republicans want to provide a big tax cut to multi-national corporations who already use loopholes and special interest deductions to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. To offset this corporate tax cut, Republicans are seeking a new border adjustment tax (BAT) on imports. The BAT would essentially function as a national sales tax, driving up the costs of everyday items such as groceries, clothing, shoes, gas and prescription medicines.The working families that fueled Donald Trump's surprising victory in the election would bear the brunt of this new tax because, compared with wealthy people, they spend a far larger share of their disposable income on tradeable goods that would be subject to the BAT. Furthermore, retailers and other employers that rely on imports could also be hit hard. The retail industry, as the largest employer in the country, is responsible for one out of every four American jobs, 42 million in total. The BAT could cause severe job losses in this vital industry.There is a better way forward on tax reform. Republicans should lower rates, simplify the code and stop the practice of picking winners and losers depending on who has the most effective lobbyists. There are also more effective ways to revitalize the manufacturing sector of the economy than by instituting a complicated new tax that will hurt the very blue collar workers whose jobs the Trump Administration is focused on protecting. President Trump's commitment to regulatory reform and new pipeline construction will lower energy costs and make it more competitive to build things in America again. But it doesn't do a factory worker any good if his or her spouse ends up losing a retail job because of senseless Washington tax policy, or if the family must pay more at the gas pump because of the misguided BAT.Republicans have a big opportunity to jump start our economy, but they won't be given a second chance by restless voters who have seen their quality of life decline in recent years. During the Obama presidency, the economy crept forward at an anemic 2 percent average growth rate, insufficient to drive real gains in middle income wages. This dynamic is why more than 60 percent of voters on election eay said the economy was doing poorly. Middle class families are demanding change. They are tired of special interest politics, and they are expecting the Republican governing majority in Congress to deliver on its promise to improve the performance of the economy and the size of their paychecks. Sticking these fed up voters with a job-killing, price-raising tax increase to pay for a big tax cut for some of the nation's biggest corporations is a sure-fire political loser.If Brady continues to insist on his misguided BAT proposal, he could squander a historic opportunity to revamp the tax code and usher in a new era of high, sustained economic growth. The debate on tax reform is just beginning. There is no need for the Ways and Means Committee to back itself into a corner over an indefensible policy that will only hurt the forgotten families who are in desperate need of stronger economic growth. It's time to shelve the BAT, before the voters do it themselves.David Williams is president of Taxpayer Protection Alliance. Website:  Continue reading...

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