ShareThis Page
Featured Commentary

Jay Ambrose: A tax reform blessing for all

| Monday, Jan. 1, 2018, 9:50 p.m.
Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York. (AP Photo)
Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York. (AP Photo)

We've got it, something splendid, the first major tax reform in decades.

This GOP congressional achievement will provide tax breaks to just about every Joe, Jane and business venture out there, and — this is the biggie — will almost surely foster significant economic growth.

And what might that growth foster? More jobs, higher wages, more financial security, a better quality of life, less income inequality as lower classes rise up, fewer social problems and a stronger, better America.

Naturally enough, Democrats are furious.

Their specialty is taking the freedom out of free enterprise to make more room for big government burdens. Their inevitable analysis, therefore, is that the whole thing is a fraud. It is the rich robbing the poor, especially in the case of corporations no longer having to pay the highest, most disabling corporate tax rate in the developed world.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D.-N.Y., contends that such a decrease will simply mean more loot for such fat cats as CEOs whose salaries will swell. Our corporations have already been using loopholes to avoid the 35 percent rate now reduced to 21 percent, he says. But under the reform, many of those loopholes that are truly loopholes and not justified exemptions will now be gone.

What's also important is that the corporate tax system will no longer be the mess sending thousands of U.S. companies abroad. Neither will it be announcing to potential foreign investors that they had better not invest here if they value their pocketbooks. Analyses say the lower rate and other meaningful moves will likely lead to expansion, to investment, to enhanced prosperity for all.

Of course, the reform package includes far more than just corporate changes. And, in addition to such pluses as 80 percent of the population getting tax breaks in a system that will be actually be more progressive than before, there are some flubs. The worst error is increasing an already horrific debt that needs addressing as a domestic priority.

Even here, however, some critics misstate the situation. Yes, the bill will add $1.5 trillion to the $20 trillion debt over 10 years, but keep the following in mind. In two terms, the Obama administration embraced legislation that added $5 trillion to the debt. The $1.5 trillion is a relatively small part of what the total debt growth will be. And even if the legislation were revenue neutral, the issue would still be huge.

The truly crucial problems have to do with Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Their costs have been mushrooming to the point of economic crisis for years and will get hellishly worse as more baby boomers retire. Yet every time Republicans suggested reasonable adjustments inflicting no harm on current recipients or future recipients most needing the help, Democrats defeated their hopes by saying they would force people to suffer.

The real question is whether members of both parties will have the honesty and political courage to do what serves the nation instead of what serves their own futures. The likes of Sen. Bernie Sanders — someone who proposed a free college plan that could have cost $30 trillion — are already bemoaning the evil the GOP is prepared to commit.

So, congratulations to the GOP on the tax bill, and may bipartisan cooperation rise up to save us on the debt.

Jay Ambrose is an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me