ICYMI: House tax reform plan focuses on US workers
WASHINGTON—This op ed by Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) first appeared in the Gainesville Times on November 5, 2017.
Last Thursday introduced Northeast Georgians to what the House, Senate and president have been collaborating on since January: A conservative tax reform bill that makes the first meaningful improvements to the tax code since 1986, when I was a student at what was then North Georgia College and an intern on Capitol Hill.
Since then, time has passed and tax policy has changed, but not for the better. As pundits tackle the details of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, I want my neighbors to be confident knowing what conservatives are doing through tax reform and, perhaps more importantly, why we’re taking these steps.
The legislation the House has introduced focuses on replacing America’s labyrinth of a tax code with a plan driven by fairness, simplicity and opportunity. The IRS has reached its tentacles deep into the pockets of American workers and families to feed a bloated federal government.
I’d like to cut off those tentacles and allow everyday Americans to keep more of the money they earned by the sweat of their brows. I believe that comprehensive tax reform, specifically the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, is the answer to our country’s economic malaise. Our friends across the aisle disagree. Why?
There are two possibilities that explain why someone would oppose President Donald Trump’s call for middle-class tax reform. The person either doesn’t believe that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will actually bring relief to families and job creators or doesn’t think empowering working Americans represents a worthy goal.
Those who claim that our tax plan pads the wallets of the wealthy at the expense of middle America already have been refuted by The Washington Post, which investigated claims that this legislation would raise taxes across the middle class. Senate Democrats tattooed their false claims all over Twitter, and even the mainstream media awarded those claims with “four Pinocchios.” In fact, a family of four earning the median annual income of $59,000 would see their tax burden drop by $1,182, from $1,582 to $400.
To use another example with our community in mind, a firefighter with a $48,000 income would move from the 25 percent income tax bracket to the 12 percent bracket and see his standard deduction double from $6,350 to $12,000. Under this plan, his tax bill would fall to $3,872 from $5,173, and he could invest the $1,301 difference in building his own American dream.
Meanwhile, we’ve raised the Child Tax Credit from $1,000 to $1,600 per child and included $300 credits for adult dependents. We’re getting rid of loopholes in the tax code and killing the death tax, which targets family farms and businesses with double-taxation. We’re reducing the corporate rate from an unsustainable 35 percent to 20 percent so that businesses will bring jobs back home.
And I’m inviting you to fact check us. Anyone can read the text of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and other resources at fairandsimple.gop.
If the Republican tax plan actually does deliver tax relief to middle class filers—and it does—and if it does level the global playing field to allow businesses to close up their shops across the ocean and drop deep roots into American soil, then why would anyone oppose it? Because their objection isn’t practical. It’s ideological.
America’s economy remains the most productive in the world, and the American worker is the foundation of that economy. Conservatives who embrace tax reform want to ensure that hardworking Americans enjoy and invest more of what they earn because we trust them. We recognize that the American worker is industrious and innovative, and that’s what fuels our economy.
Liberals, on the other hand, don’t trust their fellow Americans to make good choices. They believe we have no hope outside of bureaucrats. So their logic demands that they fight to keep control of Americans and their money. Tax reform upsets Democrats because they want to make the government bigger, and they want to use their neighbors’ paychecks to do that.
President Trump and I believe that America’s greatness comes from free people making free choices in a free market. Democrats think its greatness comes from big government. They think Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer hold the keys to Gainesville’s success.
In reality, though, Democrats have no hope to offer northeast Georgians because they have no confidence in northeast Georgians (or in most Americans, for that matter). And while the president and Republicans in the House are working to make America stronger, to preserve our position as world leader, liberals want to apologize for what American workers have built and to undermine what their neighbors value.
The last administration tried to spend and stimulate its way to economic success, and we call those eight years the Great Recession. In contrast, conservatives in the House are spending this weekend telling their constituents we recognize that America’s future depends on her workers and families, rather than on Washington.
That’s why our tax reform plan insists that we make our neighbors the agents of their futures once again. We’re offering Americans tax relief today because that’s how we can build a stronger tomorrow.
Doug Collins represents Georgia’s 9th District in the U.S. House of Representatives.