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Tax Reform is Central to Making America Great Again

Written by John Feehery

If Congress wants to truly make America great again, it won’t get sidetracked by superfluous issues and will focus like a laser beam on reforming our tax code.

Repealing and replacing Obamacare, figuring out who hacked John Podesta’s emails, building a wall on our southwestern border, wondering where Barron Trump is going to go to school – all of those are distractions from the one true accomplishment that can right our listing ship of state.

Achieving comprehensive tax reform won’t be easy, which is why it hasn’t been done since 1986.  But it is vitally necessary to making American businesses more competitive and American families more prosperous.

In my mind, these are the two elements that are essential to true, long-lasting reform.

We must make America the best place in the world to open a small business, grow a company or locate a large corporation.

We have the highest corporate tax rate in the world right now; we have one of the most complex tax systems in history; and we make it almost impossible for start-ups to start right.

Policy makers over the last 8 years have been looking at reform as a zero-sum game, mostly because they believed that President Obama wouldn’t allow truly pro-growth policies to be implemented.  But they have to dispel with that thinking with the new president.

Donald Trump promised during the campaign to make America’s business sector strong again by slashing the business tax rate to 15% for all businesses.  The Republican Congress should help him keep that promise by doing exactly that.

We will lose more revenue by doing nothing than by adopting the Trump plan because corporations are fleeing America right now to avoid paying our high taxes.  Trillions of dollars are parked overseas by multi-national companies who are afraid to bring the money back for fear of the high American tax rate.

At the same time, Republicans have to make it easier for working class Americans to raise a family, take care of their kids, and have the kind of social mobility to keep moving up the economic ladder.

They can do most of that through the tax code.

They should expand tax saving plans to give parents the ability to send their kids to better schools, whether they be charter schools, Catholic schools or a better public school in their neighborhood.

They should give incentives to parents to get married and stay married.  Right now, it is easier for a parent to get welfare for their disabled child if they don’t get married.  That’s ridiculous and it needs to change.

The child care deduction should be greatly expanded and made refundable for families who make less the $75,000 a year.

There should be some tax incentives for businesses to provide paid family leave.  The reality in most of America is that both moms and dads have to work to make ends meet.  We need to accept that reality and move our society forward by helping parents take care of their newly-born children and, at times, the grandparents who are at the end of their lives.

To be truly pro-life, the tax code should help parents who have disabled children, including kids who have autism or other developmental issues.

All of these ideas might be expensive.  But to make America truly great again, you have to make American families and American businesses truly great.

Tax writers in the House and the Senate shouldn’t get bogged down in ideological arguments about the efficacy of tax credits or worry too much about how this will all be paid for.

Tax reform that makes American families stronger and makes American businesses more competitive will pay for itself in the long run.

And it will fulfill President Trump’s promise to make America great again.

 

John Feehery is President of Communications and Director of Government Affairs for Quinn Gillespie and Associates, Washington, D.C.’s top public affairs firm. He is also a frequent commentator on the political landscape, widely quoted around the country and often seen on such television programs as CNN’s The Situation Room, MSNBC’s Hardball, and Bloomberg Television’s Money and Politics. He is also a columnist for The Hill and writes a column for Political Storm.

2 Comments

  • Some questions or points to stop and think about:
     
    1.) Simplification: Wouldn’t tax savings plans and ways to help parents with disabled kids via the tax code make the tax code MORE complicated rather than less? I like to think that a simple tax code is one which has no loop holes, ifs, and buts, but rather a simple progressive-rate formula on income (or wealth, which in some theories works better than income tax) and leaves the management of special needs to government grants and programs which are opt-in rather than tax-time-opt-out. The latter could be simplified a lot, once again, by setting a wealth-financed guaranteed basic income which would reduce a lot of bureaucratic overhead, thus shrinking welfare programs to a comparatively small number of cases.
     
    2.) Tax Rate: Something doesn’t compute if the U.S. has the highest corporate tax rate and, yet, also one of the highest wealth and income inequalities which keep rising ever faster and faster. So, either this simply isn’t true, or there are other society-based corporate expenses we need to include in the calculation (like healthcare costs for example in a system in which we keep sticking employers with the task of providing it, and in which our healthcare industry is profit-based with a huge leach in the form of health insurance companies driving up costs, instead of having a government-run universal healthcare like Canada or the U.K.), or way too much of our corporate income and wealth is shunted into foreign tax shelters, or much of the tax can be avoided through loopholes and special tax forgiveness issued to large corporations in sweetheart deals by our corporate-funded politicians (thereby disadvantaging smaller businesses). In the latter case, the tax rate is moot for many of the big players. … So, which is it? I suspect it’s a combination of all of these, in which case changing the corporate tax rate won’t have much of an impact except for those who can rig the change for their very own profit. Guess who that will be.
     
    3.) Rebuilding America: As far as bolstering production back at home, Trump recently did something which goes into a much more promising direction: import customs. (I heard he told a Japanese car manufacturer that if they build/expand their next plant in Mexico from where to flood our market with cheap cars, he’ll make sure they pay stiff import customs. I’d fully support him in that.) This is the time honored way to keep the world from sinking to the lowest common denominator of labor costs and worker poverty, a fail-safe method which was killed off by our globalist robber billionaires because they win (or think they do) when they get to depress our wages (not realizing that, in the end, they depress the economy which stuffs money into their every single body opening without them necessarily producing anything of value in return, especially when they de-industrialize and re-monetize as they mostly do nowadays rather than industrialize as they used to do in times past).

  • Tax reform is needed. Our code is an incredible number of pages. Congress needs the courage to trash the present system and start over. I suggest removing half the burden from the income tax and shifting it to a Value Added Tax and tariffs. That is the only way to make a major tax reform meet the goals of a 15 percent corporate tax and lower taxes on middle income households. I say, do that and shift the burden to indirect taxes.

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About the author

John Feehery

John Feehery is President of Communications and Director of Government Affairs for Quinn Gillespie and Associates, Washington, D.C.’s top public affairs firm. He is also a frequent commentator on the political landscape, widely quoted around the country and often seen on such television programs as CNN’s The Situation Room, MSNBC’s Hardball, and Bloomberg Television’s Money and Politics. He is also a columnist for The Hill.

Feehery has worked for almost two decades in a variety of influential positions both as a staffer for three prominent members of the United States House of Representatives Republican leadership and a legislative strategist in the private sector.