Lavora Barnes: GOP tax reform hasn’t lived up to promises

President Donald J. Trump celebrates the passage of the Tax Cuts Act with Vice President Mike Pence, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan | December 20, 2017 | Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian, Flickr
Editor’s Note: A previous version of the column may not have included Barnes’ full bio. It appears below.

Two years ago today, congressional Republicans unveiled a tax plan, with big promises of a tax cut that would allegedly raise wages, lift up working people, and send corporate investments skyrocketing, while also reducing the deficit.

Unfortunately, it couldn’t have been further from the truth. Instead, their bill was nothing more than a tax scam that put corporations, special interests and the wealthy before Michigan’s working people. Two years from that day, it’s safe to say the GOP tax scam is living proof of yet another broken promise from Donald Trump.

Make no mistake about it: Michigan workers have not benefited from Donald Trump’s tax scam. According to a 2017 analysis of the bill by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, Michigan’s richest 1% were projected to receive 30% of the bill’s tax cuts, with the next 4% receiving 21% of the cuts. And while the top 5% were projected to be showered in cash, the bottom 20% of Michigan earners would receive barely any of the benefits. Adding insult to injury, the bottom 60% of Michigan earners are projected to actually see their taxes increase.

President Donald Trump holds a 2020 campaign rally in the Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, March 28, 2019 | Nick Manes

In a November 2016 rally, Donald Trump promised Grand Rapids voters to “massively cut taxes for the middle class.” Almost three years later, once again, it’s clear that promise was broken in favor of a tax cut for the wealthy.

As Michigan’s rich get richer off the bill, the GOP tax scam has also been a boon to big corporations taking advantage of a corporate rate that was slashed by 14% as they earn windfall profits and, in some cases, avoid paying taxes altogether. In the first year under the bill, the number of corporations paying zero taxes doubled, while the U.S Treasury saw a 31% drop in corporate revenue.

Instead of using the windfall to invest in workers, corporations have massively expanded stock buybacks, setting records for the billions spent towards enriching corporate executives and shareholders.

And despite promises by the Trump administration to cut the deficit by $1 trillion with the bill the deficit is skyrocketing, with projections claiming it will hit $960 billion this year and increase to over $1 trillion in fiscal year 2020. By 2028, the GOP tax scam alone is expected to have the impact of increasing the debt by a whopping $1.9 trillion, with the total debt added by Trump expected to top $4 trillion.

Report: DeVos profited from Trump tax reform

As I travel throughout our state speaking to Michigan’s working families, they know this bill wasn’t passed to help them. From Grand Rapids to Detroit and top to bottom throughout our state, workers’ wages have remained stagnant and their tax burden has gone up. They don’t see a president who prioritizes them or is fighting to build an economy that works for everyone.

Instead, they see a president who made his self-serving agenda a top priority at their expense and has turned his back on his campaign promises. They see a president who’s idea of tax reform is a handout to the already wealthy and the special interests who fought for a health care plan that would have stripped 720,000 Michiganders of their health insurance. And they see an auto industry that has stalled while they face layoffs and look on as manufacturing plants are shut down.

Michigan voters know Donald Trump has broken his promises to them time and time again. Next November, they will hold Trump and his enablers in Congress accountable.

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