Robert Meyer
Opposition to Trump tax cut misguided ideology
By Robert Meyer
January 1, 2018

President Trump has kept a major campaign promise by signing into law one of the largest tax cuts in history.

His detractors used an overworked canard "Tax cuts for the rich" to demagogue the accomplishment, and justify voting against a bill that will help many of their own constituents. The average family saves about $2,600.

Liberals in congress perpetually decry any tax legislation that doesn't exclude or penalize the wealthy. Yet when they possessed the majorities to pass Obamacare, they didn't bother promoting sweeping tax reduction proposals for middle and lower income citizens, save a few targeted and temporary gimmicks.

There are numerous truncated polemics that are hoisted against the tax reduction. When conservatives point out all the people that are now off the federal tax roles, liberals make the argument that this is only because there are so many low wage jobs in the economy. But is that the only reason why more people are off the federal tax roles? Of course not, Trump's expansion of the standard deduction will cause that number to swell even more. The Bush tax cuts expanded refundable tax credits for low income workers.

Conservatives argue that wealthy tax payers already pay a disproportionate amount of tax, which is why they get benefited from tax reductions. Liberals view this as social injustice – but let's remember we have an income tax and not a wealth tax.

The point is made that personal tax cuts 'sunset' in eight years. This occurred only because democrats unilaterally voted against the bill, requiring republicans to use the reconciliation process, lacking the 60 vote majority. In any case, the provisions end only if the controlling party fails to renew them in 2025.

Democrats should have supported the bill, but held Trump to his original tax proposal as a candidate, of a $50,000 married standard deduction, in exchange for compromising on reduction in corporate taxes.

Think of how many lower and middle class Americans would have fallen off the federal tax roles had Candidate Trump's original plan been approved. I'm not myself arguing that scores of Americans paying no income federal taxes is necessarily desirable, only that it flies in the face of the 'tax cuts for the rich' template.

Many people condemned the Citizens United decision, recognizing corporations functionally as persons regarding campaign financing. Yet they also berate a reduction in corporate taxes as benefiting only the rich, as though corporations actually are persons.

Too often, tax reductions debates focus exclusively on job creation and economic stimulation effects. Various economists take either side, citing truncated data representing their preexisting ideological preferences. We often hear the oversimplified expression that "Trickle-down doesn't work." Of course, as Benjamin Disraeli might have observed, that depends on which set of statistics you use in your analysis.

An accompanying argument is that we must somehow pay for the costs of the tax cuts. This is an argument based largely on static rather than dynamic assumptions. Such language infers that all the money belongs to the government and tax rates determine a form of allowance to the taxpayer. My model to dispel the 'cost' concept, is to observe a retailer having a sale. The retailer reduces prices, but anticipated sales volume makes up for lower profit margins, actually increasing total revenue. A tax cut can also increase revenue to the treasury. This does not lower the National Debt though, unless the revenues are applied that way. It is simply deceptive when liberals argue that a tax cut doesn't expand revenue simply because government debt also increased. Reagan is often condemned for this, when the truth is that democrats never followed through with their promised spending reductions that were to accompany the tax reduction.

But tax cuts are also about liberty, whereas involuntary wealth transfer is about legislative power and control. Below the surface, that is what the tax cut debates are really about. Tax reduction creates more personal autonomy and less government control, which is a toxin to the liberal, 'wealth transfer for vote,' coalition building process. Progressivism depends on governmental control over lives, and economic autonomy threatens that hegemony. The person currently paying little or no income taxes is libel to think that a person receiving more of his/her earnings, is a bane to the expansion or maintenance of their wealth transfer payments. Liberals cry about conservatives attacking programs like Social Security, but recall Reagan cooperated with Congress to strengthen SS after the tax reduction was based.

The conservative French economist philosopher Frederic Bastiat penned his treatise "The Law" in the mid 19th century. Bastiat asked the probing question "Is the government a cow to be milked, or a watchdog to be fed?' No more tax need be appropriated than necessary for government to accomplish its constitutional mandates. Taxation shouldn't be used to facilitate class warfare.

© Robert Meyer


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Robert Meyer

Robert Meyer is a hardy soul who hails from the Cheesehead country of the upper midwest... (more)


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