True tax reform a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity
It’s been nearly 10 years since the Great Recession officially began, when our economy slumped and unemployment climbed to levels not witnessed since the early 1980s.
Today, the effects are still being felt: Stagnant wages, growing debt, and the inability to save have left nearly 80 percent of Americans living paycheck to paycheck.
The deck seems stacked against too many of us.
We work hard, play by the rules, and still can’t get ahead.
We deserve better and I believe we can continue to increase opportunities for all Americans by passing comprehensive tax reform.
Recently, President Donald Trump was in Harrisburg to speak to the country about creating a tax system that is fairer, simpler, and establishes an environment in which our country can unleash our full potential.
In the 1960s, President John F. Kennedy used the tax code to “get America moving again,” and in 1981 President Ronald Reagan signed the first major tax cut in 20 years.
A few years later, Reagan would famously declare “it’s morning again in America.”
These two acts paved the way for some of the longest periods of prosperity in American history.
Today, we are presented with a once-in-a-generation opportunity that we cannot afford to pass up because of special interests or partisan bickering.
This is not a Democratic or Republican idea, it’s an American idea.
The benefits of tax reform will touch every corner of our economy and every household in the nation.
Among the primary components:
r Double the standard deduction. The basic thought is that workers should be able to take home more of their paychecks. Middle-class families will also have a significant increase to the child tax credit.
r Lower the tax rate for Main Street businesses. Small and family-owned businesses should have less of a tax burden. The current plan aims to tax them no more than 25 percent, which would be the lowest rate on small business income since World War II.
r Eliminate special interest loopholes. By making a tax framework more simple and more fair, many itemized deductions that are used by the wealthy would be eliminated. Those who can afford an army of bean counters shouldn’t be able to play the system to skirt their tax liabilities. While loopholes will close, provisions that support the middle class, like the home mortgage interest deduction and charitable contribution deduction will still exist.
r Allow companies to bring profits and jobs back home. It’s no secret that big corporations are stockpiling cash overseas to avoid paying high rates on those earnings. Let’s get the money made off of American consumers back home, through a one-time, lowered tax rate. It is estimated that nearly a trillion dollars could be put back into our economy, and hopefully serve to rehabilitate our national infrastructure. The tax framework also levels the playing field for American companies and workers to bring jobs back home from foreign countries.
Above all else, our tax code is annoyingly complex.
American workers, families and mom-and-pop shops shouldn’t need to spend more of their hard-earned money on someone preparing their taxes.
Our complicated tax code holds back true economic growth.
We need a system that works for you, one in which you get to keep more of what you earn.
This is the first time in more than 30 years that Congress and the president are in lockstep when it comes to getting this done for the American public.
Like President Trump, it is truly my hope that we can work with Democrats in Congress in a bipartisan manner to do what is right for the American people.
Glenn Thompson, of Howard, Centre County, represents Pennsylvania’s 5th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.