The tax cut: Christmas gift or bag of coal?

Dec 30, 2017

The recent tax cut is trumpeted by Republicans as a sweeping overhaul to our tax system that will drive our economy, and put the wheels in motion for a boom that will create jobs and raise the wealth of our middle class.

The majority of Americans remain skeptical; they see tax reform as a give-back to corporations and the rich.

For those skeptical of the trickle-down from an expanded economy, the fear is that it won’t offset the costs and the worry is that the middle class will bear the brunt of paying this back while losing more than they gained in the process.

To pay for this, Republican leaders talk about the savings from eliminating mandatory health care, and ending entitlements (which will include cuts to Social Security benefits), which hurt those who need it the most.

Here’s the analogy; picture every middle-class person getting a credit card in the mail, with a $1,000 spending limit loaded onto it every year for the next four. No payments due for four years. A “spend now, pay later” program that is hard not to like if you are living in the present. You can pay down bills, put a deposit on a new car, go out to eat, buy some clothes, or go on that vacation you deserve.

It will feel good each year, it will fuel the economy, but in four years when it is time to pay it back, and the benefits of the $1,000 have disappeared, what then?

It defies common sense and sets us up for the bag of coal as the middle class must pay back all their benefits, while getting stuck holding the bag for the corporate cut from 35 percent to 21 percent that remains a (potential) permanent burden to our country.


Speaking of coal and President Trump’s vow to put coal miners back to work, plants keep closing. NPR reports that 17 plants have announced closure since he took office.

In Texas, near Austin, the Sandow Power Plant and nearby mine will put 450 people out of work as well as 30 subcontractor firms, when it closes in mid-January.

This is where trickle-down does have reality; the effect of 450 people out of work will devastate this small town and other businesses will fail because of it.

Even though Trump’s administration has relaxed regulations for this “dirty industry,” it is not enough to offset the fact that alternative energies are more efficient and cost-effective.


The United Nations’ overwhelming vote to reject Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as capital of Israel is eye-opening. Do we really not care how allies and the world view us?

Only 7 additional votes supported the United States and Israel position: Togo, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Marshall Islands, Guatemala and Honduras — all feared retribution and the threat by Trump to cut U.S. funding to countries voting against the United States. Three of our traditional allies, U.K., France and Germany, all voted against us even though they have abstained in the past on votes relating to Israel.

Does putting “America First” include alienating us from the rest of the civilized world when it comes to diplomacy? If so, it could get scary in 2018 and beyond.


“Fake news” continues to be loosely tossed around by those whose agendas are being challenged, in any way, by traditional print and broadcast media.

Anytime a mistake is made, or shoddy reporting is uncovered, throwing out the “fake news” moniker is easy and fashionable. It hits a home run when you muddy the road with diversion techniques.

Fake news would be if someone ran a story they knew to be false, to sway opinion and confuse the public.

In the majority of cases, this is not what happens. Usually it is a mistake; the media takes ownership, and deserves accountability.

Instead, those who fear the truth pounce, use “fake news” as their shield, and then discredit all media in order to take focus off themselves or those they support.

Certainly there are cases when media doesn’t get it right, gives a slanted opinion and omits enough truth to merit criticism; but most of the time, they are going about the business of reporting the news and honoring transparency.

History tends to repeat itself and I hope it does; the media proved vitally important in bringing down the corrupt presidency of Richard Nixon, who did everything he could to disparage the industry.

What is the price we, as a free and open society, are willing to pay for truth?


“When all’s said and done, all roads lead to the same end. So it’s not so much the road you take, as how you take it.”

— Charles de Lint, writer (b. 1951)


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Reade Brower can be reached at:

Disclosure: Reade Brower is owner of these newspapers. The opinions expressed in his columns are his own, and do not represent the newspapers, or their editorial board.


Comments (1)
Posted by: Ronald Horvath | Jan 01, 2018 07:28

"Senate Republicans wrote a bill that phases out tax cuts for the middle class in 2026, while keeping corporate America’s cuts on the books. They insisted that they wanted to cut taxes on the middle class more, but fiscal constraints simply wouldn’t allow them to. Then, they went back into their bill and added a section stipulating that, should their bill expand the deficit less than expected — which is to say, should they have fewer fiscal constraints — then all unexpected revenue should be immediately spent on making corporate America’s permanent tax cuts larger, even as some middle-class families see their tax bills skyrocket."


"The heart of the proposed bill is a giant, unfunded cut in taxes for corporations and wealthy individuals that will add at least $1.5 trillion to the federal debt over the next decade. This is on top of about $10 trillion being added because of unbalanced budgets projected for each of those 10 years. An unfunded tax cut — where we borrow to fill the hole — isn’t really a cut at all. Rather, it’s simply a shift of the tax to our kids, since they will eventually have to pick up the tab.”  -Senator Angus King

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