Marian Wright EdelmanOp-EdOpinion

MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN: Republican Tax Bill Robs the Poor to Feed the Rich

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act recently passed on a nearly straight party-line Republican vote in the U.S. Senate is, like the House-passed bill, a moral abomination. Their enactment would be the death of America’s dream for tens of millions of children. The House and Senate bills favor the wealthiest Americans and most powerful corporations over poor and moderate-income children and families — billionaires over poor babies and powerful corporations over poor children. They are evil.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. warned that “America is going to hell if we can’t use her vast resources to end poverty and make it possible for all of God’s children to have the basic necessities of life.” With both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives now having passed extremely unjust tax bills, I must ask: how can 278 political leaders, 51 Senators and 227 House members, act against the best interests of so many in their states and across our nation to line the overstuffed pockets of powerful special interests with government money?

What religious texts do these members of Congress and those who lobby them read? How did they miss the clear warnings of the prophets and gospels and tenets of every great faith to care for the poor, the sick, the lame and the orphan? Where did they learn that acting as Robin Hood in reverse by denying the poor and powerless child the basic survival needs of food and shelter to give to the wealthy and powerful is acceptable?

There are 565 billionaires in the United States — the 400 richest of whom have a combined net worth of $2.7 trillion. More than 13.2 million children — 1 in 5 — live in poverty in America. Their families of four make less than $24,563 a year. More than six million children live in deep poverty, at less than half the poverty level.

A majority of both houses of Congress and the Trump Administration seek policies to reward millionaires and billionaires and non-needy corporations and add nearly $1.5 trillion — around $150 billion a year for the next 10 years — to our national deficit to do so. And to pay for it, they will deny poor and moderate-income children and families health care, food, housing, child care and other survival assistance or help parents get needed jobs at livable wages to support their families.

Consider some of the facts about these tax cut bills:

Both the Senate and House bills lavishly benefit the wealthiest households and individuals. The Senate bill doubles the estate tax threshold, enabling individuals to inherit tax free up to $11 million and couples up to $22 million. The House bill would eliminate the estate tax entirely.

More than 60 percent of the Senate bill’s individual tax cuts in 2027 go to the richest one percent of households making $1 million or more; 48 percent of current tax-paying households would face tax increases according to the Tax Policy Center. The Senate bill ends individual tax benefits after 10 years while making permanent tax cuts for corporations. The House bill continues both individual and corporate tax cuts.

The Senate’s $1,000 Child Tax Credit increase to benefit families with children and make up for elimination of the personal exemption for dependents provides little or no assistance to poor and middle-income working families. Yet, both the Senate and House bills enable higher income families to qualify for the credit for the first time. Neither Senate nor House bills make the credit fully refundable to help working families with the lowest incomes. Both bills would end eligibility of children in low-income working immigrant families for the credit without Social Security Numbers. Tax paying immigrant families are required currently to have only an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number to qualify for the Child Tax Credit.

The Senate’s permanent corporate tax cuts are partially paid for by repealing the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate and tax penalty. This will leave 13 million fewer people insured in 10 years, raise health insurance premiums for many more and destabilize the health insurance marketplace.

The $1.5 trillion 10-year deficit the House and Senate bills create will cause deep cuts in Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), child care, education, Pell Grants, housing and other critical child services.

No funds will be left over for the next decade to end child poverty for the more than 13.2 million children struggling to grow up healthy and educated.

Imagine spending $1.5 trillion or even one-tenth of that each year on children’s needs? Two years ago CDF commissioned the Urban Institute to assess steps to end child poverty right now. We identified modest improvements to nine programs we knew helped reduce child poverty: increasing the value of SNAP’s food benefits, providing housing subsidies for poor and near-poor families with children, making the Child Tax Credit fully refundable, increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit for the lowest income families, creating a subsidized jobs program, increasing the minimum wage, expanding the federal child care subsidy program, making the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit fully refundable, and helping more families get child support payments. Implementing all these improvements together would lift 60 percent of all poor children and 72 percent of poor children of color from poverty for a year, at a $77.2 billion federal and state government cost — less than half of one year of the $1.5 trillion deficit increase. A $1.5 trillion investment could lift these children from poverty to adulthood.

We must tell Congress to reject this morally indefensible tax boondoggle and instead invest in protecting children and maintaining any semblance of fairness.

Not one new dime in tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires as long as more than 13.2 million children are poor, and millions of children are hungry, uneducated, homeless and without health coverage. Stand up and fight. A nation that does not stand up for its children does not stand for anything and will not stand tall in the future.

Marian Wright Edelman is the president of the Children’s Defense Fund.

Related Articles

One Comment

  1. Hello Washing Informer. Thank you Ms. Marian Wright Edelman for your column, “Republican Tax Bill Robs the Poor to Feed the Rich”. Of course after your column was published, this Bill went on to become Law, with all (but 12) Republicans on board. Your column accurately describes what this Legislation really is. From research, the large corporations, large pass through businesses (like the Trump Organization)and the wealthy and high income households benefits the most as the breakout throughout a ten year period shows them getting a higher percentage of the tax-cuts (about double to three times the amount in contrast to the middle to lower class individuals). While corporate tax cuts are to be permanent, the proponents of this bill have argued that with large corporations benefiting from the tax cuts, this will create more income to go back in their companies, a stronger economy, and it will create higher wages for employees and more jobs for potential employees. The problem with this is that this will not be mandated, but with the decision of that company, which means that higher wages across the board and more jobs are not guaranteed. Second, within the years passed the low tax cut percentage to middle to lower income earners will diminish, and so they will soon be paying more. Programs that benefit the lower income and families that need assistance will experience deep cuts and will not be able to effectively accommodate them. From solely their addiction to repeal (notice how they keep using that term to belittle the success of the Affordable Care Act) the ACA, they are willing to eliminate a mandate leaving 13 million uninsured within the 10 year period. Moderate Republicans were deceived into thinking the Alexander-Murray Act that would provide funding for insurance subsidies (for them to continue providing discounts to lower-income and elder patients)would stabilize the elimination of the mandate. However they are both different issues and the negative effect of the mandate being removed will be more of an impact than the Alexander Murray Act. I was very disappointed that the moderates signed off on this bill. The Republicans further added insult to injury by falsely indicating that they tried reaching out and making this a bi-partisan effort. No they didn’t they want to make it a bi-partisan. Democrats tried to reach out to them, but Republicans refused their support. In addition, with the direction of the bill and the repeal mandate, they knew Democrats would not sign on to this. I guess having a legislative victory is more important to the Republicans than having a bi-partisan law that would be for all the American people, not just the elite.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Washington Informer Newspaper, 3117 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE, Washington, DC, 20032, You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Back to top button

My News Matters to me - Washington Informer Donations

Be a Part of The Washington Informer Legacy

A donation of your choice empowers our journalists to continue the work to better inform, educate and empower you through technology and resources that you use.

Click Here Today to Support Black Press and be a part of the Legacy!

Subscribe today for free and be the first to have news and information delivered directly to your inbox.

Select list(s) to subscribe to

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Washington Informer Newspaper, 3117 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE, Washington, DC, 20032, You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker