America needs Trump’s tax reform plan (don’t believe the media scare tactics)

We’re more than two weeks from Halloween, yet the mainstream media is already itching to give the American people a mighty good fright, spinning President Trump’s desperately needed tax reform framework as rash, ill-conceived and even dangerous.

At the same time, the president has been barnstorming across the rust belt and his tax reform plan has been met with enthusiastic approval by energized audiences. This show that our country’s elites still – nearly on year after the election – don’t have a darn clue what matters to real, hardworking Americans.

Like an unfailing barometer, the things that get President Trump’s detractors the most riled up dependably register as the things unapologetically designed to put America first. The fact that so many on the left are so hot and bothered is really all the reason the GOP-controlled Congress should need to pass the president’s tax plan as soon as possible.

Republicans in Congress have to get off their duffs and start supporting the leader who was elected to remake Washington. They blew the opportunity (several times) to eliminate one of the most egregious violations of personal liberty in modern history – ObamaCare. Their failure dissipated a lot of the momentum that could finally make the federal government responsive to its citizens.

Republicans are overdue to deliver a common-sense, landmark piece of legislation. Summer break is over, school is back in session. GOP members of Congress can’t afford another whiff and miss. Their constituents will not forgive them in the rapidly-approaching midterms.

President Trump’s tax reform framework contains several major provisions, all of which bring a much-needed quality to The Swamp: simplicity.

Forking over our money to the IRS just so it can be flushed down into an opaque, bottomless pit of bureaucratic ineptitude is infuriating enough. On top of this, the Tax Foundation estimates that Americans collectively spent $147 billion last year to prepare business income tax returns and $99 billion preparing individual income tax returns. The IRS estimates that we spent a total of 8.9 billion hours complying with tax-filing requirements.

One provision of President Trump’s tax reform framework calls for collapsing the current seven tax brackets into three, with marginal tax rates of 12 percent, 25 percent and 35 percent. This would have the immediate effect of eliminating legions of bean-counters who have built an entire industry and lined their own pockets by serving as the almighty interpreters of thousands upon thousands of pages of regulatory legalese.

Another perfectly sensible proposal is killing the death tax, which unceremoniously celebrated its centennial last year. A Gallup poll last year found that 54 percent of Americans want it eliminated. The tax has a devastating impact on the economy by increasing costs on small businesses.

Currently, 70 percent of family businesses do not survive to the second generation and 90 percent do not survive to the third generation. Families hit by the death tax are often forced to sell off land or valuable business assets, lay off workers, or even shut down entirely as a result.

The president’s tax reform framework further aims to help American businesses regain their competitive edge in a globalized economy increasingly stacked against them. It advises considering methods to reduce corporate double taxation, eliminating the corporate alternative minimum tax, and lowering the top corporate tax rate to 20 percent from the current 35 percent.

But if sustained growth and prosperity is this administration’s goal, the framework is only half of the equation. Our country needs both tax reform and Social Security reform. For without the latter, we are arbitrarily punishing our economy, our most vulnerable citizens, and future generations of American workers.

Fortunately, President Trump is brave enough to clutch third rails with both hands. Having a president ready and willing to buck convention means the chance for the GOP to pivot  finally – and go big.

Because of demographic changes and decades worth of bad public policy, Social Security has ballooned in cost since its inception, consuming nearly one-quarter of annual federal spending. Social Security has two major trust funds, and both are expected to be insolvent by 2034. The inability to act will force a devastating 25 percent across-the-board cut in benefits.

“Kicking the can down the road” doesn’t adequately express the continual unwillingness of our elected officials to tackle the systemic problems of Social Security. A can might get dented from being kicked, but its weight doesn’t change.

Deferring action on Social Security is actually like pushing a snowball down a mountain. It ultimately can accumulate so much speed and mass that it turns into an avalanche. And the moment it destroys the quiet village at the bottom is imminent.  

To be sure, when President Trump pledges “to make America great again,” he means making America a country in which we all have the chance to enjoy the fruits of personal and economic freedom, not just for four years or eight , or even for a few decades. He means beyond the horizon, farther than we can see, so that bureaucracy and the spinelessness of elected officials won’t be the traps that seal our republic’s fate.

Dan Weber is president of AMAC (@MatureAmericans), the 1.3 million-member Association of Mature American Citizens.