Sarasota Herald-Tribune: Buchanan omits tax-bill facts
As a lawyer who has spent years in the courtroom representing clients against insurance companies and big corporations, I was immediately struck by the imbalance of facts and spin in Congressman Vern Buchanan’s Jan. 21 guest column.
In his first sentence, he proclaimed that “the verdict is in” on the Trump/Buchanan tax law, but failed to submit all the evidence to the jury: in this case, his constituents.
Buchanan omitted that the tax cuts will explode the deficit, something he always insisted would be a catastrophe, until now — potentially forcing cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, while burdening our children and grandchildren with trillions of dollars in new debt.
So how does the tax bill affect the average working person?
While, in the short term, some middle-class families might benefit, the truth is that many Florida families will actually see their taxes increase. Health insurance premiums are likely to go up for all of us because of the Trump/Buchanan tax scam. Accordingly, at the end of the year, a middle-class family will likely have less money in their pockets than they had before.
Finally, unlike the permanent tax advantages bestowed on corporations and the wealthy, the so-called “middle class tax cuts” expire in 2025.
Buchanan’s column referenced a handful of corporations that have indicated they will give their employees bonuses and raises due to their cash windfall from the tax plan, but we have seen this scenario before: an initial gesture to the workers, then back to business as usual. Profits over people.
Walmart announced it would be raising its hourly minimum wage and give out $1,000 bonuses — just before announcing it would close 63 of its Sam’s Club Warehouse stores. They didn’t even notify the employees of the store closings, so employees showed up to work and found a note on the door.
AT&T announced it would give $1,000 holiday bonuses to 200,000 employees — and then proceeded to fire thousands of workers across the United States.
Worse still, Kimberly-Clark, the makers of Huggies and Kleenex, announced it was using its tax cut to fund a reorganization that will fire 13 percent of its workforce and close 10 of its manufacturing plants. After receiving enormous benefits from the Trump/Buchanan tax cuts, the company is using its windfall to “restructure” — by distributing $2.3 billion through dividends and share purchases, after firing thousands of employees.
History has taught us that relying on the generosity of corporate America to trickle down to the workers has never been a good recipe for a thriving economy.
Congress should have passed a tax law that would have given all Americans the opportunity to earn a good life. Only a fair and balanced approach to tax policy can fix our long-term challenges and promote economic growth that increases income for all Americans without mortgaging our future.
Ironically, Buchanan’s signature issue since first elected has been the importance of passing a balanced-budget amendment. However, he didn’t hesitate to abandon that cause and increase the deficit by $1.5 trillion when the opportunity arose to enrich his wealthy donors at the expense of the middle class.
As the House of Representatives’ name suggests, a member is supposed to “represent” all of the people in one’s district, not just the wealthy donors and special interests who fund his campaigns.
David Shapiro is a Sarasota attorney and a candidate for the Democratic nomination to oppose incumbent Vern Buchanan in this year’s Congressional District 16 race.