Taxes and Inequality

By HENRY GARRIDO

hg_10-16_10-41Thousands of demonstrators across the United States on April 15 — Tax Day — called for President Donald Trump to release his taxes.

The protest was a reminder of the country’s unfair tax system and glaring inequality. And it was the opening act of resistance to what stands to become the next big political battle: tax reform.

Having failed to replace and repeal the Affordable Care Act with the Republicans’ health-care plan — which in itself would have deepened inequality — Trump aims to implement the greatest tax overhaul since President Ronald Reagan’s changes to the tax code in 1986.

This is very troublesome, because the policies coming out of the White House and the Republican-controlled Congress have favored the rich and powerful — and the Trump administration’s tax “reform” plan continues in that vein.

Trump’s federal budget proposal amounts to a systemic assault on public services and workers.

As the huge cuts in his proposed budget prove, Trump has launched a wrecking ball against the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. State Dept., the U.S. Dept. of Education and the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services.

Here in New York, we are fighting the proposed $6.2 billion cut to the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development’s support for public housing.

On April 20, we participated in a large lunchtime rally to protest the budget reductions, which would have a devastating effect on the New York City Housing Authority, where about 1,000 of our members work and 15,000 live.

We are also deeply concerned that we will face deep cuts in federal funds for public hospitals. Thousands of members work at NYC Health+Hospitals, which already is struggling with a deficit of more than $1 billion.

If you connect the dots of these actions, it is clear what is going on: Tax cuts and dismantling public services are part of a direct assault on the poor and the middle class.

Through tax breaks for the rich and federal budget cuts, the Trump administration will not only dismantle public services, but worsen our country’s profound inequality, now akin to the maldistribution of wealth and income during the Great Depression.

A plutocrat’s dream

The Trump administration and Republicans  have yet to agree upon a tax plan.

But on April 26, Trump  announced his preliminary plan, which will deeply reduce corporate taxes and cut taxes on real estate businesses like Trump’s own empire. The New Yorker referred to the plan as a “plutocrat’s dream.”

His proposal to slash the top rate for corporations from 35 percent to 15 percent could add trillions of dollars to the debt over 10 years.

Trump’s one-page plan calls for a reduction in personal income taxes.

Some in the middle class will benefit from an increase in the standard deduction for taxes. But for the middle class, the  savings resulting from the cut in the personal income tax rates will pale in comparison to what the wealthly receive.

Before Trump released his tax outline, a trail balloon was floated in Washington that called for eliminating the Social Security payroll tax, characterizing the cut as a tax a tax savings  for the middle class. In reality, the step would be a backdoor way to cut Social Security. Under this scenario, Social Security would be funded through ordinary revenue and subject to federal budget cuts imposed by the enemies of the popular government program.

So, the Trump wrecking ball keeps on swinging. We are committed to working with the Resistance, determined to prevent a rollback in government services and a deepening of inequality in our country.

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