- - Thursday, September 28, 2017


Promise them anything, but give them a tax cut. Republicans have a fleeting chance to clear the air of the odor of defeat by making good on a pledge that voters from towns big and small who have heard enough big talk won’t easily forget. If Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan can’t deliver this time, these voters are likely to say, “forget you.” Who needs someone who can screw up a slam dunk?

Limiting government and freeing the individual to reap the fruit of his own blood, sweat and tears (the sweat, anyway) is what Republicans say they are about. Failure to stem confiscatory taxation describes a party without a purpose.

Shaking free from their failed health care reform debacle, President Trump and congressional Republicans have issued their tax cut draft, headlined by a drive to cut the corporate tax rate cut from 35 percent to 20 percent, and 25 percent for pass-through business. The top individual tax rate would fall from 39.6 percent to 35 percent and the current seven individual tax brackets would be reduced to three. A doubling of the standard deduction to $12,000 for an individual and $24,000 for a couple would leave most taxpayers with a significantly smaller tax bill.

The plan’s primary focus is on lower taxes for the millions of working families, which experienced historic economic headwinds during the Obama era. “We will cut taxes tremendously for the middle class,” Mr. Trump said before presenting details in a Wednesday speech in Indianapolis. “It’s time for both parties to come together. We’ve been working on this for a long time, and these are the finishing touches.” He urged Congress make the tax code simple and fair, and to include incentives for business to bring their offshore investments home.

There is no national responsibility more to the point for the businessman-turned-president than to ignite the American economy. The president knows intuitively that enabling workers to keep more of their earnings provides the fuel for small-business entrepreneurs to transform their ideas into products, which is the primary source of new jobs all across the American landscape. A short-term drop in tax revenue can yield a long-term bounty for the Treasury, a phenomenon proved by Ronald Reagan.

Predictably, Democrats have mounted an all-hands-on-deck campaign to defeat the president’s tax-cut initiative. They’re deeply concerned — oh, so very, very deeply concerned — that tax cuts could mean larger federal deficits. They were never troubled when collaborating with Barack Obama to double the national debt to $20 trillion. This concern seems faked.

Bernie Sanders has his own tax plan, and it revises taxes upward, the only direction approved in the liberal/progressive economic canon. Middle-class families would not see their taxes go down, but up by 10 percent. Current rates of 33, 35 and 39.6 percent would leap up to 37, 43 and 48 percent, and Mr. Sanders would impose a new 52 percent rate for incomes of $10 million and above. This is the icing on his collectivist cake. At least Bernie, who concedes that he is a socialist, is honest about his doctrine and determination to “spread the wealth around,” as Mr. Obama called it. Far better to bring the wealth home to those who made it.

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