By Tom Quiner
I seldom engage friends on Facebook on controversial subjects. There is little upside. People tend to scream on political issues these days on social media.
I focus on family, friends, faith, and grandkids.
Occasionally, though, there is such misinformation, and oftentimes disinformation presented, that I feebly attempt to correct the record. The latest occurred this weekend regarding the Republicans’ proposed tax overhaul, which officially passed both houses of Congress this morning.
Here is the exchange I had:
CATHOLIC FRIEND: U.S. Catholic Bishops strongly object to the proposed tax reform bill. [He posted a link to an article in the liberal American Magazine with this teaser, “No tax reform proposal is acceptable that increases taxes for those living in poverty to help pay for benefits for wealthy citizens.]
QUINER: This article was written a month ago. Since then, the tax credit for children was doubled to $2000. Up to $1400 of the credit is refundable, which means people with no kids who pay no income tax (more than 40% of tax filers) will actually receive checks in the mail. Even more, I heard an economist on Catholic radio yesterday acknowledge that the elimination of high corporate rates and reduction of other disincentives in the tax code will result in $4000 in the pockets of the average household in higher wages. No revisions in the tax code are perfect, but this looks like a huge winner for Americans from top to bottom.
CATHOLIC FRIEND: Stay tuned. The Bishops aren’t always wrong.
QUINER: Nor did I say otherwise. In fact, I agree with them most of the time. For example, their concerns about the elimination of the charitable giving deduction is certainly understandable. All in all, I think this tax plan is a vast improvement over the current code which has proven itself over time to be anti poor and anti middle class if one is concerned with stagnant wage growth.
CATHOLIC FRIEND: I can’t figure out why they don’t have any open hearings on an issue so important. And what’s the big hurry on getting it done before Christmas? I smell something sneaky. We’ll have to wait and see. Follow the money, perhaps?
QUINER: Cynicism is understandable when it comes to politics. I think they’re trying to get the new bill in place by the first of the year so taxpayers can benefit immediately. And the ideas underlying the bill were spelled out by Paul Ryan a few years ago, so I don’t think the principles at work are all that new. The only reason I initially responded to your post is that the article to which you referred was dated, and part of the bishops’ concerns were addressed. Blessings upon you this Christmas!
FRIEND OF CATHOLIC FRIEND RESPONDS: Trickle down is proven false. There will be no $4000 in any working person’s pocket! What we need is a hike in the minimum wage, which hasn’t happened in 18 years! Ike had corporate taxes at 90% with the idea that companies would expand, pay higher wages, and thus prosper the economy as a whole. You’re listening to the wrong economist!
At this point, I could see further dialogue was useless, but a few more responses came in:
FRIEND OF CATHOLIC FRIEND RESPONDS: his bill is a con job, and either Mr. Quiner is blind or he’s part of the con! Only 26% of Americans approve of it, and the product reflects the process. Neither one pass the smell test. Thankfully, it should contribute mightily to the demise of the GOP, which has become a roundup of greedy liars!
And ‘friend of Catholic friend’ left me with one final, cynical parting shot:
FRIEND OF CATHOLIC FRIEND: Oh, blessings on your Christmas!
Setting aside that people living in poverty already don’t pay income taxes, nor do some in the middle class, I was surprised by the unyielding ignorance of these liberals. This tax plan simply builds upon the successful approach employed by John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan in growing jobs and raising middle class wages. In fact, Ted Kennedy, Joe Biden, and Patrick Leahy, all liberals, voted for the Reagan tax plan in 1986.
No sooner had the last vote been counted today than the following happened as reported by Fox News about big employers in the US:
The telecom giant [ATT] said Wednesday that more than 200,000 of its employees, including union-represented and non-management workers, will be eligible for a $1,000 bonus. The checks will be in the mail in time for the holidays if Trump finalizes the tax bill with his signature before Christmas. AT&T also said it will invest $1 billion more than expected in the U.S. in 2018, once the cuts are final.
“Congress, working closely with the President, took a monumental step to bring taxes paid by U.S. businesses in line with the rest of the industrialized world,” AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson said in a statement. “This tax reform will drive economic growth and create good-paying jobs.”
The aerospace and defense company immediately announced $300 million in investments after the bill passed, with $100 million toward corporate giving including employee gift-match programs, $100 million toward workforce development, training and education and $100 million toward enhancing Boeing’s workplaces.
“On behalf of all of our stakeholders, we applaud and thank Congress and the administration for their leadership in seizing this opportunity to unleash economic energy in the United States,” Boeing (BA) President and CEO Dennis Muilenburg said in a statement. “It’s the single-most important thing we can do to drive innovation, support quality jobs and accelerate capital investment in our country.”
And Comcast, Wells Fargo, and Fifth Third Bancorp all announced similar salary hikes and significant investments in workforce development, all because of the passage of Republican tax reform.
As Americans see bigger paychecks practically immediately, it may be the Democrats who rue the day that they unanimously supported the status quo and stagnant wages while opposing tax relief for middle America.
Elections have consequences. If Hillary Clinton had been elected, the bill would have been vetoed. Donald Trump and Republicans have delivered on a ‘uge campaign promise.