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OPINION- Editorial

Look for a rising tide

By Chicago Tribune

This article was published December 7, 2017 at 3:07 a.m.

Congress is now in the final wrestling match stage of creating a $1.5 trillion tax reform package. House and Senate Republicans must resolve differences in their bills in order to hand completed legislation to President Donald Trump.

You know Republicans want to get the deal done, and you know Trump will sign what Congress delivers. If a Republican-controlled Congress and Republican president can’t fulfill a promise to cut taxes, what can they accomplish?

The rest of us care about outcomes, not crowing. Good tax reform should make a complex economy more efficient and ultimately put money in people’s pockets. Some tax deals go heavy on benefiting individuals. This legislation does some of that. But the larger opportunity is on the business side, providing relief and investment incentives to employers. Therefore, our focus is on whether this bill reshapes tax policy in a way that helps Americans become more prosperous by spurring job and wage growth. We believe this tax reform bill will strengthen the American economy and create wealth, so we support passage.

Any vote against this bill is a vote to maintain America as it looks today. Are you happy with the state of the economy since the end of the Great Recession eight years ago? You shouldn’t be. First, discard the impact of the stock market boom fattening your 401(k) since Trump’s election, because that’s due in part to anticipation of tax reform. Kill tax reform and you lose market momentum.

The tax bill helps employers by lowering the top U.S. corporate tax rate from 35 percent to about 20 percent. The final rate hasn’t been set, but it will be more in line with those of other nations.

Our major concern with this bill is the cost. This plan may cost the government $1.5 trillion over a decade in which the Congressional Budget Office expects Washington to collect $43 trillion in revenue if the economy continues on its current, slow-growth trajectory.

If economic growth rises to about 2.5 percent annually, this package could pay for itself. If it doesn’t, the nation’s $20 trillion debt would rise accordingly. Tax reform, then, is an investment in the economy.

One thing we hope that faster growth buys us all is a new national discussion about how to curtail spending and reduce the debt. The country can’t live by one side of the ledger. Eventually, revenue and expenditure need to come into alignment.

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Lifelonglearner says... December 7, 2017 at 4:04 p.m.

This is not tax reform, this is unrepentant deficit spending in disguise.

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