Ask not

“My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” –John F. Kennedy

Tom Reed would like us to focus narrowly on what each of us might save in the short term, rather than what we all will lose in the long term. This is misdirection–we ought to ask if the Republican tax bill is good for America, not how much is in it for us.

Tom Reed posted savings estimates for every congressional district calculated by the Ways and Means Committee, the people responsible for writing the law. This data may or may not be accurate, but it illustrates an important point–MI-11 with median income of $128,000 gets a $4111 saving while MI-13 where the income is $56,000 gets only a $1570 saving.

District Median Income Estimated Tax Savings
MI-11 (Birmingham) $128,000  $4,111
MI-13 (Detroit) $56,000  $1,570

The data are for a family of four. These districts are only a few miles apart. The claim that the law is “transformative” is clearly false–it locks in the status quo; the rich get richer and the poor poorer.

We can hardly blame Tom Reed for putting himself first, if we do the same.

About whungerford

* Contributor at where we discuss the politics, economics, and events of the New New York 23rd Congressional District (Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, (Eastern) Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben,Tioga, Tompkins, and Yates Counties) Please visit and comment on whatever strikes your fancy.
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8 Responses to Ask not

  1. Carol says:

    Yesterday a well-respected Princeton economist called this the most regressive tax in the history of the United States (and also said that it is NOT the biggest tax cut in history and that it blows a hole in the budget, as well as affirming that it is not likely that the US economy will ever reach or sustain the point that the GOP projected as not causing a severe deficit).

    I will believe the economists and scientists and their EVIDENCE-BASED and SCIENTIFIC-BASED conclusions before I would ever believe Tom Reed or Trump, both notorious liars. This tax bill does not help the VULNERABLE, nor does it help the FETUS (except with setup of a potential tax free college fund before birth) who will need health insurance once born, or seniors living on what Ryan calls ENTITLEMENTS that they paid for themselves, or TRANSGENDER folks who need health insurance but cannot afford it. It hurts those who are a large part of the DIVERSITY that is the United States.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. whungerford says:

    I remember the folk song “The clerk’s of Parch’s Grove.” The store owner takes the day off, and the clerks give away the goods.

    I read recently that regressive taxation may be tolerable when government spending substantially benefits the working class. But what we have in America today invites recession–regressive taxation and cuts in the social safety net.


  3. josephurban says:

    (Sorry if this is a double post. I tried to post with my WordPress account and it dod not show up. Maybe it needs to be moderated?)
    The “analysis” is based on smoke and more smoke. Reed does not even know what is in the bill. No one can predict that this will lead to 2.9% annual growth, as the law projects. The “tax breaks” for the middle class will likely be swallowed up by increased health insurance costs since 13,000,000 rooms as primary care facilities and not paying anything. More than 35% of investor profits, the windfall from this bill, will go directly overseas to foreign investors. Since foreign investors now hold more than 35% of the US Stock Market assets. This works for many members of Congress and the Trump family.
    The best line from the GOP: This will lead to a massive pay increases for every American. This statement by the people opposed to minimum wage hikes and a living wage.
    As Carol said in a post, none of these ideas are evidence based or science based. Just ideas .
    Now we can sit back and watch as the GOP Congress sheds crocodile tears next year and calls for cuts to entitlement programs in order to reduce the deficit.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. whungerford says:

    It went into the spam queue; I don’t know why.


  5. Anonymous says:

    Interesting you quote Jack Kennedy, he supported a bill much like this one that was passed in the 60’s


  6. pystew says:

    Nice try, Anonymous, saying that Kennedy “supported a bill much like this one that was passed in the 60’s.” Your standment is a nice generation but you left out the facts.

    The Revenue Act of 1964 was:
    1) created with bipartisan input
    2) reduced top marginal rate (on income over $100,000, roughly $770,000 in 2015 dollars, for individuals; and over $180,000; roughly $1,380,000 in 2015 dollars, for heads of households) from 91% to 70%
    3) reduced the corporate tax rate from 52% to 48%. The GOP Tax Plan cut was more than three times that.
    4) The uneployment rate went from 5.2% to 4.5% Today we are just over 4%–which is considered full employment, and we all realize many workers hold two or three part time jobs to make a living.

    I have used the “That was then, this is now.” statement before, and it fits your scenario. After LBJ negotiated JFK’s tax plan, Congress passed programs that helped the low income earners. I don’t see Trump doing that. Matter of fact, Trump’s “tax breaks” for individuals end in a few year. UnIike Trump’s Plan, the JFK/LBJ’s Tax Plan didn’t increase the threshold on inheritance tax, make College students pay tax on their scholarships, nor elimante deductions. Look deep into the GOP Plan and you’ll see that it gives more benefits to foreign investors than Americans.

    We need to look at the details, not unfounded generations. I wouldn’t compare Donald Trump to John Kennedy if I were you.


  7. Joseph Urban says:

    pystew. Excellent point. I would be very happy to implement the tax cuts that JFK supported in 1964.


  8. whungerford says:

    What is right depends on the circumstances. When the economy is down, tax cuts and deficit spending are proper and inevitable. When the economy is booming tax cuts are wrong–that’s the time for a better balanced budget. President Hoover, much maligned, wrote that government should have infrastructure projects, like Hoover Dam, ready in case of hard times. The great recession of 2007 was not the time to cut government spending.

    Government spending is neither good nor bad–the state of the economy matters as well as what is funded. Facing irreversible climate change, government would do well to budget for hurricanes, wild fires, and other dangers to health and well-being. Watch out when politicians promote inappropriate policies or reasonable policies at inappropriate times.

    Merry Christmas to all with a wish for joy, good health, and prosperity in the New Year.


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