By now, you’ve read all about the rich people who are now far richer since Republicans passed their tax bill. You might have even come across articles highlighting members of Congress who bought new yachts and properties with their tax savings. For just a moment, though, let’s reflect on the people on the other side of the inequality gap.
Members of Congress feign ignorance, but there are a lot of people who are struggling to get by and must depend on the kindness of strangers just to meet their basic needs. There are many Americans who go into the church down the block through the back door, unfold the tables and chairs that you thought were only used for wedding receptions, and are grateful to get a hot meal. But due to last year’s tax bill, religious institutions and other nonprofits will see their tax responsibility go up so millionaires’ can go down, putting the services the former offer at risk.
Congressional Republicans, in their infinite wisdom, chose to bring down the price tag of their $1.5 trillion tax cuts by pushing part of the burden on those least able to pay more. Now, under the new law, if you drive to the church to work there, the church has to figure out how much of a benefit you are getting from being able to use the church parking lot, and pay taxes on that as extra income. (The church can be tax free, but according to the new changes to the tax code, the parking lot is not). The reasoning behind this comes from the fact that corporate executives are required to pay tax on their personal use of corporate jets. Because of this, Republicans have decided it’s only fair that other people pay taxes on what they consider “perks” of the job.
Of course, this ignores the functions of big businesses, and of nonprofits. One’s sole purpose is to rake in profits, the other’s is to provide a social good for the community. To tax them both as if they are the same will be the demise of the latter, and severely lower the number of Americans who choose to work in such a modest-paying field.
For legislation that was supposed to make our tax code fairer, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has only made matters worse. In their efforts to simplify how taxpayers file returns, Republicans have chosen to treat two separate entities as the same, all in an effort to balance billions in tax cuts for corporations. Instead of being fairer, it pushes the tax burden on those least able and structured to pay. This is not what Americans asked for, and it’s not what our country needs during a period of profound wealth and income inequality. With another round of tax cuts making its way to the Senate, it’s time for voters to prove there is an electoral consequence to robbing the poor to further enrich the the wealthy.