How to Win on Taxes
The Tax Code and the “Rigged” Economy
What exactly is the tax code?
The question at the heart of our tax system is – how do we divide up the tab in a way that’s fair, so that everyone is doing their part and there isn’t too much of a burden on one group or another? It’s not all that different than dividing up the tab at a restaurant. The grown-ups pay for the kids and probably cover grandma. And everybody has been to dinner with that guy who orders the steak and wants to pay for the burger. Republicans in Congress (and their billionaire donors) are kind of like that guy. No one likes that guy.
So today I want to talk to you about the tax code, but I wanted to make sure that we start off understanding how simple it actually is. Our federal tax code specifies who pays how much in taxes and how different economic activities are rewarded or discouraged. That’s it. It’s that simple.
By the way, they make it complicated on purpose – to try to confuse you – but that’s all it is. The federal tax code is a big document with pages and pages of text that basically:
1) divides up who pays how much in taxes
2) outlines incentives and disincentives for different economic activities that we want to encourage or discourage so our society as a whole will work.
That document – the federal tax code – is one of the most essential building blocks of our nation’s economy.
Pivot to the Economy
So let’s talk about the economy for a minute. Some politicians out there – my opponent among them – want to tell you that the economy is doing great. They’ll even give you some figures to back it up – GDP growth, unemployment rates – and by some of those indicators, the economy is doing well.
But I have a suggestion for you. The next time someone – like my opponent for example – tries to tell you the economy is doing well, the first question you should ask is “for whom”? For whom is the economy doing well? The donut factory is doing great, but who’s eating all the donuts?
Is the economy doing well for you? For you? Do you think it’s doing well for the millions of Americans working 2- 3 jobs? Is it doing well for the 40% of americans who make less than $30,000 a year? Is it doing well for the middle class families who worry every day that the bottom is going to fall out? For most Americans, it’s getting harder and harder to make ends meet. And for almost everyone, it’s clear that something is dreadfully wrong.
So what’s going on? And why?
A lot of voters believe our economy is “rigged,” that the richest people in the country are capturing all of the benefits of the economy, and that the basic needs of American citizens are being ignored by politicians who only serve their political donors.
Guess what? They’re right.
So how exactly do you rig an economy? You start with the tax code.
Republican Rewrote the Entire Federal Tax Code
In 2017, in a single massive piece of legislation – that was passed on a strict party line vote with every democrat voting against it and just about every Republican voting for it – Republican politicians rewrote the entire federal tax code. They had the power – they controlled all three branches of the federal government – and with it they created the tax code they and their donors wanted.
And that “rigging” that we’ve all been worried about for a while? With the passage of their tax bill, that “rigging” became federal law.
Let me be 100% clear: THE REPUBLICAN TAX CODE deliberately rigs the economy in favor of the political donor class and permanently disadvantages working Americans and the middle class.
But you don’t have to believe me – it’s all there in black and white – in pages and pages of text that make up the Republican tax code.