The benefits, even to the wealthiest Americans, come at a steep cost.
While Donald Trump and the GOP may be working to push through a tax plan that puts the interests of America’s wealthiest citizens and companies ahead of the rest of the populace, more than 400 millionaires and billionaires have attached their names to a message to the architects of the plan. Their statement? Thanks but no thanks.
According to The Washington Post, the letter will be released publicly this week and endorsed by the likes of Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield (of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream), philanthropist Steven Rockefeller, and billionaire investment manager George Soros. Though the signed letter has yet to be released, an unsigned draft of the letter is available to read here.
The missive reads:
“Dear Member of Congress:
We are high net worth individuals, many in the top 1%, who care deeply about our nation and its people, and we write with a simple request: Do not cut our taxes.
As you consider changes to the tax code, we urge you to oppose any legislation that further exacerbates inequality. Tax reform should be, at a minimum, revenue neutral — without using gimmicks like dynamic scoring. We are deeply concerned that revenue loss would lead to deep cuts in critical services such as education, Medicare and Medicaid, and would hamper our nation’s ability to restore investments in our people and communities.
The Republican tax plan would disproportionately benefit wealthy individuals and corporations with provisions including repealing the estate tax, repealing the Alternative Minimum Tax, and slashing the top pass-through tax rate. This proposal would mean wealthy people could pay a lower tax rate than many middle-class families and transfer massive inheritances to their heirs tax-free. Such proposals that benefit the wealthy would exacerbate the current wealth disparity in the U.S. where the top 1% of households hold 42% of the wealth.
We believe the key to creating more good jobs and a strong economy is not tax breaks for those of us who have plenty, but investing in the American people. Our civic institutions that help people meet basic living standards and protect the climate are critical to supporting our prosperity as a nation. Yet, Congress is already shortchanging the investments needed to strengthen our economy, and the Administration and some in Congress are looking for deeper cuts. Current federal funding for non-defense discretionary spending was slashed overall by more than 13% (adjusted for inflation) over the past seven years, leaving many programs severely underfunded. While Congress should be finding ways to increase funding for these vital investments, the Republican tax plan would instead add at least $1.5 trillion in tax cuts to the deficit over the next decade. This would leave us unable to meet our country’s current needs and restrict us in advancing any future investments.
A full repeal of the estate tax alone would lose an estimated $269 billion over 10 years — more than we would spend on the Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control, and Environmental Protection Agency combined. While these critical agencies help millions of people, repealing the estate tax would benefit just two out of every 1,000 estates. It is neither wise nor just to give wealthy people more tax breaks at the expense of working families, and it would be especially egregious to fund tax cuts for the wealthy by cutting or dismantling programs that help people meet fundamental human needs like healthcare or nutrition assistance.
Instead, we call on Congress to raise our taxes to bring in additional much-needed revenue and to restore investments to vital services. Doing so will help create jobs, strengthen the middle class, and ensure America’s economic success. Under no circumstance should tax reform lose revenue, especially to provide tax cuts to the wealthy and corporations.
Per a press release, the letter is a joint venture between two groups, United for a Fair Economy’s Responsible Wealth project and Voices for Progress. The press release also contains more personal perspectives by those attaching their names to the letter.
Speaking to The Washington Post, Bob Crandall — a former American Airlines chief executive — explains why catering to people such as himself will do little to bolster the economy. “I have a big income. If my income gets bigger, I'm not going to invest more. I'll just save more,” he said.
Saving is a luxury that will only be afforded the uber-wealthy under the GOP’s tax plan, which is expected to ultimately inflate the United States’ national debt by $1.7 trillion, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
The opportunity to endorse this letter isn’t limited to wealthy. Every citizen in opposition may attach their name to the letter and let their voice be known simply by clicking this link.