Economy & Business

Republicans Should Toot Their Own Tax-Cut Horn

President Donald Trump, flanked by Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Tim Scott (R, S.C.), celebrates the passage of sweeping tax overhaul legislation, on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., December 20, 2017. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
Lower taxes and thicker wallets are impressive and widely distributed.

Amid the Mobius-strip-like endlessness of Robert Mueller’s inquisition, Republicans should remember what may be their best weapon to keep Congress: the GOP tax cut. Republicans should promote its advantages and effects, from sea to shining sea.

“The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act cut taxes for average American households in every state and every congressional district,” Heritage Foundation scholars Kevin Dayaratna, Parker Sheppard, and Adam Michel recently wrote. “The reform will produce larger incomes, more jobs, more investment, and, ultimately, more economic opportunity.”

These lower taxes and thicker wallets are impressive and widely distributed.

“In 2018,” Heritage calculates, “taxpayers will save an average of $1,400, and married couples with two children will save $2,917. Over the next 10 years, because of a larger economy driven by tax cuts and the tax cuts themselves, the typical American household will benefit from more than $26,000 more in take-home pay, or $44,697 for a family of four. These benefits could be even greater if the tax law is made permanent, and could disappear if the tax cuts are repealed.”

Voters, activists, journalists, and candidates should visit the Heritage Foundation’s Protect Our Paychecks website — and consult my spreadsheet of key tax-cut-related data points that will affect several highly competitive races. Heritage’s easily navigable map details how many “crumbs” taxpayers are enjoying in every state and congressional district. Such data could fortify letters to the editor, stump speeches, TV interviews, etc.

“It’s sunnier than ever in Wisconsin,” a hypothetical campaign ad might say. “We are smiling and staying busy at work, thanks to the Republican party’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The average Wisconsinite this year is enjoying a $1,076 tax cut. That’s a 12.5 percent tax reduction. Over the next ten years, this totals $18,310 in higher take-home pay per taxpayer and $30,344 for a typical family of four.”

“But Senator Tammy Baldwin isn’t smiling. She voted against the tax savings that are filling the bank accounts of hard-working Wisconsinites. And if Baldwin gets reelected, she and other Democrats vow to snatch these tax cuts from the hands of taxpayers, from Milwaukee to Moose Junction.”

“Leah Vukmir wants Wisconsinites to keep their well-deserved tax cuts. She will push permanent and deeper tax relief. Vote Leah Vukmir for U.S. Senate. Your wallet will thank you.”

Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas) could use Heritage’s numbers in his reelection campaign:

“I was thrilled to vote for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” Cruz could say. “Every day, I grow prouder of that vote. The typical Texan is enjoying a $1,181 tax cut this year — an 11.3 percent reduction. Through 2028, that’s $20,563 more take-home pay and $35,944, if she has a spouse and two kids. But my opponent voted against these tax cuts, saying that they would ‘hurt the very people we so desperately need to be helping.’”

“Oops!”

“The choice is yours: Tax cuts with Ted Cruz or tax boosts with Beto O’Rourke.”

Americans for Tax Reform offers another tax-fighting tool. ATR lists 721 companies — and rising — that plowed their business tax cuts into employee bonuses, pay hikes, and richer perks. ATR’s interactive map shows that, in Missouri alone, Emerson Electric’s corporate taxes are funding bonuses, family leave, and a 3 percent wage increase. Liberty Utilities is sharing tax savings via $17.8 million in lower power bills.

“Thanks to Republican tax cuts,” ATR notes, “90 percent of wage earners have higher take-home pay.”

Such inspiring information should help Republican Josh Hawley send Democrat Claire McCaskill packing.

Beyond what Americans surrender in taxes, they spend plenty more just to tally and file their tax returns. The National Taxpayers Union shows how the TCJA chops these tax-compliance outlays.

“Our annual Tax Complexity Study calculated total compliance costs of the pre-reform tax code at over $300 billion,” NTU’s executive vice president Andrew Moylan told me. “Thanks to TCJA’s increased standard deduction, an estimated 31 million filers no longer need to itemize their taxes. This will limit compliance headaches by 248 million hours. Combined with lower out-of-pocket expenses for tax preparation, these annual savings total $14 billion (atop TCJA’s reduced taxes). This is more than 2.5 times what Americans spend every Black Friday.” By slicing IRS-fueled red tape, Republicans will spare each of these 31 million taxpayers, on average, $450 in time and tax-preparation costs every year.

These tax cuts — plus robust deregulation and (outside the free-trade arena) a pro-business tone in Washington — have helped boost second-quarter GDP growth to 4.2 percent, precisely double Obama’s “new normal” of 2.1 percent average annual GDP growth. The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced this morning that, between August 2017 and last month, average hourly earnings are up 2.9 percent since August 2017 — the best annualized showing since April 2009. The Institute for Supply Management on Tuesday observed the most robust nationwide manufacturing activity since May 2004. The Conference Board last week reported the highest consumer confidence since October 2000. Unemployment is just 3.9 percent, with near-record-low joblessness for women, Hispanics, and blacks. August’s initial joblessness claims were the lowest since December 1969.

“This is called not ‘recovery,’” President Donald J. Trump said this afternoon at a campaign event for Kevin Cramer, North Dakota’s Republican senatorial nominee. “This is called ‘rocket ship.’”

Equipped with these facts and figures, Republicans should talk non-stop about the GOP tax cuts, the urgent need to make them permanent, and the fact that each and every congressional Democrat voted against this epic tax relief.

Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor and a contributing editor of National Review Online.

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