Some Have A Conscience

There is a letter being sent this week to Congress, signed by over 400 people, asking Congress not to cut taxes on the wealthy, as is called for by the tax reform bills currently being debated in both the House and the Senate. So, what makes this letter newsworthy?  The 400 signers of the letter are some of the wealthiest people in the nation, and they are asking Congress not to cut their taxes.

According to a story in The Washhington Post …

The letter calls on Congress not to pass any tax bill that “further exacerbates inequality” and adds to the debt. Instead of petitioning tax cuts for the wealthy, the letter tells Congress to raises taxes on rich people like them.

They would rather see the government use the funds to invest in education, research and roads that benefit everyone and to ensure that safety net programs such as Medicaid aren’t cut.

The letter specifically criticizes Congress for attempting to repeal the estate tax, which is only paid on assets worth more than $5.49 million ($11 million for couples) that are left to heirs. The House bill would eliminate the estate tax entirely. The Senate plan would double the threshold so people could inherit up to $11 million ($22 million for couples) tax free.

The tax bills under consideration this week would raise the national debt by $1.5 trillion.  The national debt as of this writing is $20.5 trillion, though as I checked on the U.S. debt clock  it rose by more than $100,000 in the few seconds it took me to check it.  It is unthinkable to intentionally raise the debt with no clear plan for its reduction.

The plan, currently being called ‘Trump-onomics’, is nothing more nor less than the old Reagonomics, or ‘trickle down’ economics that I addressed earlier this year in a post titled “It Trickles Up … Not Down!”  .  The title says it all.  Retired American Airlines CEO, Bob Crandall, one of the signers of the letter, hit the nail on the head, saying “I have a big income. If my income gets bigger, I’m not going to invest more. I’ll just save more.”  As will all the rest.

So, who are the signers of this letter?  They are members of a group called Responsible Wealth, “a network of business leaders, investors, and inheritors in the richest 5% of wealth and/or income in the U.S. who believe that growing inequality is not in their best interest, nor in the best interest of society.” Among the signers are Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream founders, fashion designer Eileen Fisher, billionaire hedge fund manager George Soros, philanthropist Steven Rockefeller, and Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labour.

The letter 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.

Respectfully,

This tax bill is not in the best interest of this nation, and it is certainly not in the best interest of We The People.  It serves only one very small demographic sector – the extremely wealthy.  It is We The People who will pay the price.  I am encouraged, however, that there are at least a few in that sector who have a conscience, who remember the purpose of government, the goal of taxation.  My hat is off to all signers of this document … now if only enough members of Congress open their eyes and ears to reality, rather than thinking of the donors who are lining their own pockets.

And now, friends, it is time for us to do the same … write or call your representatives in Congress and let them know this tax bill is an abomination and ask them not to support it.  Thank you …

31 thoughts on “Some Have A Conscience

  1. Dear Jill,

    I will tweet this letter to every republican senator in the US Congress. This is the perfect letter which spells out loud and clear that the US is going to raise our debt to give a tax cut to the rich and big businesses. This has nothing to do with helping the middle class except in the most superficial of ways. What they don’t say is that they will have to take away middle class benefits like being able to deduct interest paid on student loans, job moving out of pocket expenses and a host of other typical deductions.

    The republicans in the US Congress are rushing this bill towards passage because they know that as peoples find out more about their tax cuts plans, there will loud and persistent objections.

    Hugs, Gronda

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    • That’s a great idea, Gronda! I didn’t think of tweeting it, but I shall do that tomorrow!

      Yes, it was a great letter, wasn’t it? And I am so encouraged that 400 of the wealthiest people in the nation have such a conscience and care more about the nation and its people than adding to their own coffers.

      Hugs!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Jill, their voice should be heard loudly and clearly. What Congress and the President are considering is malfeasance. What is also lost is the $20.5 trillion debt is projected to go up if nothing is done. These tax bills increase the debt another $1.5 trillion maybe more. That will put us at $32 trillion. The airline CEO said it well. Giving me more money will give me more to save.

    I heard on the news tonight that the GOP leaders in Congress know these are mediocre bills, but they have to pass something. That is not conducive to good legislation. It is beyond poor stewardship, it is malfeasance. Keith

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is indeed malfeasance. The health of the nation and its people is at stake, and they are concerned about making the rich, richer. Remember that one who said his donors told him to pass this bill OR ELSE? Rather makes a mockery of the whole system, doesn’t it?

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      • Jill, and now that President is on his way back, he has thrown another Trump-wrench into the mix and says reduce the top tax bracket to 35%, which would give even more money to the rich. The scoring of the Senate bill says 13.8% of those making less than $200,00o will see a tax increase. His followers need to know who this man focuses on helping – long live the oligarchy!

        Keith

        Liked by 1 person

        • I agree that his followers need to know, but it would seem that they don’t care. i don’t understand it … but I make the comparison to Roy Moore — look how many have said they didn’t really care if he did or didn’t sexually assault young girls, they would vote for him anyway. I begin to wonder if there are any ‘lines in the sand’ where the trumpites say, NO. This tax bill surely cannot pass the Senate. Surely there are at least 3 republican senators who will put their consciences to work and vote against it. Right?

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  3. All I can say is wow. I read every word of that letter and it literally choked me up. I understand that ‘they’ want to head off a major social and economic crisis, so the letter is not completely altruistic but…it IS admirable in every sense of the word. In an era when everyone seems to be out for No.1, this is a plea of the ‘us’ of nationhood. I think this is the kind of thinking that made America great before. I hope it can do so again. Bravo from DownUnder.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I thought it was great, too! I just hope the members of Congress listen to the message. These wealthy people, like Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and others, are the antithesis of those who would seek greater profit at the expense of the health of the nation and its people. Some of the others ought to be hanging their heads in shame about now, but I’m sure they’re not.

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      • Sadly the altruistic ones are mostly in the minority. But it feels wonderful to know they do exist. I think most of us see all rich people as either hedonistic twits with inherited wealth, or borderline sociopaths with no scruples or conscience. Come to think of it that sounds a lot like someone we both know. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • 😀 Agreed … that is exactly how I typically think of rich people. And then, when I come across someone like Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, or these 400, I feel guilty for stereotyping.

          Congratulations, by the way, to Australia! Great job on the same-sex marriage issue!

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