Monday, December 18, 2017

National Debt can't be ignored!

Weekly Opinion Editorial
by Steve Fair

     The federal tax proposal that Congress will likely pass and President Trump will sign has been the subject of debate, caricature and misinformation.  Democrats said it benefits the rich because it will reduce the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21% and repeals the financial penalties for not purchasing health insurance.   Republicans say it will benefit the middle class and stimulate the economy(supply side economics) and ultimately be revenue neutral.  It is estimated the bill will cut taxes $1.5 trillion dollars.
     Critics of the plan say it will add to the national debt.  Janet Yellen, the outgoing Federal Reserve Chair, told Congress last week that the national debt should keep Americans up at night. Yellen is no conservative and has always been more concerned with unemployment than with inflation, but she is right about the national debt issue.  The national debt is quickly approaching $21 trillion dollars, half of it owed to foreign governments.  That fact is not lost on Oklahoma’s junior U.S. Senator James Lankford.  In late November Lankford asked about the effects of the tax cuts on the national debt: "What if the growth estimates don't hit point 0.4%? What happens? What should happen in the tax code to make adjustments? Every economist is guessing.  We should build in the ‘what if.’  What if this doesn't work? What changes might be needed in the tax code in the days ahead to be able to adjust in what scenario? So, if the revenues aren't coming in, should the rates change?” Lankford asked.  Since then and after some adjustments to the bill, Lankford has said he would support the bill.
     Appearing on Face the Nation Sunday, Lankford was asked how he could support the tax bill because it would add to the national debt, Lankford said, “Actually, all the independent analysis doesn't note that. The joint committee on tax does note that, but the tax foundation doesn't. There's a lot of others. We have 130 different sets of economists that are out there and part of the challenge is always looking at which one is right. All of them are putting a forecast out there. All of them have different numbers. We have some as high as a 5% growth. We have some as low as 0.8% growth. All of them show economic growth. The guess is how much economic growth is in the bill itself. The target of any time you do tax reform is to try to reduce taxes on individuals and on businesses so they have more money to spend. They can spend that money, that encourages the economy to grow. We know it will grow. Now the guess is how much.”  
     Lankford is right to be concerned about the national debt.  Giving Congressional Republicans and President Trump a legislative victory before Christmas is not nearly as important as being fiscally responsible.  Everyone wants tax cuts, but not at the expense of our kids and grandkids.    
    Want to know how the tax bill will impact your tax bill?  Go to  It is a site hosted by John Stossel’s producer

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