How Taxes Work and What an Overhaul Will Mean
A Brief History of Taxes in the US
Here's a brief history of taxes: They began in the 1860s under Abraham Lincoln as a way to pay for the Civil War. While originally intended as temporary, taxes have come to be more or less culturally accepted as a fair thing. Federal taxes are a tax on your earnings, whereas state taxes are levied on your purchases--alcohol, food, cars.
The last time the tax code was rewritten was under Ronald Reagan, in 1986. There are a lot of differences between that tax overhaul and the proposed one, including that the 1986 version was a bipartisan effort that took two years to write. And a central policy of that reform was shifting the tax burden away from individuals, towards corporations, the exact opposite of this proposed one. That overhaul in 1986 was intended to level the playing field for Americans. It made the tax code more complicated, but it also made it more fair. Taxes are complicated because we all make different amounts of money different ways.
The thing about this bill that is completely visible and uncomplicated is the corporate tax break.
The taxes you have paid all of your life go towards things you're supposed to reap the benefits of, including Social Security and Medicare. The proposed plan involves a long-term rollback of those protections.
So, if a tax code overhaul is so complex, and there's so much at stake, why are Republicans in a rush? This is about politics, not policy. They need a win before the 2018 season, and they are trying to shove this through at the end of the year while people are tired and wanting to relax around the holidays. Are you ready to see your parents' hard-earned Social Security go on the chopping block, your student loans no longer be subject to a tax deduction, and your ACA premiums skyrocket?
1. CALL your SENATOR who may vote as soon as mid week (the House has already voted), 202-224-3121, especially if they are in one of the states where Senators are expected to cast a deciding vote. Those are Arizona, Nevada, Tennessee, Alaska, Kansas, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Maine.
2. FORWARD THIS TO FRIENDS IN ARIZONA, NEVADA, TENNESSEE, ALASKA, KANSAS, WISCONSIN, INDIANA AND MAINE. Ask them to use this set of tools to tweet or call
USE THIS SCRIPT (feel free to ad-lib, of course)
I want to tell my Senator that I am paying attention to how they vote on this proposed tax overhaul. This tax code proposal is nothing like the 1986 overhaul that attempted to level the playing field for Americans. Students, seniors, and many other groups will suffer under this giant corporate giveaway. Show me that this tax overhaul is in the best interest of the country and not a way for Republicans to score a policy win for their wealthy donors. Slow down and cross the aisle.