In today’s heated political environment, it seems like Americans don’t agree on much of anything. But there is one issue that brings people from across the ideological spectrum together: tax reform. According to a recent Harvard-Harris poll, nearly 90 percent of Americans think it’s time to overhaul our broken tax code.
Tax reform unites Americans because fixing the outdated tax code isn’t about politics — it’s about helping people. But unless Sen. Claire McCaskill and other lawmakers are willing to set aside their partisan agendas, Missourians will continue to be trapped in a failed system that keeps them from getting ahead.
Today, the overwhelming majority of Americans feel like the economy is rigged against them. It’s no wonder. The current tax code is packed with loopholes and tax breaks carved out by an army of lobbyists in Washington working on behalf of special interests.
This year, tax loopholes are expected to total more than $1.5 trillion. These handouts overwhelmingly benefit the powerful and well connected, and everyday Americans are paying more as a result.
Last year, IRS tax collections represented more than one-fifth of Missouri’s gross domestic product. Billions of dollars that could have been used to create jobs, launch small businesses and grow our state’s economy went to Washington instead.
Americans feel stuck. The country is experiencing the weakest economic recovery since World War II. Here in Missouri and around the country, families are facing anemic economic growth and slow job creation.
That’s why the framework the Trump administration and leaders in Congress rolled out is so encouraging. The plan levels the playing field, simplifies the tax code and lowers rates for families and businesses.
Implementing this tax reform plan is the single best way Congress can improve the lives of all Missourians. Lowering individual tax rates means more money in families’ pockets to spend on what’s important to them. Closing loopholes for the special interests increases fairness. Lowering the corporate tax rate means more jobs and higher wages for American workers. And simplifying our tax code creates an unrigged economy where everyone can succeed.
Americans have seen tax reform work before. Tax cuts under the Kennedy, Reagan and Bush administrations all helped create millions of new jobs and thousands more in disposable income for American families. Each of these tax cuts meant better lives for countless Americans, and it can happen again if lawmakers are willing to make good on their promises.
In the past, McCaskill has been a vocal supporter of tax reform. She said the current tax code was “broken and needs reform.” She said she supports lower corporate tax rates. She said she wants to level the playing field. She said she wants U.S. businesses to be competitive in the global economy once again.
Yet now that she has the chance to implement those kinds of reforms, McCaskill is balking. She likes to claim she’s for reasonable tax reform, but she recently signed onto a letter making a number of unreasonable demands that would block genuine tax reform.
If McCaskill is serious about helping Missourians, she should champion this tax reform framework. Fixing our broken tax code will unleash a new era of economic opportunity in which our state’s families and businesses can thrive. She shouldn’t stand in the way of that progress.
Jeremy Cady is the Missouri state director of Americans for Prosperity, a 501(c)(4) organization.