***VIDEO RELEASE*** Menendez Goes on Facebook Live to Detail the Truth about Republican Tax Plan
***VIDEO RELEASE*** Menendez Goes on Facebook Live to Detail the Truth about Republican Tax Plan
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In remarks today on Facebook Live, U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) explained the various ways the Republican Tax Plan hurts the middle class, increases our deficit, and helps corporations and the top 1% at the expense of working families.
Senator Menendez’s remarks as prepared for delivery follow:
“As we speak, Republicans in the Senate are doing everything they can to limit debate on their tax bill and pass this thing before the American people get a whiff of how much it stinks. So that’s why I’m talking to you right now. Because you deserve to know what’s going on.
“Only in Washington…Only in Washington could Republicans borrow a trillion dollars from China to fund massive tax cuts for big corporations and STILL need to raise taxes on millions of Americans in order to pay for it.
“Look, I understand my Republican friends are in a pickle. They need to give President Trump a win. The problem is that this White House is asking them to pass a tax plan built on the most unpopular policies in America.
“And my colleagues know it. They know that after all the American people have been through -- the financial crisis, the Great Recession, decades of wage stagnation and soaring education, housing and health care costs.
“After all of this hardship, cutting taxes for corporations, taking health care away from 13 million people, and raising taxes on the middle class isn’t exactly a recipe for winning the hearts of voters - let alone a strategy for building a more dynamic, inclusive, and prosperous economy for all Americans.
“So yes, Republicans are in tough spot. They know that if we had a sensible campaign finance system, policies this disastrous would spell disaster for them in 2018. That’s why they designed a tax bill that has nothing to do with simplifying our tax code, nothing to do with growing the wages of American workers, nothing to do with creating jobs – and everything to do with pleasing the corporate special interests that fund their campaigns.
“That’s what brings us here today. That’s how Senate Republicans are on the verge of passing, with just 51 votes, massive tax cuts for corporations, paid for by raising taxes on working families and saddling our grandchildren with trillions in debt.
“Now, some of you at home might wonder how the GOP can get away with parading this bill around as a middle class tax cut. It’s because they’re using smoke and mirrors to dupe you into thinking you’re getting a tax cut.
“These so-called deficit hawks passed a budget that gives themselves permission to add $1.5 trillion to the national debt by 2026 – so long as they don’t add a dime more to our deficit after 2027. Here’s the problem. It’s damn near impossible to permanently slash the corporate tax rate from 35 to 20 percent without hiking taxes on millions of people.
“Call it ‘inconvenient math. That’s why Republicans offer some families tiny, temporary tax relief without owning up to the fact that Cinderella’s chariot turns into a pumpkin really fast. By 2019, Americans who make under $30,000 a year will be financially worse off under this plan. By 2021, Americans earning $40,000 will be worse off. And by 2027, anyone earning less than $75,000 a year would be worse off.
“Now, I’ll admit they’ve found some pretty clever ways to pull off this con-job. First, they end the State and Local Tax Deduction and force millions of hardworking middle class families in states like New Jersey to pay taxes twice on the same money. These families aren’t high-rollers. In fact, 83 percent of New Jerseyans who claim the SALT deduction make under 200,000 a year. Nearly half make under $100,000.
“I’ll say it again – ending the SALT deduction is like one giant hit-job on middle class families in states like New Jersey. And my constituents can’t afford to subsidize the rest of the country any more than they already do.
“But I’ll say this about my Republican colleagues. At least they’re being honest about the SALT deduction. At least they’re being honest about a bill that punishes the states that make the most investments in the middle class, drive the most innovation, generate the most federal revenue, and yes, vote for Democrats.
“But here’s what really ticks me off. It’s the sneaky, secret tax hikes Republicans buried in this bill that bilk billions of dollars from Americans’ paychecks in the next two decades. Again, we know why they have to do it. Even after borrowing $2 trillion from China, there’s no way to pay for permanent corporate tax cuts without taking a bigger cut from American workers.
“And boy, have they found a sneaky way to do it. It’s the most complicated, convoluted, boring tax increase in history. And yet it takes $500 billion out of American paychecks and sends it straight into the coffers of multinational corporations. Bravo!
“It’s called the Chained-CPI. It’s a tiny tweak to how the government measures the cost of living, aka inflation. Now here’s the thing about inflation. Ask any American walking down the street if their wages have kept pace with rising costs. They will laugh in your face. They’ll tell you their incomes have barely budged, while everything from the cost of milk to college tuition gets more expensive every year.
“But what if the government pretended the rising costs weren’t such a hardship? Well, that’s the chained-CPI tax increase. Don’t take it from me. Take it from a Republican tax hero - Grover Norquist. Here’s what he had to say about the Chained CPI back in 2013:
‘This is one of those things invented by people who are trying to raise taxes and pretend they’re not. If you change the law to get more money, that’s a tax increase—doesn’t matter how you do it or what you call it.’
“Look, we all expect to pay a little more in taxes if we get a big raise at work. But now Republicans want you to pay a little more in taxes even if you don’t get a raise. Each year, more of your income will be taxed in higher brackets, at the very same time your deductions and tax credits slowly lose their value.
“It’s a clever way for the government to shave a bit more off your paycheck every year – even if your income hasn’t risen in years! It’s a Republican tax on wage stagnation. And a Republican tax on the millennial generation.
“That’s right, millennials are just now entering their prime earning years, and apparently they haven’t had it hard enough. Not after the Great Recession. Not after drowning them in student loan debt. Because that’s what Congress really needs to do - stick to the millennials so that the Koch brothers get a nice tax cut.
“The American people deserve to know the big lie at the heart of the Trump tax plan. The meager tax cuts for families are written in disappearing ink, while the sneaky tax hikes are carved into stone.
“It is the Republican Majority’s dirty little secret. The secret that even after borrowing $2 trillion from China, they can’t permanently cut taxes for corporations without hiking taxes on millions of middle class Americans and millions more who dream of becoming middle class.
“And we’ve heard this all before – wild claims about tax cuts for the rich trickling down to working families. When you and I both know they never do. Look, I was in the House of Representatives back when Congress passed the Bush tax cuts. I opposed taking the historic surplus President Bush inherited and squandering it on tax cuts, 27 percent of which went to the top 1 percent of Americans.
“But that’s chump change compared to 60 percent that goes to the wealthy in the Trump tax plan. By 2027, Americans who make $40-to-$50,000 a year will pay a combined $5.3 billion more in taxes, while those who make millions get a $5.8 billion cut.
“There you have it - Republicans are A-OKAY with wealth redistribution so long as it’s taking from working families and giving to the richest one percent. And that 60 percent number doesn’t include the death blow this plan delivers to the Affordable Care Act. The financial cost to families when 13 million Americans lose their health care coverage, and everyone else gets saddled with higher premiums.
“Meanwhile, some Republicans are openly admitting this tax bill will be the first shot fired in their race to dismantle Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare. In fact, the CBO already said these tax cuts will trigger huge multibillion dollar cuts to Medicare.
“And that’s not the only way this is bill screws over America’s seniors! According to the AARP, 5.2 million seniors will face HIGHER taxes in the next decade. Think about that – asking seniors, who’ve given this country a lifetime of hard work, to pay for corporate tax cuts.
“And we know what corporations do with those tax cuts. During the Bush tax holiday back in 2005, Republicans promised big gains for workers. But corporations didn’t bring the billions of dollars they stashed offshore back home so they could build new factories, create millions of new jobs, or pay their workers better wages. The lion’s share of that windfall went to just two things: higher pay for CEOs and kickbacks for their investors on Wall Street!
“So I’m not sure why White House Advisor Gary Cohn seemed so surprised the other day when so few CEOs said they’d use the Trump tax cuts to invest in American jobs. Does anyone actually believe things will be any different this time? Of course not!
“How do we know? Because unlike Republicans in Congress, corporations cannot lie to their shareholders about what they plan to do with their trillion dollar tax cuts! Their CEOS are openly admitting this windfall will go straight to Wall Street. That’s why I’m pushing for changes to this tax bill that would take away these big corporate tax cuts if workers’ don’t see bigger paychecks.
“Of course, that’s not what Republicans have in mind with this bill. This tax plan has nothing to do with helping hardworking families in New Jersey and across America get ahead. It’s not about helping folks who have good jobs but still live paycheck to paycheck.
“It’s about one thing - cutting taxes for big corporations that are raking in record profits but just straight out refuse to pay their workers a decent wage. It’s about cutting taxes for trust fund kids who were born on third base and think they hit a triple. It’s about paving the way for massive cuts to Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security, and bankrupting states of the resources they need to invest in education, infrastructure, public health, and opportunity for all.
“These are the backwards priorities of Republicans in Congress. Tax cuts for big corporations and wealthy campaign donors, paid for by taking a bigger cut out of workers’ paychecks and saddling our grandchildren with $2 trillion in debt.
“The only people who come out on top already sit at the very top. So much for draining the swamp. This is as mucky as it gets. You deserve better. And I hope you speak out – so that my colleagues come to their senses and put the brakes on this terrible tax bill.”