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The Question Democrats Fear Most

Tom McClintock
Congressman Tom McClintock

As the tax reform bill entered its final consideration in December, one congressional Democrat confided to a colleague that the reason they so vehemently opposed it was that they were afraid it would work. With the bill now signed into law over unanimous Democratic opposition, every American family is about to find out.

According to polls, most people believe it will mean tax increases and a declining standard of living for middle class families. They believe it because that’s what the Democratic machine and the left-stream media have told them. It will be hard to maintain that narrative –or preserve a shred of political credibility– if people perceive that their paychecks are growing, their opportunities are increasing and their family finances are improving.

Indeed, the day President Trump signed the bill, companies across America began announcing bonuses, pay raises and major new investment plans in the American economy. And these announcements keep coming.

A variety of calculators are already available on the Internet so that every family can see for themselves whether they personally benefit from the tax cuts – and by how much. (Check out for a quick glimpse at how your family benefits). Even in my over-taxed home state of California, the rate reductions in the final bill more than compensate for limitations on state and local tax deductions for almost every family.

In February, withholding tables will reflect the newer, lower rates and the take-home pay for working Americans will jump –even before accounting for the surge in wages that always accompanies an economic expansion.

By spring, most economists expect a significant burst in economic growth resulting from stranded offshore capital being repatriated because U.S. tax barriers have come down, new capital acquisitions being made because of immediate expensing reforms, and new investments being triggered by an internationally competitive corporate tax rate.

In addition to claiming the tax reform will produce only middle-class misery and economic malaise, Democrats have also maintained that millions of Americans will lose their health insurance.

How so? Because the tax reform removes the stiff tax penalties levied against 6 ½ million families who chose NOT to purchase over-priced Obamacare policies –a minimum of $2,100 for a family of four. These families will now have that money available to meet their needs according to their own judgment. The claim comes from the assumption that 13 million Americans now coerced into buying Obamacare plans will chose cheaper alternatives now that the mandate is removed. This invites the question, if Obamacare is so wonderful, why must we force families to buy it? And if 6 ½ million families already prefer paying the penalty to buying the insurance, what does that say about the signature achievement of the Obama Democrats?

The Democrats have seized on projections the reform will add $1.5 trillion of new debt over the next ten years, based on their assumption it will produce no economic growth. Yet, when Ronald Reagan cut the top marginal tax rate by half, a growing economy caused income tax revenues to double. Several prominent economists, including Martin Feldstein and Arthur Laffer, are predicting an additional $1.5 to $2 trillion of new tax revenues to all levels of government solely due to economic expansion.

The strangest attack is that the personal income tax cuts expire in eight years, leaving many Americans worse off. This provision was due solely to archaic Senate budget rules. It’s a very dangerous argument for Democrats to make, since every American knows the permanence of the tax cuts depends entirely on which party is in power. Democrats have left no doubt if they are returned to office, the tax cuts are over. And Republicans have made it just as clear that their unfinished business is to make the cuts permanent. Let’s see what people prefer this fall.

Ronald Reagan asked a simple question both in 1980, when he ran against the economic malaise of the Carter years, and again in 1984, after he had implemented the same pro-growth policies Donald Trump is now implementing. “Are you better off today than you were four years ago?” No politician or pundit can spin the answer to that question – every American knows it precisely in their own lives. That question devastated Democrats in both elections because the answer was self-evident.

Republicans are now uniquely poised to ask it once again.