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Will the Republican tax overhaul benefit the country?


Randy Hunt

State representative, Sandwich Republican whose district includes Sandwich and parts of Plymouth, Barnstable, and Bourne

Randy Hunt.Handout

“Country” can be interpreted to mean the people or the economy. Either way, the answer to the question is an emphatic “Yes!”

Will the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act benefit the people? The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center says 90 percent of middle-class taxpayers will get a tax cut in 2018.

Aren’t these tax cuts temporary? The individual tax cuts technically expire after eight years, but even those cuts considered “permanent” are not set in stone. Congress can change the tax code at any time, and does. Senator Chuck Schumer’s claim -- drawn from Tax Policy Center data -- that 83 percent of the benefits will go to the top 1 percent in 2027 is based on Congress leaving the tax code alone, which has never happened. In 2018, the center calculates 21 percent of the benefits from the tax overhaul will go to the top 1 percent, a group that currently pays 38 percent of all federal income taxes.

What about lower-income earners? Many of them pay no federal income taxes due in part to the earned income tax and child tax credits. Doubling the child tax credit and raising the refundable amount to $1,400 will especially benefit low-income earners.


Will the tax overhaul benefit the economy? There are enough economists speculating about the potential effects of the new law to fill the TD Garden. Economists, like stock market analysts and weather people, are much better explaining what happened after it’s over.

The cut in the corporate rate to 21 percent and the ability of corporations to repatriate earnings stowed in foreign bank accounts at reduced tax rates will undoubtedly encourage expanded investment in the United States.


Tax overhaul or not, however, the economy is fundamentally driven by demand. Some of that demand will increase by putting more cash in people’s pockets. Some of it will move to companies that start up or expand operations in the United States because the legislation is helping level the international playing field.

Naysayers emphasize how little the law’s positive impact might be. Like their moms must have told them: “If you can’t say something nice, then minimalize the good news.”


Paul R. Feeney

State senator, Foxborough Democrat

Paul R. Feeney.Handout

The GOP tax bill, crafted behind closed doors with input from elite power brokers and wealthy donors, and passed strictly along party lines, does not reflect the true priorities of the American people.

The latest iteration of the failed trickle-down policy favored by national Republicans, this “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” is nothing more than a giveaway to wealthy individuals and corporations at the expense of middle-class families.

There is no question that our tax code is messy and that many of us deserve more in our paychecks. The hard-working wage earners, middle-income families, small-business owners, and self-employed people of the district I represent certainly deserve permanent tax relief, increased wages, and steady economic growth. Unfortunately, this bill adopted just days before Christmas just helps those who need it the least.

This act will pile on $1.5 trillion to our national debt over 10 years, effectively mortgaging our future to ensure permanent tax relief for already-profitable corporations. As Massachusetts residents, we should be particularly concerned with changes to the state and local tax deductions that will harm many of our middle-income taxpayers. Perhaps the ultimate insult is that any savings built into this legislation for middle-class taxpayers are temporary, yet the corporate tax cuts are permanent.


The argument that corporate tax breaks lead directly to job and wage growth has been proven a fallacy. We have seen unprecedented growth and corporate profits in recent years, yet wages have remained largely stagnant. Wealth is concentrated at the top, and there is no evidence that providing more to those that need it the least has any significant benefit to the actual job creators in our economy: middle-class workers.

It is obvious that the authors and backers of this legislation in Congress don’t share the values of the majority of middle-income Americans. Instead of passing corporate tax cuts that increase our debt, they should work to ensure that children have access to health care, veteran homelessness is eliminated, pensions and Social Security are protected, and small businesses supported.

Those collective values, originally embraced by the Greatest Generation, are truly reflective of who we are as a nation.

(This is an informal poll, not a scientific survey. Please vote only once.)

As told to Globe correspondent John Laidler. He can be reached at laidler@globe.com.