Community Voices features opinion pieces from a wide variety of authors and perspectives. (Submission Guidelines)

Minnesotans must hold GOP accountable for its tax law

photo of author
Ryan Thomas
As a Minnesotan working in Washington, I frequently talk about politics with my friends and family back home. From my aunts and uncles to my cousins and former classmates, I hear the same complaint from people on both sides of the aisle: We need fewer politicians who put the rich above the rest of us.

As someone who talks about economic policy all day, every day, I couldn’t agree more. That’s why it could not be more clear to me that the tax law Republicans enacted last year — which fundamentally reshaped our tax code — was a blatant act of corruption that actively hurts families like mine back home.

While the tax law overwhelmingly benefits multinational corporations, special interest groups and wealthy donors, it actually hurts the middle-class families and small businesses Republicans repeatedly promised it would help — and Republicans keep lying about it.

But with the midterm elections just two months away, Minnesotans from across the state have an opportunity to vote against a corrupt tax code and the Republicans on the ballot who support it.

While Republicans have repeatedly said that these tax cuts would give families a $4,000 bump in our paychecks, my family and middle-class families like mine have barely seen a cent. And even worse, the GOP’s law allows already-rich corporate executives and shareholders to get even richer at our expense.

So while wealthy donors and Wall Street executives see billions in new tax savings, President Donald Trump has made it even harder for working families to make ends meet and threatened massive cuts to government spending, even eliminating upcoming raises for 2 million public servants.

Erodes government revenue

And rather than funding the public schools my sister teaches in, where educators are woefully underpaid and often forced to buy supplies their schools can’t afford, the tax law further erodes government revenue that helps our students learn within and outside of the classroom. With the federal debt set to increase by trillions in the coming years, future generations will pay the price with even more cuts to these critically needed programs like public education and Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security.

Instead of supporting small businesses like my parents’ gift shop or charitable organizations that help local communities thrive, Republicans  changed the tax code to benefit multinational corporations that continue laying off employees and shipping jobs overseas. In fact, more than 7,500 workers have been laid off in Minnesota since this law was passed.

Yet, 15 Republican members of the committee who wrote the law and another 53 Republicans in Congress who voted for it actually voted to enrich themselves. One particularly egregious example: Republican Rep. Vern Buchanan bought a multimillion-dollar yacht the same day he voted in favor of the tax law, which gave him an estimated $2.1 million in savings.

Effects on health care

And when it comes to affordable health care, members of the Republican Party supported a law that strips at least 13 million Americans of their health care and gives billions to big pharmaceutical companies that continue to raise costs. The repercussions are so bad that even members of Trump’s own Cabinet have admitted that this tax law will raise health care costs on millions of families.

That kind of greed and corruption isn’t just reprehensible, it shows just how morally bankrupt the Republican Party has become.

So instead of staying silent or staying home in November, Minnesotans need to head to the polls to fight for economic justice and against this shamelessly corrupt tax law. Our families’ health and financial security, not to mention our economy, are at stake — so speak out, show up, and vote.

Ryan Thomas is a communications strategist and works as a spokesperson for Not One Penny, a coalition of progressive groups organizing against Republicans’ tax law.


If you’re interested in joining the discussion, add your voice to the Comment section below — or consider writing a letter or a longer-form Community Voices commentary. (For more information about Community Voices, see our Submission Guidelines.)

You can also learn about all our free newsletter options.

Comments (10)

  1. Submitted by Curtis Senker on 09/07/2018 - 07:28 pm.

    “I hear the same complaint from people on both sides of the aisle: We need fewer politicians who put the rich above the rest of us.”

    As a communications expert, this youngster has some work to do. I seriously doubt he convinced anyone, on either side of the aisle with that one.

    • Submitted by Gene Nelson on 09/08/2018 - 10:44 am.

      One main issue I’ve learned is that most repubs today have a serious issue with cognitive dissonance with a total refusal to value truth or facts…just living in their alt-reality.
      Shameful that repubs ignore the vast truth of this article…but then again…as many feel…including myself…todays repub party cares ONLY for the wealthy and I wish someone like Senker would address that or try to prove it’s incorrect…but he doesn’t…because he cannot.

      • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 09/08/2018 - 08:36 pm.

        Well, sure, the elites that run the GOP only care about tax give aways to the point one percent.

        But the riff-raff, the ones that show up to the Don Trump rallies, they only care about stickin’ it to the libs, or libtards as they like to say, as apparently they don’t know anyone with special needs. They know the auto plants and the steel mills won’t be coming back.

        But they do know that Don Trump is sicking it to the people they hate, even if it doesn’t help them, and in may cases it hurts them. Immigrants. Minorities. The urbanites with college degrees. If Trump can hurt them, at least they’ve got that. Just like Jim Crow offered poor whites something: the chance to look down on SOMEONE.

        Don Trump and the GOP offer an outlet for and an affirmation of their bitter resentments.

  2. Submitted by Wes Davey on 09/07/2018 - 08:29 pm.

    There’s not much room in the GOP for moderate Republicans, although maybe a few can still be found. If not for the greedy rich described in this article, the white nationalists, the Nazi flag wavers, and the Christian nationalists (e.g., Roy Moore), the GOP would be out of business.

    A friend of mine, once a long-time Republican, told me before Trump even came into office that he didn’t recognize the GOP anymore. Republicans have made their bed, now they can lie in it.

  3. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 09/08/2018 - 09:32 am.

    Mr. Thomas has written a good and very informed article on the 2017 tax law that cut taxes for the big corporations and the wealthy. In fact, he decided not to mention that Trump and the Congressional GOP intend to do what they call “Tax Bill 2.0” this fall, to cut capital gains taxes! I’m amazed, because capital gains taxes only apply to the wealthy, and are already as low as ten or fifteen percent, no matter what your normal tax rate.

    In November’s election, that tax cutting is one of the GOP’s weakest points–among many. There’s also the gutting of our environmental laws and regulations, the inhumane treatment of children who are separated from their parents as they legally seek asylum, the Republican determination to eliminate any health care insurance for tens of millions of Americans under Obamacare, the elimination of women’s right to choose abortion.

    Not to mention the Republican Congress’s absolute refusal to do its constitutional duty, to check this president’s awful behaviors. Let’s remember: Trump is trying hard to deny us all freedom of speech (he wants the AG to investigate a White House insider who used his speech to condemn an unqualified and unfit President) and a free press. He does not recognize that the law applies to him as well as to the rest of us and behaves as a tyrant. The Republicans, beginning with Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, will go down in history as enablers of a budding dictator, because they sat on their hands to get tax cuts and perks for their big donors.

    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 09/08/2018 - 08:47 pm.

      I’m beginning to wonder, if the GOP loses the House in November, what may happen between then and the formal change in leadership in January?

      What might a lame duck Congress do at that point?

      While the situation is not parallel, in that the GOP held the legislature in the fall elections in Michigan in 2012, but they pull some shenanigans. The AFL-CIO had had a constitutional amendment to eliminate right to work for less on the ballot. They didn’t do their home work, and they lost. the Michigan legislature has a lame duck session in December, and backed by boat loads of cash from the De Vos family, they rushed a right to work for less bill through in a surprise attack on middle class wages. Unlike the AFL, the wealthy used the advantages available to them from Citizens United to pressure wavering GOP legislators who had previously been opposed to right to free load.

      It would not surprise me a bit if people like the Kochs and Bob Uhlien are plotting right now. Gutting what’s left of the Voting Rights Act? National Right to Freeload? Who knows.

  4. Submitted by Ole Johnson on 09/10/2018 - 08:20 am.

    So not being able to take as much money from other people as you would like makes those people greedy?

    I wish I was as optimistic that the GOP would actually cut any spending as the writer is. My guess is that the GOP will simply add to the deficit. Neither party has any serious plans to address budget deficits or the national debt.

  5. Submitted by Bob Petersen on 09/10/2018 - 08:49 am.

    Just because this writer works in Washington does not make him an expert at tax and fiscal policy. In fact, the group that he works for says it all…progressive. Whether one likes it or not, this piece was not a piece on tax legislation but simply another slam on the GOP. Then most of the comments get into nothing about fiscal responsibility but continue with identity politics.

    Almost everyone in the country experienced tax cuts. This writer conveniently fails to show that his family did not. Whether you like or dislike the POTUS, our economy has been booming and every part of our country has been experiencing more and more opportunities that Obama could not do in 8 years…this includes teen and minority hiring. All Obama did was make record numbers of people dependent upon the government dole and made the divide between the haves and have-nots so much wider.

    If the tax plan was so bad, why does the writer not mention what he would do? What tax and fiscal policy does he propose that he thinks is better? Or is it that he conveniently cannot say because we all know there is not enough money in the world that supports the progressive platform because he knows it?

    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 09/10/2018 - 09:50 am.

      Boom? You mean like the Obama stock market rally? It started in March 2009.

      I’m loathe to defend Obama, a centrist Dem who approached Wall Street on bended knee. But look at the trend lines for job creation and the stock market for the last ten years. With out dates, there is now way you can tell when Don Trump was inaugurated.The only problems with the Obama recovery were the twin problems of increased wealth gap and continuing wage stagnation, but those go back for the last 4 administrations previous to Obama.

      As to “making people dependent on the government dole”, surely you’re referring to Don Trump’s new welfare program which gives cash(!) benefits to farmers while DC drowns in ever more red ink.

      Conservatives have absolutely no business lecturing anyone about fiscal responsibility. Rhetorically, it’s a big juicy fast ball right over the plate.

  6. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 09/10/2018 - 11:03 am.

    The 2017 tax cut contains permanent and HUGE reductions in taxes for the HUGELY wealthy, and minimal, temporary tax “cuts” of a few cents per pay check for most of us. Nobody talks about how even those minimal tax “cuts” are set to disappear for us after Trump no longer has to run for anything.

    Also, the national deficit was approximately doubled, by more than $1.5 TRILLION, with that tax law in 2017. That’s the figure that will be used this fall (even if the GOP loses the House) to justify HUGE reductions in Social Security benefits and Medicare/Medicaid.

    Meantime, corporations are NOT investing in R and D or infrastructure, as advertised by the GOP to “sell” their tax plan to the public. Nor are companies hiring tons of extra people. Nor are wages going up–they’re going down, still, as adjusted for inflation. Gazillions of stock buybacks (they raise stock prices, which benefit corporate execs and major stodkholders) and increased dividends to investors are what we see, and they’re temporary benefits given not at all to workers or consumers.

    Republicans are hoping that American voters are ignorant of how the tax system works against them and of how the stock market/corporate finance work[s]. And that voters really don’t know the details of the tax bill of 2017.

    Kind of like Donald Trump doesn’t really know what’s in that tax bill. Guy doesn’t read, you know; short attention span and he’s not that smart to begin with. All he knows is that that bill benefits him personally by about $31 million in reduced taxes. Per year. Woo-hoo, Donald! MAGA.

Leave a Reply