Martha McSally endorses the tax bill, but does she know what’s in it?
Nov 28, 2017
Martha McSally was a teenager attending an all-girls Catholic school when Ronald Reagan first took office. The politics of that time had such an impact on her that 30 years later, she described her own political mission as “continuing the tradition of true Reagan conservatism.”
So maybe it’s nostalgia for the Reagan era that explains her current enthusiasm for the Republican tax cut bill. Certainly the Trump administration is relying heavily on ‘80s-era talking points, with chief economic adviser Gary Cohn literally referring to its “trickle-down” effect, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin trotting out the old canard that a big tax cut will “pay for itself” and “reduce the deficit.”
There are a number of problems with this sales pitch. First off, we’ve had 30-plus years of experience to teach us that “trickle-down” economic theory doesn’t work. Tax cuts for the wealthy don’t accelerate growth; or create jobs; or raise wages; or spur investment; or pay for themselves.
Second, Reagan wouldn’t recognize this bill. Consider the stark differences between the 1986 tax reform and 2017’s bill:
- 1986’s bill was “revenue neutral,” whereas the current bill would increase deficits by 1.5 trillion over the next ten years.
- 1986’s bill was the result of two years of protracted, bipartisan negotiations; Republicans are trying to rush the current bill through in less than 2 months, on a party-line vote.
- 1986’s bill was an across-the-board tax cut, which paid for corporate tax cuts by eliminating tax loopholes. The current House bill is targeted overwhelmingly toward the wealthy; half of its benefits would flow to the top 1%, and those tax cuts would be paid for by raising taxes on 28% of Americans.
It’s not clear whether McSally understands how wildly this bill veers away from “true Reagan conservatism.” At this point, based on her public statements, it’s not clear she knows what’s in the bill at all:
- She claims that a typical family of 4 earning $59,000 would see a tax cut of $1182 “every year.” This is false, as Politifact explains: that amount is only for the first year, and is reduced annually, until by 2024 it’s a tax increase of $500.
- She claims that the bill eliminates loopholes. In fact, as Bloomberg Politics points out, it is “littered with loopholes,” including a tax break for golf course owners.
- She claims it would simplify the tax code, but the chief of staff of the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation just testified that it would add more complications and require new rules – “almost certainly” a new book’s worth.
- She claims it will help families pay for college, when in reality it adds $71 billion in costs to college students and their families over the next decade.
- She claims it will help families pay for health care, but it actually eliminates the deduction for medical expenses – particularly important for people with serious health issues, and those in nursing homes.
- She spotlights a proposed benefit to small business owners, but that’s misleading. Josh Barro of Business Insider explains that “what is advertised as a tax break for ‘small business’ is actually a proposal to create a tax preference for wealthy people like Donald Trump.”
- She complains about jobs being sent overseas, apparently unaware that the bill contains incentives for corporations to offshore jobs.
- She boasts about the child tax credit; does she know that at least 40% of Arizona’s working families would not be able to claim the full $600 credit? “The poorest children… qualify for only a very small CTC or none at all.”
For more information on how the bill would impact Arizonans, click here.
To contact Rep. McSally with your thoughts on her vote:
(520) 881-3588 in Tucson
(520) 459-3115 in Sierra Vista
Fax: (520) 322-9490
4400 E. Broadway Blvd. Suite 510
Tucson, AZ 85711
77 Calle Portal Suite B-160
Sierra Vista, AZ 85635