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December 22 2017

Oops! Despite Adversarial Messaging, Tax Reform Will Benefit Middle Class Americans

by Charlotte Hays

Quote of the Day:

As an ideological matter, every time a Democrat claims that keeping more of your own money is tantamount to "stealing"—which happens often—voters should remember this is fundamentally a debate between people who believe the state should have first dibs on your property and people who don't.

--David Harsanyi in Reason magazine

Of course, in our day there are numerous people who believe that the government is our friend and thus should have first dibs on our money--just to protect our interests, you know.

However, opponents of the tax reform bill have not quite framed the issue in that honest way--indtead they have told Americans that the reform means a tax hike for the middle class and that the rich will get richer. Disaster is inevitable, they say.  

This is risky messaging because it is untrue--most Americans will get a tax cut. So far, the campaign against tax reform has been successful, judging from polls. But David Harsanyi explains at Reason that Democrats may have made a major blunder in framing the issue this way:

Why do so many Americans believe that the middle class is getting a tax hike? Because outlets they trust are constantly lying to them. Both in framing and content, the coverage of the tax cuts has been impressively dishonest. "One-Third of Middle Class Families Could End up Paying More Under the GOP Tax Plan" writes Time Money (they won't). An Associated Press headline reads, "House Passes First Rewrite of Nation's Tax Laws in Three Decades, Providing Steep Tax Cuts for Businesses, the Wealthy." And so on.

There will always be ideological arguments regarding the efficacy of tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, but at some point people are going to find out that they've gotten one, too. The nonpartisan liberals at the Tax Policy Center concede that 80 percent of Americans will see a tax cut in 2018, and that the average cut will be $2,140—which might be something to scoff at in D.C., but I imagine a bunch of voters surprised by these savings will be less cynical. Only 4.8 percent of Americans will see a tax increase.

Harsanyi compares the passage of tax reform to the passage of the Affordable Care Act:

Like Obamacare, people don't know what's in the bill. But unlike Obamacare, the repeal of the individual insurance mandate gives millions a choice. The passage of Obamacare, after all, upended lives. The Affordable Care Act became synonymous with "health care insurance," and voters attributed everything that went wrong with that insurance to the bill. And since Democrats offered a litany of fantastical promises about the future of health care, the disapproval was well-deserved.

Millions began seeing their insurance plans discontinued as soon as Obamacare was implemented, despite assurances from the president and pliant Democrats that no such thing would happen. For many, premiums in the individual markets doubled over four years of Obamacare. Voters dealt with these tangible, real-life consequences.

Just as an aside, one of the amazing things about the tax reform bill is that it repealed the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate--if you are young and healthy and you decide to risk not buying health insurance, you will not be fined. Sounds simple--the real of a fine. But since the whole ACA edifice was built on coercion rather than choice, this is huge.

There will also be tangible, real-life consequences to the tax reform bill.

As with the Affordable Care Act, voters get to decide--based to the U.S. economuy and how they perceive see it playing out in their own lives.

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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