The United States has one of the highest corporate income tax rates in the world. Or had, anyway. Given a penchant for wanting the U.S. to be more like Europe, and the average corporate tax rate in Europe is 18.35 percent, I thought there would be more celebrating when Congress lowered it from 35 to 21 percent. The bill also cut the top personal income tax rate by 2.6 percent.
Imagine my surprise when my social and moral superiors fell into hysterical fits about getting to keep more of their own money, even calling it “immoral”! Cosmopolitan Magazine, where I go to get all my fashion tips and information about U.S. fiscal policy, published an article titled, “4 Reasons You Should Be Disgusted by the GOP’s Immoral Tax Plan.”
Why should I be disgusted? I asked myself. According to the article,
- It’s a Big Tax Cut for the Rich and Corporations
- It’s a Small, Temporary Tax Cut for Everyday Americans
- It Repeals the Obamacare Mandate
- It Blows Up the Deficit and Will Crush the Poor, Disabled, and the Elderly
The first two reasons are essentially just an opinion that wealthy people and businesses shouldn’t be allowed to make more than a certain amount of money, and saying that the wealthy will benefit more than lower-income Americans isn’t an argument. By the way, nearly half of all Americans don’t pay Federal income tax. The richest 20 percent pay nearly 87 percent of all federal income tax. So yeah, lowering federal income tax rates will benefit the wealthy. So what?
Rather than get outraged about the federal government stealing a percentage of your income when you die, which you’ve already paid taxes on your whole life, by the way, Cosmopolitan wants you to be outraged that “The plan also doubles the threshold for the estate tax – meaning that the super rich can pass down up to $22 million per married couple to their heirs, tax-free. How nice.” Yeah, it is nice, actually.
The individual mandate is a whole other discussion I’m not qualified to have, so I’ll skip to point number four. “It Blows Up the Deficit and Will Crush the Poor, Disabled, and the Elderly.” Wow, sounds really bad, huh? Blows up the deficit! How so? “The tax bill will rack up just under $1.5 trillion in debt over the next ten years.” Strange, President Obama added $6.69 trillion to the deficit over eight years and I can’t find a Cosmopolitan article saying that was outrageous or immoral.
How does it “crush” the poor, disabled, and elderly? Because to deal with the growing deficit, Congress is talking about passing some kind of entitlement reform (what form that will take no one knows yet), which will take “money from the poor, the sick, the disabled, and the elderly.” Yet national entitlement spending has never been higher. The article points to FDR as a model of government charity, yet entitlement spending, including pensions, healthcare, and welfare, was 2 percent of GDP in 1940 and 19 percent in 2010.
So the idea that the poor and elderly will be somehow substantially worse off if entitlement spending is cut back to say, what it was in the year 2000 (12-13%), is completely absurd. If I want to know what type of scarf is in style this winter, I’ll stick with Cosmopolitan, but I’m afraid their attempt at hysterical virtue signaling isn’t contributing anything of substance to the debate over national fiscal policy.