Today is Tax Day, the deadline for most Americans to file their tax returns. For many middle-class families and businesses, this date is circled on the calendar with regret and trepidation. But this year, this depressing day has a silver lining — simply put, it’s out with the old, and in with the new. Today is the last time American families will have to file under the unfair, outdated tax code that Congress and the president got rid of a few months ago.
Republicans’ historic overhaul cut taxes for families and small businesses. We doubled the standard deduction, expanded the child tax credit, and lowered rates. And we accomplished all this while preserving key provisions that middle-class families count on, such as the mortgage interest deduction. The upshot of all this is simple: Major tax relief for middle-class families and a big shot in the arm for the U.S. economy, which will lead to more — and higher-paying — home-grown American jobs.
Already, tax reform has given many American workers a raise, since less of each paycheck needs to be withheld for the IRS. When all is said and done, the Treasury Department estimates our tax cuts will leave ninety percent of wage-earners with more take-home pay. At the same time, on top of the tax savings, millions of Americans across the country are receiving special bonuses, pay raises, or new benefits from their employers as a direct result of tax reform.
That includes everyone from major national employers like Walmart, Kroger, and AT&T to local small businesses. Thousand-dollar bonuses for workers at Kansas City Southern Railway in Missouri. A higher starting wage for entry-level employees at First Farmers Bank and Trust in Indiana. Higher wages — and new job openings — at CSS Distribution Group, a small business packaging and distribution company in Kentucky. Billion-dollar investments in pension plans for UPS and FedEx workers. The list goes on and on.
Believe it or not, my Democratic colleagues from New York and San Francisco scoff publicly at the idea that a $2,000 tax cut or a $1,000 bonus will make a difference for American families. They’ve called these results ‘crumbs.’ Something tells me they haven’t tried that elitist talking point around many middle-class families’ kitchen tables. I suspect they’d be laughed out of the room.
Each of these ‘crumbs’ means better days for America’s families. Several hundred dollars might seem like nothing to employees in the tech sector, or in finance. They’ve recovered from the Great Recession just fine. But for a middle-class American family, $2,000 means big progress toward a down payment on a new car that they’ve been waiting for. It means covering a summer membership at the swimming pool, or a week of basketball camp for a son or daughter, or a big chunk of tuition at the private or parochial school a family prefers.
House and Senate Democrats may call these things “crumbs.” Most Americans call them a better life. And this is only the beginning. In addition to the immediate relief, we also laid the foundation for a more prosperous long-term future with many more good-paying American jobs. That’s because Republican tax reform made sending U.S. jobs overseas less appealing.
It created new incentives for businesses to invest, expand, build, and hire right here at home, and gave trade competitors overseas something to worry about — a healthy, competitive U.S. economy. Mainstream economists agree that the way we rewrote the tax code for businesses will raise wages for American workers down the road.
Already, job creators of all shapes and sizes are investing more and expanding their businesses. A furniture store in Ohio is planning a 4,500 square-foot expansion. A craft brewery in Iowa is planning to open a new production line. And a deck and patio builder in Virginia is hiring ten new employees to meet rising demand. This is a tiny fraction of the new growth and prosperity that tax reform is just starting to unleash.
Republicans designed every piece of tax reform to benefit middle-class families and small businesses, both right now and in the years and decades ahead. That used to be a bipartisan priority. But this time, Democrats chose to put political posturing ahead of Americans’ bank accounts.
Every single Democrat in the House and the Senate voted to block tax reform — and by extension, every bit of this good news — from happening. And today, they are rallying to repeal your tax cuts. I’m proud Republicans stood and fought for the American people.
Mitch McConnell is the Senate Majority Leader in Congress.
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