Nationally, Republicans who backed the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act are responsible for federal taxes going up sometime in 2021.
That measure originally lowered taxes to some degree for many, but it had a hidden feature, an automatic tax hike every two years starting this year, increases that in six years will touch virtually everyone except those at the top of the economic ladder.
Since the law was complicated, debated and analyzed more than three years ago, it’s understandable if it’s been forgotten. A refresher: Back then, the law was drafted and approved (with zero Democrat votes) despite the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) forecasting it will increase the budget deficit by $2.2 trillion over a decade.
Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz in the New York Times recently wrote, “Republicans — who suddenly lost their grasp on their self-described fiscal conservatism — saw a chance to give their rich friends and corporations a big thank you for campaign contributions.
“But the tax cuts they promised these donors produced projections [of] budget deficits,” he continued. “To reduce that stomach-churning amount, they had to phase-in higher taxes on ordinary Americans.”
Now, according to the CBO and the bipartisan Joint Committee on Taxation, taxpayers with incomes of $20,000-$30,000 could owe another $365 this year. Keep in mind that the Federal Poverty Level for a family of four is $26,200, so that $365 will come from folks already having a hard time.
In Illinois, the sleight-of-hand was performed by the expensive campaign to defeat the Fair Tax amendment and the predictable consequences, financially and politically.
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Enacting the FAIRtax must be a prominent topic in these times. We did it before, we can do it again, but we need your help!