The once frugal GOP platform placed major emphasis on balancing the federal budget. Presently we are approaching 1 trillion dollars this year which will be added to an all-time high national debt of close to 22 trillion dollars.
Last year's tax reform bill contributed greatly to the problem of low Treasury income and high federal spending. Large corporations and the ultra-wealthy were the main beneficiaries of the tax revisions. President Trump gave corporations much more than they asked for, decreasing their marginal rates from 35% to 21% in hopes that US businesses would move production facilities back to the US from China, Viet Nam, India, etc.
This has not happened. To add insult to injury restrictive tariffs are being placed on goods imported to our country. This caused higher prices for the consumer while not adding to the profits of farmers and manufacturers. The automobile industry is a good example of imports exceeding exports in that sector. Farmers are having to curtail production or go out of business since demand has decreased from our (former) trading partners. It is not enough to pay farmers off with tax dollars to ease their pain. The total job numbers decreased well below projected numbers by over 50,000 just last month.
Deregulation is occurring on a massive scale by this administration. Environmental regulations are being removed or reduced in areas where they are needed the most: clean air, clean water, renewal-able energy sources, etc. The Center for Disease Control is not being supported to the levels of previous administrations. Large parts of Michigan is having to consume only bottled water vs. public water systems due to lack of reasonable standards enforcement. The Obama mandated gas mileage reductions under the Clean Air Act are being revoked so that air pollution will be increased with more carbon going into the atmosphere. The EPA is now undergoing drastic cuts in personnel. More coal production is being encouraged with little regard health hazards.
With large increases in military spending and required interest payments on the massive national debt; education, health, social services, renewable energy are being squeezed out under the rubric of “entitlements.” It should be noted that Social Security and Medicare are mostly funded by payroll taxes and individual contributions of the beneficiaries. EPA is mostly funded by the fines it levies on industries found to be noncompliant on safety requirements. It works to protect the safety of its workers and the environment. We clearly need more dollars going into roads and bridges.
The economy would improve if we would roll back many of the Trump policies on taxes and tariffs. For instance, a corporate tax of 26% vs. 21%, and a 2% added tax for wealthy individuals with net worths of over $50 million. Also tax payers should get a break on their taxes for purchasing electric cars, insulated windows, wind, solar and hydroelectric sources of energy.
The new crop of Presidential candidates are more clearly articulating the needs of the voting public. We need closer ties to our allies, cleaner air and water, and trade policies that open up new markets around the world. We need leadership that places us on a more solid moral foundation, not one that divides and demonizes those we represent. We also need voters who place the people above party and special interests.
LeRoy Deabler is a former Hospital CEO and college economics instructor.