Conservatives Slam Republicans for Not Helping Trump Voters in Tax Bill

Donald Trump supporters
Supporters celebrate as they hold placards at Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump's 2016 New Hampshire presidential primary election night rally in Manchester, New Hampshire, February 9, 2016. 2016. |

Some conservative intellectuals are speaking out against the Republican tax bill, arguing that the proposed legislation does not help out the very working class voters who elected Donald Trump.

W. Bradford Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia and a senior fellow at the Institute for Family Studies, and Samuel Hammond, Poverty and Welfare Policy Analyst for the libertarian-leaning Niskanen Center, wrote a piece for the Atlantic published Wednesday.

Wilcox and Hammond argued that with the current tax bill in Congress "Republicans are ignoring the needs of the constituents who helped elect them — and giving preference to those who are already flourishing."

The United States Capitol dome is seen down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington September 30, 2013. With a deadline to avert a federal government shutdown fast approaching, the U.S. Capitol was eerily quiet on Sunday as Republicans and Democrats waited for the other side to blink first and break the impasse over funding. |

"[Working class families] lose roughly 15 cents of every hard-earned dollar to federal payroll taxes, directly diminishing their incentive to work and their ability to put their families on a firmer financial footing," argued the authors.

"Indeed, as pundits ferociously debate the incidence of the corporate tax on workers ... virtually no one disputes that workers bear the full burden of payroll taxes. So why are such taxes left out of the conversation?"

Wilcox and Hammond went on to argue that "there are ample resources to cut taxes for working families," including Congress adopting an amendment Senators Marco Rubio and Mike Lee proposed to expand the Child Tax Credit to payroll-tax liability.

"This would put markedly more money in the pockets of working-class families who play by the rules and are struggling to realize the American Dream," continued the authors.

"Moreover, an expanded child tax credit could easily be paid for by cutting the corporate tax rate a mere percentage point or so less than the 15-point corporate-rate cut now being proposed by the Senate."

In a series of Twitter posts he described as a "rant," conservative New York Times columnist Ross Douthat denounced the refusal of what he called "professional Populist Conservatism" to support efforts to help working class Americans provide for their families.

"We're in the middle of a major baby bust in the United States of America right now. Exactly the sort of thing these guys are always warning about," tweeted Douthat on Wednesday, his rant getting the endorsement of Sen. Lee.

"And guess what? Their great champion, their idiot's version of Constantine or Charles Martel or whatever, came out *against* expanding it today. Because he doesn't want to take any $ away from his yuge tax cut for the very globalist types that all these guys claim to be against," Douthat continued in an apparent reference to President Donald Trump's opposition to the Rubio-Lee amendment.

Erick Erickson, a Fox News contributor and editor of The Resurgent, has also come out in favor of the Rubio-Lee amendment, urging President Donald Trump to "reconsider his opposition."

"Rubio and Lee recognize that the tax plan actually does not do as much as has been claimed for the working poor with children," wrote Erickson.

"Folks, at a time of declining birth rates in America, if we are going to use the tax code to incentivize behaviors (we should not, but it does and that's reality), promoting children and families should be a chief goal of the tax code."

Tim Head, executive director of the Faith & Freedom Coalition, made a similar argument in an Oct. 22 op-ed for The Christian Post.

"The best way for Congress and the Trump administration to effectively relieve the tax burden and to get the economy growing again for middle-class American families is through expansion of the $1,000 per child tax credit," he wrote. 

Not all conservatives have expressed support for the Rubio-Lee bill. The editorial board of the Wall Street Journal denounced the senators' amendment, arguing among other things that "Senate tax writers have already indulged the Rubio-Lee caucus beyond what any two Senators deserve."

"The original proposal increased the credit to $1,650 from the current $1,000. The pair demanded more," stated the editorial board.

"So when Republicans received a revenue windfall from repealing the ObamaCare coverage mandate, they raised the credit to $2,000. Now that also isn't enough. Senators who demand ransom should at least stay bought."

In response, National Review columnist Ramesh Ponnuru accused the WSJ editorial of being "longer on sneering than analysis." 

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