The spinning of the tax bill is getting out of hand, and desperate members of Congress like Rep. Mimi Walters (R-Irvine) are resorting to lies and distortion to sell an unpopular bill to constituents who know better.
Walters recently joined with several Republican colleagues in a joint op-ed in the Orange County Register that was full of misleading statistics.
In that op-ed, Walters and others distort facts as “myths,” in an effort to present a false picture of the tax bill. Let’s look at them one by one.
Tax cuts for businesses “incentivizes people to start businesses in America, move businesses to America, and hire Americans.”
Walters uses very careful language here, because she is unable to say that the tax bill will actually help Californians. In fact, many economists have warned that the tax bill will stifle business growth in California.
“I think it shifts industries, resources and people away from California,” said Edward McCaffery, a tax law expert at the University of Southern California.
Other economists also note that while the fundamentals of the economy are still robust, the tax bill will be “a restraint on growth.”
“It won’t necessarily lead us to a turnaround or heading to a negative direction, but it will certainly pull back some of the positive things,” said Dave Smith, an economist at the Pepperdine University Graziadio School of Business and Management.
“Folks are worried that by limiting the state and local tax and home-mortgage deductions, Californians will pay more.”
This is true. Californians should be worried, as they will indeed pay more. According to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP), 5.4 million Californians will face higher taxes under this bill.
In fact, working class Californians will pay $2.8 billion more in taxes, thanks to Walters.
Even other Orange County Republicans know the bill is a bad deal for Californians. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista) voted against the tax bill for the explicit reason that it will raise taxes on Orange County residents.
Issa said, “Yet I still fear that, even in the revised proposal, many in my area could face higher taxes under this plan.”
Next, Walters addresses health care.
“Critics also portray the elimination of Obamacare’s individual mandate as taking health care away from the American people.”
Critics, once again, are correct. By eliminating the individual mandate section of the Affordable Care Act, Walters and her colleagues will raise the cost of health care for their constituents. And many constituents will lose their health care all together.
More than 36,000 constituents in Walter’s congressional district alone will lose coverage, according to estimates. In perhaps one of the most callous lines written by Walters, she says of those who can no longer afford health insurance, “they haven’t lost insurance; they’ve regained freedom.”
It is doubtful that a single mother losing health insurance for her family will view this loss as “regained freedom.”
“Finally, this bill is attacked as a tax cut for the rich at the expense of the poor.”
Once again, critics are correct. Of the 5.4 million Californians who will see a tax hike, ITEP notes that 80 percent earn less than $109,000. Even more startling, 1.3 million Californians who make an average of $24,000 will see a tax hike.
In contrast, the richest one percent of Californians will receive a Republican handout of $2.4 billion.
Walters needs to come clean to her constituents. She needs to own up to the fact that the bill she championed will raise taxes on millions of Californians while showering the wealthy with tax breaks. She needs to honestly confront constituents who, because of her vote, can no longer afford health care for themselves or their family.
Walters was right about one thing: The lies are, indeed, getting out of hand.