GOP Tax Plan 'Poorly Designed,' Says Former Chief Economist to Joe Biden

Article ID: 687102

Released: 19-Dec-2017 2:40 PM EST

Source Newsroom: Northwestern University

Expert Pitch

EVANSTON, Ill. --- 
 Congress is expected to pass the final version of the tax bill as early as this evening. Northwestern University professors Ben Harris of the Kellogg School of Management and Monica Prasad of the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences weigh in.

Monica Prasad is a professor of sociology in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern. Her areas of interest include comparative historical sociology, economic sociology and political sociology. She has published books and articles on the rise of neoliberalism, the development of tax systems, the effects of carbon taxes and the persistence of poverty in America. She can be reached at m-prasad@northwestern.edu or 847-491-3899.

Quote from Professor Prasad “Could this tax cut make the tax code more progressive in the long run? Right now, it’s a gift to the wealthy, with huge permanent cuts for corporations and the wealthy and small temporary cuts for most middle-class Americans (and even tax increases for some). But think what happens the next time the Democrats get into power. Nothing is easier politically than raising taxes on the wealthy, and nothing is harder politically than raising taxes on the middle classes. So if and when the Democrats take over Congress, we might well see the middle-class tax cuts made permanent, and to pay for it, taxes raised on the rich.  

“In fact, that’s what happened after the Reagan tax cut of 1981, which had two major parts, a tax cut for everyone plus a tax cut for corporations. But when the deficit rose, it was corporate taxes that went back up. D.C. doesn’t worry about deficits anymore, but the unpopularity of these tax cuts suggests the story is not over yet.”

Ben Harris is a visiting associate professor at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and was formerly the chief economist to Vice President Joe Biden. Read his recent article: “Here’s the biggest missing piece in GOP tax plan.” He can be reached at benjamin.harris@kellogg.northwestern.edu. (He is available Wednesday through the end of the week.)

Quote from Professor Harris
“The Republican tax plan is poorly designed to generate higher long-run economic growth, while also raising serious distributional concerns. Despite claims by proponents, low- and middle-income families fare poorly with this tax cut -- especially when factoring in who will ultimately pay for the more than $1 trillion in higher deficits that would arise from its passage.”


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