HAVE THE TAX CUTS TRICKLED DOWN TO YOU?
HAVE THE TAX CUTS TRICKLED DOWN TO YOU?
By Jeanne Larson
In December 2017, the Republican majority rushed tax-cut legislation through Congress before the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis of the 505-page bill could be properly scrutinized.
On April 9, 2018, reuters.com reported that the CBO estimates the immense tax cuts signed into law — which Republicans said would pay for themselves — will balloon the deficit for years to come. In just one year, 2017 to 2018, the deficit expands from $665 billion to $804 billion.
On September 28, 2018, forbes.com reported:
*The tax cuts are fueling a huge increase in the federal deficit and debt.
*The money corporations saved from tax cuts went to companies’ bottom lines and stock buybacks, not to raise workers’ pay or make productive investments.
*In 2017, before the tax cuts kicked in, average CEO compensation increased 17.6%.
*Most households haven’t received a meaningful increase in after-tax income from the cuts.
*Since cuts were skewed to the rich, it’s unlikely they will spur a broad-based economic stimulus.
On November 29, 2018, The Fiscal Times reported that the CBO now projects the tax-cut bill will add $1.9 trillion to deficits through 2028.
Republicans tout as a major accomplishment the improvement of national security by way of an increase in military spending in a March 2018 $1.3 trillion spending bill.
In November 2018, reuters.com and thenation.com reported that the Department of Defense failed a comprehensive audit conducted by 1,200 independent auditors. The auditors stated they couldn’t complete the job because the DOD’s financial records were so riddled with bookkeeping deficiencies, irregularities, and errors that a reliable audit was impossible.
In 1990, Congress enacted the Chief Financial Officers Act, which required all federal government departments and agencies to develop auditable accounting systems and submit to annual audits. Since then, every department and agency has complied except the Pentagon, which was dragged to this 2018 independent audit because they failed to audit themselves.
Michigan State University professor Mark Skidmore, an economics professor specializing in government finance, spent months with two graduate students studying DOD financial statements for years 1998 through 2015. Skidmore’s research revealed that DOD financial records are filled with phony numbers and multiple shifting of funds — referred to by Pentagon insiders as “plugs” and “nippering” — totaling an astonishing $21 trillion. The DOD’s slippery accounting methods and suspicious disappearance of any supporting documentation make the $21 trillion of financial “transactions” impossible to trace or explain.
Congress relies on DOD financial statements to decide how much money to give the Pentagon each fiscal cycle. Congress allocated $686 billion to the DOD for 2017; $692 billion for 2018, and $716 billion for 2019.
The DOD, the government’s largest discretionary-cost center, receives 54 cents of every dollar in federal appropriations, and no one knows for sure whether our tax money is being spent legitimately by the Pentagon. The Government Accountability Office, which is Congress’s watchdog, lists the Pentagon at high risk for significant fraud, waste, and abuse.
US Representative Sean Duffy supported the tax-cut and spending bills. Contact Representative Duffy to let him know that the benefits of the tax-cut bill haven’t trickled down to you yet, that it hasn’t paid for itself, and that further increasing the deficit to benefit the rich while exacerbating economic inequality was a bad idea.
Let him know that handing over ever-increasing amounts of money to the Pentagon without requiring substantiation of how the funds are spent is cheating taxpayers of resources that could be better invested in infrastructure, education and healthcare.
Representative Sean Duffy
1714 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 2-515
Toll Free 1-855-585-4251
email at https://duffy.house.gov/contact