Originally Published in The Hill

By Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), Opinion Contributors


Two wrongs don’t make a right. Yet President Trump and Republicans in Congress seem to think if they give two huge tax cuts to the rich within nine months—threatening vital public services for working families in the process—it will somehow add up to good policy. It won’t.

Last year, Republicans enacted a $2 trillion tax package that will eventually give over 80 percent of the benefits to the nation’s wealthiest 1 percent. Soon after, they laid out their plan for working families to pick up the tab through trillions of dollars in proposed cuts to vital services like Medicare, Medicaid and education.

Now they’re at it again, preparing to vote on another massive tax giveaway slanted towards the rich—but this time it will cost more than $3 trillion. And the GOP is intent on making sure that working families carry this burden.

Recall that shortly after he signed his tax bill into law, President Trump proposed a budget that cut $1.3 trillion from Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act (ACA). His reason: to shrink the deficit that exploded because of his own unpaid tax breaks. Then House Republicans proposed slashing critical services by $5 trillion, including $2 trillion from Medicare, Medicaid and the ACA, on top of cuts to veterans benefits, mass transit, road building and food for hungry families.

If President Trump and Republicans get their way, their donors and corporate special interests will get a second massive handout, while the rest of us are stuck with the bill.

This is all wrong. We need to strengthen public services and make investments in our future on everything from health care to infrastructure to schools—not cut them. Corporations and the wealthy should pay their fair share of taxes, not receive even larger tax cuts.

Taking money from public investments and giving it to the rich and corporations is just another glaring example of President Trump and the GOP further rigging an economic system that is already stacked against working families.

For decades, Republicans have tried to justify their tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy by claiming the benefits would ultimately be shared with workers. But the wealth never trickles down.

Before passing last year’s tax bill, President Trump promised that working families would get a $4,000 raise, and the administration predicted we would see an immediate jump in wage growth. Instead, wages have remained flat over the past year when accounting for rising prices, and only 4 percent of workers have received any kind of pay increase tied explicitly to the tax law.

Instead, money from the GOP tax scam is lining the pockets of CEOs and wealthy investors. Since the Republican plan became law, corporations have announced over 100 times more in stock buybacks—which overwhelmingly benefit the rich investor class—than they have in workers’ raises and bonuses.

The process that resulted in last year’s tax law confirmed that instead of draining the swamp, President Trump has become the swamp. Over 7,000 corporate lobbyists helped write the tax law so that it benefitted their corporate clients at the expense of the American people. Among the biggest winners are the same drug firms that keep jacking up prescription prices and Wall Street banks that crashed the economy 10 years ago.

The multi-billionaire Koch brothers will get an extra billion dollars or so every year thanks to last year’s GOP tax law. This year, they’re spending $400 million to protect their handout by electing Republicans to Congress.

Finally, President Trump and his family will likely save tens of millions of dollars from the tax bill he signed into law and he is now travelling around the country celebrating.

Instead of doubling down on these terrible policies, we need a tax system that is fair for working families. Rather than pass a second round of misguided tax cuts, Congress should repeal the existing cuts for the wealthy and corporations and use the money to invest in our communities: more affordable health care, safer roads, better schools, faster internet, and more secure retirements. That’s how we right a wrong.

Grijalva and Pocan are co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.