WASHINGTON, D.C. - As a member of the broad national community of advocates for
economic justice and equity for low and moderate income Americans, the National
Association of Social Workers (NASW) is opposed to the Tax Cut and Jobs Act.
This bill, as written, would produce a windfall for the “super
rich” while decimating safety-net programs that serve low-income elderly,
children and families. The tax cut bill was recently passed by the House of
Representatives and it is now in the hands of the Senate. The Senate’s version
of the tax bill, which retains the massive tax cuts for businesses and the
wealthy, is estimated to increase the deficit by about $1.5 trillion over ten years.
Therein lies the problem because - under Congress’s budget
rules- all spending bills that increase the deficit must be offset by equal
cuts in federal spending. This rule is euphemistically referred to as Paygo. To comply with Paygo, the Senate bill
proposes major cuts to programs that are critical to low-income Americans.
These proposed cuts are both unacceptable and inequitable.
According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), Paygo directives would force
spending cuts of $150 billion a year to offset the reduced tax revenues. CBO
suggests this would force a cut of $25 billion from Medicare — the maximum
amount allowable — and then cuts totaling between $85 billion to $90 billion
from other programs such as the federal student-loan program and farm subsidies,
Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) public
education, and the Child Care and Development Block Grant.
The Senate’s version would also eliminate the individual mandate in the Affordable
Care Act (ACA). Over ten years, this maneuver would generate $53 billion
to be used towards offsetting the cost of tax cuts for billionaires. At the
same time, repealing the individual mandate would result in over 13 million more people without health insurance. It will also raise premiums
for millions more, and cause uncertainty and instability in the individual
health insurance market.
Similarly, the Child Tax Credit proposal in the Senate tax
bill would not help families with low and moderate-income families – who struggle
to pay for child care. This is because the Senate tax bill would increase the
Child Tax Credit (CTC) and simultaneously reduce the amount that families can
claim for the actual costs for childcare. As a result, a single mother working
full time at the federal minimum wage and earning $14,500 would only get an additional
$75 in CTC benefits. This supposed benefit does nothing for income compromised
families - striving to make ends meet- to counter the high cost of child care that
they are faced with every month.
The economic inequities created by this proposed tax cut
bill exacerbates the existing income disparities between the rich and poor. NASW
believes that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act only adds to the real and perceived notion
that our country has turned its back on the have-nots and is catering to the
demands of the super-rich. Therefore, we call on the Senate to reject this bill
in favor of an approach that reduces extreme economic inequality when reforming
our tax system.