Will Congress Be Able to Pass Tax Reform?

Edward Prestera '18

It is déjà vu at this point. Congress has a complex issue of massive importance ahead of them, yet through partisan quarreling and ideologues, change is impossible. The lack of progress from Congress has caused America to become a country with its problems left unaddressed. This is unhealthy and will hurt the country in the long run. There is plenty of room for agreement if an effort by our leaders attempt to do so.

This time around, Donald Trump and congressional Republicans are attempting to pass a tax bill that would be as President Trump calls it, “the largest tax cut in our country’s history.” The plan includes scrapping the estate tax, cutting corporate tax from 35% to 20%, and shrinking the seven tax brackets to three with the top rate being 35%. What are the chances of these changes getting passed? Who knows. You would think that this would be an issue that Republicans could finally agree on after failing to repeal and replace Obamacare. However, despite being the majority in the Senate and House, Republicans still disagree on fundamental ideas. Some Republicans, who are deficit hawks, fear that a tax cut will add too much to the deficit. Also, there are moderates like Senator Susan Collins, who see the cut as too extreme. Combine these Republicans with the Democratic minority, who will most likely be unanimous in their dissent to the bill, and it could possibly go nowhere.

If anything, the health care debacle and now tax reform show how inefficient the government has become. The two-party system cannot get anything done, despite most people wanting change. Almost everybody can agree that the tax code is too complicated, or that the United States losses too much money overseas from tax avoidance. There are common sense compromises that nobody is willing to put forward. Both sides do not want to seem like cowards, selling out.

However, there is ample room for agreement. Closing loopholes and creating simpler taxes could be a start, but Republicans are hellbent on creating huge tax cuts that cannot be paid for. Moreover, Democrats offer few realistic alternatives, and just complain about Republican ideals. This rhetoric may seem appealing to the respective bases but is adverse to progress.

Throughout most of American history, progress has been achieved through compromises. Nowadays, people are fed up with the lack of progress. Congress has become so toxic and unpopular that their approval rating is 13%, despite being recently elected. Will there be any change? Realistically, probably not anytime soon. Maybe the Republicans will figure things out and a bill will pass. However, the central problem still remains: our government cannot work together. It is partly the fault of the voters, who do not hold the leaders accountable. Hopefully, in future elections, the congressman and women who are elected are committed to progress and not stymied by partisan bickering. Until then, the status quo will most likely be more of the same.