EDITORIAL: Gardner, Coffman: Fix the GOP tax reforms that are toxic to the middle class

It’s not too late for Coffman and Gardner to put their middle-class Colorado constituents’ needs in front of those of the GOP and the wealthy. It’s unlikely they’ll vote to kill a compromise bill, but it’s possible to at least force their party leaders to remove the meanest, most pernicious elements of this fast-cobbled disaster

You are being bamboozled by President Donald Trump and Republican allies like Aurora Congressman Mike Coffman and Colorado Senator Cory Gardner.

The GOP tax-reform plans, as they stand, are reckless schemes that will cost you dearly now or later — unless you’re rich.

Look away from the cheerleading, the political marketing, the doublespeak and from their own Republican or discounted studies. The message coming from the White House and peddled by Republicans downstream are blatant misdirection and in too many cases, outright lies.

The consistently mild-mannered Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, a man never prone to hyperbole or histrionics, summed up the GOP tax-reform scheme just after it passed late Saturday, filled with scribbled notes about who knows what.

“When I came to Washington nine years ago, I would have never believed that something this cynical could happen on the floor of the U.S. Senate,” Bennet said in a statement. “The Senate passed a tax bill that has been sold to the American people with falsehood after falsehood.”

The facts, undisputed by the vast number of credible economic experts agree that the GOP plans will explode budget deficits and the national debt. No leading independent economist or economist group backs the GOP claim that this tax-plan pays for itself. Not one.

While there may be some net economic growth caused directly from giving huge tax breaks to giant corporations and the country’s richest citizens, it will not offset the massive loss to the current budget.

If you’re poor, kind of poor, middle class or even upper middle class, you’ll see very little benefit now, compared to the cost to the country, and what little you do get will be short-lived. And despite GOP claims to the opposite, there are millions of middle-class Americans who may see no net tax savings and could even pay more in taxes.

And the worst part? The House bill was purposely written to make tax-cuts for the middle class temporary. After just eight years, many go away, and a majority of those with incomes between $54,700 and $93,200 would begin seeing tax hikes. Tax cuts intended to prompt business growth for small businesses begin evaporating after just two years.

On top of the horrific problems all that causes, there are measures in one bill or the other that would end the Obamacare insurance mandate, a preposterous move bolted onto a budgeting bill that would not only immediately send the health-insurance market into panic, it would almost immediately mean an exodus of about 13 million people from the system, creating a catastrophe.

Plans also call for forcing impoverished graduate students to count as income discounts they get in university tuition in lieu of teaching responsibilities. That’s akin to making all college students count scholarships and grants as taxable money they would get from jobs. All this so rich people already benefiting mightily from the healthy economy the last administration handed over to Trump can get even richer?

And the most alarming consensus from independent, credible economists is that there will be no trickle down to working Americans in the way of raises, bonuses or more jobs after slashing the corporate tax rates. History, common sense and expertise points out that corporations will buy back stocks and pass their windfall onto stockholders.

These two tax bills as written are nothing but shocking ripoffs to America’s ailing middle class.

It’s not too late for Coffman and Gardner to put their middle-class Colorado constituents’ needs in front of those of the GOP and the wealthy. It’s unlikely they’ll vote to kill a compromise bill, but it’s possible to at least force their party leaders to remove the meanest, most pernicious elements of this fast-cobbled disaster.

Restore breaks to those who need them most and push to reduce perks Trump and others have written in for their own pet industries. In addition, force companies bringing home cash from abroad in past efforts to thwart U.S. tax laws to spend it on what Republicans are promising, and not even bigger dividend checks for those who make money from the labor of others.

After watching Republicans ram this odious measure through Congress, it’s clear they won’t scrap it no matter how dire the effects or consequences. But certainly there’s at least a slim majority of Republicans with enough of a conscience to fix the worst of this mess and prevent their constituents from having to suffer so much from this political “victory.”