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Tax reform takes ‘fresh approach’ to help workers and spur growth, says Rep. Kevin Brady
The major tax cut proposed by House Republicans is “the biggest tax giveaway to giant corporations in modern memory, said Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. Judy Woodruff gets reaction to the bill from Warren, plus the senator weighs in on revelations from a new book by Donna Brazile about the DNC, the 2016 election and whether the nominating process was rigged for Hillary Clinton.
And now for a Democratic response to the tax bill. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts sits on the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. I asked her to respond to the claims by President Trump and Republicans' that the bill would lead to the largest tax cut in modern history.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren:
Well, it is the biggest tax giveaway to giant corporations in modern memory. I mean, because that's what this is. Let's not kid ourselves. It's got lots of moving parts, but the key, the part that's the whole central issue here is $2 trillion in giveaways to giant corporations.
And you know who the biggest recipients of it are going to be?
Number one recipient is estimated to be Wells Fargo, who will walk away with billions of dollars. You do remember Wells Fargo, the company that opened the fake accounts to cheat its own customers.
Another big recipient will be the wealthy foreign investors who are estimated to make about $700 billion out of this deal. And the third big group is going to be the multinational companies who are going to get an even better break for investing in jobs overseas, instead of investing in jobs here at home. This thing is really horrible.
Well, Senator, let me ask you about a couple of points you just made.
Because as you know, the Republicans are saying, yes, we're giving a break to corporations and small businesses because we believe that is going to lead to more jobs and higher wages, that we are going to grow the economy, and Americans are going to be better off.
You know, this is the big lie that the Republicans have been selling now for decades. And we have evidence about it — let's just be clear — when the George W. Bush tax cuts went through in the early 2000s, what happened? Corporations walked out with sacks and sacks of money and wages stayed flat for American workers.
Oh, over in Great Britain, they lowered the corporate tax rate by 11 points, and what happened? The wages went down for most workers.
But here's the deal — look at it this way: right now, corporate profits are at an all-time high. These corporations are rolling in money. If they wanted money to be able to invest in the American economy, they got it. The idea that somehow if we give them a couple of trillion dollars that they're going to come invest in America, particularly when we give it to them in a form so that they get more incentives for investing outside America — I'm telling you, today, given the evidence, given what this tax bill looks like, that is an insult to working families across America.
Well, Senator, what they are saying- we just talked to Chairman Kevin Brady, of course, the House taxing committee, the Ways and Means Committee, saying by putting a minimum tax on profits corporation earn overseas, that it's going to be — it means that money is going to come back to the United States, and they're going to be able to invest it here.
Isn't that — my question to you is, is that not an approach that makes sense?
Let me just — can I just slightly rephrase what he's saying that's a little more factual. By taxing corporation less on what they earn from their investments overseas, then we tax them on what they earn from their investments here in the United States, we're going to grow the American economy.
No, that's not going to happen. It makes no sense. And, of course, they've got no evidence to back it up, because it just doesn't work that way.
Well, let me ask you about the other part of this tax proposal, and that is what they say is a significant tax cut for middle-income Americans. And they talk about the average family is going to bring home at least around $1,200 a year more than they have today. They talk about other breaks. They're doing away with the alternative minimum tax.
And they list other breaks that would exist for many, many American families.
So, look, I have been working, as you know, for decades now on trying to get some economic fairness and economic relief for working families, for paycheck-to-paycheck families, for middle-class families. And if what the Republicans really wanted to do was sit down and do a tax plan that would really help middle-class families, then, I would be all in.
But that's not what they're talking about here. In fact, they're going to raise taxes on a whole lot of people.
But the key starts with that $2 trillion giveaway. As soon as they give away $2 trillion — I just want you think for a minute about what they might have done with that money. They could have spent that money on infrastructure right here in the United States, created good jobs right here, and built us a 21st century infrastructure that would give our businesses a competitive advantage all around the world.
They could have taken that $2 trillion and said, let's forgive the outstanding student loan debt for lots of our young people. Let's get them into this economy, working hard, starting their own businesses. That would work.
Or they could have said, I know, let's write a check for $17,000 to every single family in America making less than $200,000. And they still would have had money left over.
There are a lot of ways that we could have spent $2 trillion on building a stronger economy for work families. But the Republicans chose none of that. They want to give that money away to their biggest corporate donors.
Senator, is there any part of this tax proposal that you could work with?
Oh, look, there are bits and pieces. And like I said, if we really were about the business of trying to help middle-class families, I'm in. But if they're going to start with a $2 trillion giveaway to their biggest corporate donors, a $2 trillion giveaway to Wells Fargo, a $2 trillion giveaway to giant corporations that are helping fund campaigns for these Republicans, then my answer is no. You can't start there and build something good for working families.
Senator, finally, a question on a different subject. We're learning today that a new book that is coming out by Donna Brazile, the former acting chair of the Democratic National Committee, that the campaign of Secretary Hillary Clinton was far more influential at the Democratic Party, the Democratic National Committee, than we previously knew.
Do you think what we're learning from Donna Brazile's book suggests that the campaign, that what the Democratic National Committee did meant this election was rigged?
I think it was.
That's a pretty powerful charge.
Well, what we have to focus on now as Democrats is we recognize the process was rigged, and now it is up to Democrats to build a new process, a process that really works, and works for everyone.
And as we go forward, we have confidence in the integrity of the system, that Democrats, as they run a primary, are going to let the people speak, and that we're going to have a candidate who's the candidate chosen by the people. That's our job.
Senator Elizabeth Warren, thank you very much.
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