The tax bill just passed by Congress and soon to be signed into law by the president is not perfect. But I voted for it because it will help working families and small businesses, give almost all Americans an immediate pay raise and create millions of new jobs.
You don’t have to take my word for it. In fact, as citizens, you shouldn’t take any politician’s word for it. And, happily, you won’t have to.
As in any political debate, there has been a lot of overheated speculation about this bill. Some Republicans opposed my work with Sen. Marco Rubio to change the bill to provide more tax relief directly to the working families. They said increasing the child tax credit would destroy the bill and crush its chances to spur economic growth. The argument was silly.
But so are many of the criticisms of the bill coming from the left. Some Democrats say the bill will cut taxes only for businesses, not individuals. That’s false. The centrist Brookings Institute says the bill will reduce taxes for all income groups in 2018 by an average of $1,600.
Some congressional Democrats argued this tax rate reduction plan was the worst bill in American history, apparently forgetting about the Fugitive Slave Act or the Alien and Sedition Acts. These criticisms are absurd.
In total, the bill is estimated to cut some federal taxes by a total of $6.5 trillion over the next 10 years and raise others by $4 trillion over the same period, coming out to a $1.5 trillion tax cut. I am not thrilled about the potential hit to the deficit. But I also believe we cannot tax our way to a balanced budget. The only way to close the deficit is through economic growth and spending discipline. With new jobs, higher wages and more investment, the larger overall economic pie will give a bigger slice both to American workers and to their government.
Over the last two decades, the United States’ 35 percent corporate tax rate has cost us trillions of dollars in aggregate international investment. The new 20 percent rate in this bill will help bring more of the global economy to our shores, instead of having us send so much of ours overseas.
And of course the doubling of the standard deduction and child credit will deliver immediate, substantial tax relief to middle-income families.
And the good news is that, in a few weeks, we will be able to ignore the political speculation and rhetoric and just see for ourselves.
Once the bill is signed into law, the IRS will implement the new rules, and paycheck withholding guidelines will change. In another few pay periods, you either will or won’t see an increase in your take-home pay.
Over the next few years, we either will or won’t see more “Help Wanted” signs in business windows. We will or won’t see more listings on job-search websites. We will or won’t hear about this or that business expanding, opening a new branch or a new plant.
We will or won’t see people — friends, neighbors and family members — getting raises and promotions, making diagonal moves and switching employers or even industries.
A pro-growth tax reform with pro-family relief is neither the end of the world nor a solution to all our problems. But it can — and I think it will — make it easier for people to pay off debt, afford medical bills and groceries and save for college, vacation or retirement.
The new, $2,000 per-child tax credit — which Rubio and I successfully fought to make available to millions of working families — won’t make raising children easy. But it will make things like diapers, braces, sports or piano lessons more affordable again.
I voted for this tax bill because I believe it will deliver higher take-home pay, more relief for middle-class families and business tax reform to spur hiring, wage growth and investment. Every Democrat in the House and Senate voted against the bill because they thought it would not do those things.
In a few weeks, we’ll start to see — in your paychecks, at your office, in your community — who was right.
Republican Sen. Mike Lee is the junior senator from Utah and serves as the chairman for the U.S. Senate Steering Committee.