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Congress presents a tax code that’s fairer and simpler

Oct 24, 2017
Column
By U.S. Rep. Roger Williams and Jerome Greener - Special to the American-Statesman

Any businessman knows that the best way to grow our economy is by embracing tax reform that includes pro-growth and pro-American economic policies. Congress is working on a plan that would dramatically overhaul our tax code for the first time in more than three decades — and this comprehensive approach should guide our country every step of the way.


Modernizing our tax code means more than just lowering rates. It is about doing away with our archaic, convoluted and uncompetitive tax code and replacing it with one that is fairer, flatter and simpler.


Anyone defending the current tax code is fundamentally hindering progress — and in the end, strangling this economy. President Ronald Reagan once said that you cannot be for higher taxes and still be for the little guy. Only in Washington, D.C., would anyone with a straight face argue otherwise.


Thankfully, President Donald Trump and Congress have rolled out a strong general framework for authentic tax reform that is quickly gaining traction. So far, the highlights include lowering rates for individuals and families, nearly doubling the standard deduction, eliminating loopholes and lowering the corporate tax rate. While all of this is desperately needed, it is still up to us to fill in the rest of the details and make sure it benefits all Americans.


True reform means bringing 21st century updates to our tax code and extending relief to American job creators. Relief can come in the form of making taxes easier to file, therefore freeing mom and pop shops from hours of tax compliance and allowing them to innovate, invest and pursue those opportunities they have been putting off. We need to support the entrepreneur who has put their life’s work on the line in order to pursue the American Dream.


We also need to bring down our corporate tax rate – the highest among industrialized countries – to compete in the global market. Ordinary Americans want to know how cutting the corporate tax rate helps Main Street. The answer is simple: Lower rates will help U.S. companies invest and grow in this country instead of elsewhere. This will boost wages, spark economic growth and bring American jobs back home where they belong.


However, reform is never easy — and those who benefit from the existing maze of loopholes can be expected to stand fast in defense of their favored status. House Speaker Paul Ryan recently said when this happens, “we must be able to count on the foot soldiers of the conservative movement to see this through.” The speaker is absolutely right: Our current tax code is the definition of a typical Washington bureaucratic gimmick that benefits a few at the expense of everyone else.


The American people believe that the system is stacked against them — and rightfully so. For far too long, hard workers in our country experienced disappointment after disappointment at the hands of their government — and this time, we will not throw away their trust by way of failure. We are confident in Congress’ ability to stay focused and get this done. Anything and everything we do needs to be pro-America, because excuses will be in short supply if we let this once-in-a-generation opportunity slip away.


Williams represents Texas’ 25th Congressional District. Greener is the Texas director of Americans for Prosperity.