The Laudable Pursuit: A Tax Cut for Working Families

Senator Mike Lee
2017-12-27 10:42:33
December 27, 2017 "to elevate the condition of men--to lift artificial weights from all shoulders, to clear the paths of laudable pursuit for all, to afford all an unfettered start and a fair chance, in the race of life." --Abraham Lincoln Chairman's Note: A Tax Cut for Working Families The tax cut bill just passed by Congress and 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. But 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 who opposed my work with Sen. Marco Rubio to change the bill to provide more tax relief directly to working and middle class said that 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 only cut taxes 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 nuts. In total, the bill is estimated to cut some federal taxes by a total of $6.5 trillion over the next ten 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 with 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, in a few weeks we will be able to ignore the political speculation and rhetoric and just see for ourselves. Now that the bill is law, the IRS will begin to implement the new rules, and paycheck withholding guidelines will change. In another few pay periods, you either will or won't see a raise in your take-home pay. Over the course of the next year, two years, three 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. The new, $2,000 per-child tax credit - which Sen. Rubio and I successfully fought to make available to millions of additional working families - won't make raising kids easy. But it will make things like diapers, braces, little league, 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. Issue in Focus: They See You When You Travel It's a Christmas motif almost as ubiquitous as Christmas trees or sleigh bells - families and individuals hastily making their way through airports, balancing presents, bags, and children, excited to make their way home to spend Christmas with their loved ones. They're concerned with their flight status, the weather in their destination, their luggage making it to the destination, or the likelihood they will get selected for a random TSA pat-down and any other number of travel-related factors. But in 2018, there may be another worry to add to that already long list of travel woes. At some point next year, the Department Homeland Security (DHS) is hoping to implement mandatory facial scans for all people - American citizens included - who are flying internationally. In fact, they've already rolled out this invasive practice in a handful of airports this holiday season. This new invasion of Americans' privacy caught the attention of Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA), who's own Logan International Airport was one of the airports selected for the rollout. We wrote a letter together to get more information from DHS about this program. There are a number of issues with this program, including that DHS hasn't instituted a way to let travelers know that they will be subjected to this scan before they fly. But more importantly there is no evidence to show that this facial scan actually works. DHS is hoping to use this technology accurately 96% of the time. But even at that rate 1 of 25 travelers would still be misidentified and improperly flagged by DHS. Additional evidence shows gender and ethnicity increase the likelihood of being improperly flagged. But perhaps the biggest concern is how the government will use this accumulated data and whether or not DHS is even allowed to collect it in the first place. As of now, the information is supposedly only shared with the National Institute of Standards and Technology to check for fraud, and then deleted from the DHS database after 14 days. But in our examination of the program, we have not seen satisfactory safeguards that protect this information from being accessed by third party groups or that show these protocols are actually being followed. The Department of Homeland Security is ushering in this program in an attempt to fulfill a Congressional mandate that says a biometric exit program needs to be in place for international travelers. However, they have gone beyond this directive as the mandate passed by Congress did not allow for facial scans to be used on American citizens. For DHS to do this stands in direct conflict with the Constitution and its 4th Amendment protection of privacy. Until the Department of Homeland Security is willing to address these problems and provide myself, Senator Markey, and Congress sufficient evidence to prove the program falls within the constraints of its Congressional mandate, DHS should provide American citizens with a timely Christmas present - protecting their rights by not only stopping this programs expansion, but stopping it's use entirely. Washington, D.C. Office 361A Russell Senate Office Building Washington, D.C., 20510 Phone: 202.224.5444 Fax: 202.228.1168 Salt Lake City Wallace F. Bennett Federal Building 125 South State, Suite 4225 Salt Lake City, UT 84138 Phone: 801.524.5933 Fax: 801.524.5730 St. George Office of Senator Michael S. Lee 285 West Tabernacle, Suite 200 St. George, UT 84770 Phone: 435.628.5514 SaveSaveSave SaveSave SaveSaveSave Save Save Save Save Save Save SaveSave SaveSaveSave SaveSave Save This message was intended for: xxx You were added to the system October 2, 2015. For more information please follow the URL below: newsletter.senate.gov/p/iWUalyfoPN Follow the URL below to update your preferences or opt-out: newsletter.senate.gov/p/oWUalyfoPN To unsubscribe from future mailings, send an email to mailto:xxx?Subject=Unsubscribe&body=Please%20remove%20me%20from%20further%20mailings with "Unsubscribe" as the subject line.
December 27, 2017

"to elevate the condition of men--to lift artificial weights from all shoulders, to clear the paths of laudable pursuit for all, to afford all an unfettered start and a fair chance, in the race of life." --Abraham Lincoln

Chairman's Note: A Tax Cut for Working Families

The tax cut bill just passed by Congress and 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.
 
But 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 who opposed my work with Sen. Marco Rubio to change the bill to provide more tax relief directly to working and middle class said that 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 only cut taxes 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 nuts.
 
In total, the bill is estimated to cut some federal taxes by a total of $6.5 trillion over the next ten 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 with 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, in a few weeks we will be able to ignore the political speculation and rhetoric and just see for ourselves.
 
Now that the bill is law, the IRS will begin to implement the new rules, and paycheck withholding guidelines will change. In another few pay periods, you either will or won’t see a raise in your take-home pay.
 
Over the course of the next year, two years, three 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.
 
The new, $2,000 per-child tax credit – which Sen. Rubio and I successfully fought to make available to millions of additional working families – won’t make raising kids easy. But it will make things like diapers, braces, little league, 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.
 

Issue in Focus: They See You When You Travel

It’s a Christmas motif almost as ubiquitous as Christmas trees or sleigh bells – families and individuals hastily making their way through airports, balancing presents, bags, and children, excited to make their way home to spend Christmas with their loved ones. They’re concerned with their flight status, the weather in their destination, their luggage making it to the destination, or the likelihood they will get selected for a random TSA pat-down and any other number of travel-related factors.
 
But in 2018, there may be another worry to add to that already long list of travel woes.
 
At some point next year, the Department Homeland Security (DHS) is hoping to implement mandatory facial scans for all people – American citizens included – who are flying internationally. In fact, they’ve already rolled out this invasive practice in a handful of airports this holiday season.
 
This new invasion of Americans' privacy caught the attention of Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA), who’s own Logan International Airport was one of the airports selected for the rollout. We wrote"a letter together to get more information from DHS about this program.
 
There are a number of issues with this program, including that DHS hasn’t instituted a way to let travelers know that they will be subjected to this scan before they fly.
 
But more importantly there is no evidence to show that this facial scan actually works. DHS is hoping to use this technology accurately 96% of the time. But even at that rate 1 of 25 travelers would still be misidentified and improperly flagged by DHS.
 
Additional evidence shows gender and ethnicity increase the likelihood of being improperly flagged.
 
But perhaps the biggest concern is how the government will use this accumulated data and whether or not DHS is even allowed to collect it in the first place. As of now, the information is supposedly only shared with the National Institute of Standards and Technology to check for fraud, and then deleted from the DHS database after 14 days. But in our examination of the program, we have not seen satisfactory safeguards that protect this information from being accessed by third party groups or that show these protocols are actually being followed.
 
The Department of Homeland Security is ushering in this program in an attempt to fulfill a Congressional mandate that says a biometric exit program needs to be in place for international travelers. However, they have gone beyond this directive as the mandate passed by Congress did not allow for facial scans to be used on American citizens. For DHS to do this stands in direct conflict with the Constitution and its 4th Amendment protection of privacy.
 
Until the Department of Homeland Security is willing to address these problems and provide myself, Senator Markey, and Congress sufficient evidence to prove the program falls within the constraints of its Congressional mandate, DHS should provide American citizens with a timely Christmas present – protecting their rights by not only stopping this programs expansion, but stopping it’s use entirely.

 

Washington, D.C. Office
361A Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C., 20510
Phone: 202.224.5444
Fax: 202.228.1168

Salt Lake City
Wallace F. Bennett Federal Building
125 South State, Suite 4225
Salt Lake City, UT 84138
Phone: 801.524.5933
Fax: 801.524.5730

St. George
Office of Senator Michael S. Lee
285 West Tabernacle, Suite 200
St. George, UT 84770
Phone: 435.628.5514




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