What Fresh Hell Is This?

February 9, 2018

Senator Toomey RESPONDS to Another Letter

Yesterday, in the (snail) mail I received another response from my Senator, Pat Toomey (R-PA). Well, as you'll see he "responds" but he doesn't actually "answer" my letter.

He begins with this:
Thank you for contacting me about reforming our nation's tax code. I appreciate hearing from you.
I'm so glad he still appreciates hearing from me.

Now let's go find out which letter he's answering.

What he sent was dated January 24 so we can safely assume he's not answering any of my letters sent after that date (the 45th and the 46th). And we know from his opening it's about taxes.

So when did I ask him about taxes?
  • 40th - Where I ask him about how a fiscal conservative can support a budget that adds $1.5 trillion to the deficit over the next decade.
  • 33rd - Where I ask him to explain his support of the budget that, according to the NYTimes, provides a windfall for the wealthiest Americans and little or no support for everyone else. This letter was kinda sorta responded to here.
So it must be the 40th.  Specifically, after mentioning the trillion dollar addition to the deficit this budget represents I asked:
As a fiscal conservative, how can you possibly approve of such a plan? Or do you no longer consider yourself a fiscal conservative?
You can read his response at the bottom of this blog post.

Pat Toomey simply avoids any mention of trillion. He refused to answer my question at all.

The interesting thing about his answer, in fact, is found in his previous response to the 33rd letter.

Take a look. This is the second paragraph of the 33-response:
Tax reform can help to create sustained economic growth for all Americans. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has projected the nation's gross domestic product to increase by a meager 1.9 percent each year over the next decade. I refuse to accept sub-two percent growth as the new normal knowing that, in the sixty years before the Obama administration, economic growth averaged 3.4 percent per year.
And this is the second paragraph of the 42-response:
Tax reform will help to create sustained economic growth for all Americans. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has projected the nation's gross domestic product to increase by a meager 1.9 percent each year over the next decade. I refuse to accept sub-two percent growth as the new normal knowing that, in the sixty years before the Obama administration, economic growth averaged 3.4 percent per year.
Uh-oh. He's reusing material. It's never a good sign. In fact, a reddit user from Philadelphia (and let's remember the Philadelphia Eagles beat the New England Patriots this past Super Bowl) posted this exact same letter back in December.

While ignoring my question, Toomey also ignores the fact that, in his bill, the tax cuts for people that he praises so lavishly are temporary. And they are skewed to the already wealthy.

Politifact summarizes the research done by the non-partisan Joint Committee on Taxation:
By 2027, every income group below $75,000 sees a tax increase. Only those income ranges above $75,000 still see a cut by 2027. That’s a significantly different pattern than in 2019, when every group saves, on average.

Meanwhile, if you look at the income groups who gain in 2027, there’s an even stronger skew toward the wealthiest taxpayers. The top 1 percent of taxpayers -- those earning at least $500,000 -- take 48 percent of the gains.
But Toomey doesn't mention any of this in his non-answer to my letter.

Another swing and a miss, Pat. Sorry.

The text of the letter:
Thank you for contacting me about reforming our nation's tax code. I appreciate hearing from you.

Tax reform will help to create sustained economic growth for all Americans. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has projected the nation's gross domestic product to increase by a meager 1.9 percent each year over the next decade. I refuse to accept sub-two percent growth as the new normal knowing that, in the sixty years before the Obama administration, economic growth averaged 3.4 percent per year.

On December 20, 2017, the Senate passed the final version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1) by a vote of 51 - 48. After passage of H.R. 1 in the House of Representatives, President Trump signed the bill into law on December 22, 2017. Passage of this bill brings the most historic reform to our tax code in over three decades.

This pro-growth bill achieves two major accomplishments. First, it provides a direct pay raise by lowering the tax burden on hardworking individuals and families across Pennsylvania. The bill cuts individual tax rates across the board as well as doubles both the standard deduction and the child tax credit. The vast majority of lower and middle-income taxpayers will pay less in federal taxes beginning in 2018.

Second, the bill significantly reforms our outdated and uncompetitive business tax code, thus enabling American workers and businesses to compete globally, encouraging a surge in economic growth, and creating better paying jobs. By reducing our business rates below the average of our foreign competitors, we are encouraging companies to invest and create new jobs in the United States. Moreover, the bill allows businesses to fully write-off the cost of capital expenditures, such as the buying of equipment, vehicles, and machinery, in the year of purchase. Promoting invested capital grows the productive capacity of the economy and requires workers to build and operate these tools. This places upward pressure on wages and brings people back into the workforce. The result is that workers will have an increasing share of the wealth this country produces.

I am glad that the House, Senate, and Administration came together to finish our work on this bill to deliver on our promise of a better and brighter economic future for all Americans.

Thank you again for your correspondence. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of assistance.

Sincerely,

Pat Toomey
U.S. Senator, Pennsylvania

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