Nebraska’s Congressional Delegation Voted To Increase Taxes on Gold Star Families and Husker Fans

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Khizr Khan and Ghazala Khan are Gold Star parents who were insulted by Donald J. Trump before he raised their taxes.

It’s been nearly two years since Nebraska’s Congressional delegation voted for Trump’s $2 trillion deficit funded tax cut for the wealthy. Approximately 83% of the benefits will go to the top 1% and 60 large corporations are now paying zero taxes as a result of this law. Moreover, America’s richest 400 families now pay a lower tax rate than the middle class.

By every promise and metric from the Republicans, the 2017 tax law is an abject failure. Trump and the D.C. Republicans promised us that the tax cuts would pay for themselves. Instead, the deficit has nearly doubled from $585 billion to $1 trillion. The middle class was promised a $4,000.00 pay raise but wages have grown a paltry 1.2% after being adjusted for inflation. Trump promised GDP growth in the amount of 4% but GDP growth clocked in at a weak 1.9% in the third quarter. The promised business investment and manufacturing booms fizzled out.

The 2017 bill was passed in a hasty and slapdash manner. The bill was drafted behind closed doors by a handful of party insiders and lobbyists. There were no hearings and no C.B.O. score. Only a bare minimum of debate was even allowed. The GOP Congressional leadership knew that there would be a voter revolt if this deeply flawed bill got any real scrutiny.

One of the consequences of this bum’s rush to pass a bill was that many of its most noxious provisions were overlooked by its supporters in the Congress. Due to the dishonesty and sheer incompetence of the D.C. Republicans, Gold Star families are now paying higher taxes on survivors’ benefits.

“People are absolutely shocked that this happened, and they weren’t planning for it,” Ashlynne Haycock, deputy director of policy for the military families nonprofit Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), told CNN in an interview. “It has been a severe hardship for surviving families.”

Jessica Braden-Rogers, a military widow stated: “They (members of Congress) need to immediately rethink that and think about the impact that it’s having on Gold Star children and their families,” she said. “We’ve already sacrificed enough.” Elizabeth Davis of Stafford, Virginia usually owes a few hundred dollars around tax time. In 2018, she found herself paying almost $10,000.00.

The families of our fallen heroes aren’t the only ones who are funding this tax cut for the billionaire class. Nebraska’s Congressional delegation even raised taxes on Husker fans. A provision in the 2017 tax bill eliminated the tax deduction for donations that are tied to season tickets.

Richard Kaplan, a professor of law at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who specializes in tax policy stated in 2017 that: “It’s going to make it more expensive to get those tickets.” “It could be disastrous — for not just us, but every athletic department in the country,” Louisiana State University Athletic Director Joe Alleva told the local Baton Rouge newspaper.

When Jeff Fortenberry and Don Bacon were asked about this provision by the Omaha World Herald in November 2017, they both admitted that they hadn’t heard of it. (I’m old enough to remember when the Republicans demanded that the Democrats read the Obama Care bill. My how times have changed.) Nevertheless, they both voted for the bill in December 2017 — along with the rest of Nebraska’s Congressional delegation.

Once again, we have more proof of the sheer incompetence and priorities of Trump and the D.C. Republicans. A number of glitches have turned up in this ill fashioned law and none of them have cost the top 1% and big business one nickel. Not one red cent. This is just appalling.

The 2017 Trump tax bill simply doesn’t reflect Nebraska values. Our Congressional representatives voted to increase taxes on Main Street to fund a tax cut for Wall Street. Fischer, Sasse, Fortenberry, Bacon and Smith are prioritizing the values and interests of their elite donors over their own constituents in Nebraska.

Sasse, Fortenberry, Bacon and Smith are all on the ballot in 2020. Let’s do everything we can to vote them out. It’s time to drive the money changers out of the temple of democracy and elect representatives who stand up for Nebraska values. We can do it! Let’s get it done!

I’m a trial lawyer, a Democratic activist and a sports fan.

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