A Question


I have a question. Many of our songs touch on income inequality and its effects. The fundamental problem I’ve been pretty obsessed with — and that seems to be getting worse — is this: people try their hardest and are still held back.

I am genuinely concerned and curious about the tax reform bill that’s about to pass in the Senate, as I really don’t see how it does anything but perpetuate this problem.

— It won’t necessarily help workers. It cuts the corporate tax rate under the assumption that companies with more money will create jobs and even raise wages. On the former, that’s a questionable assumption. On the latter, right now, the market is doing great, corporations have lots of cash and wages still aren’t going up. This doesn’t seem great for workers.

— It will help the wealthy for no reason. It both doubles the exemption levels of the estate tax, which puts more money in the pockets of already wealthy people, and it gets rid of the alternative minimum tax, which ensured that high earners couldn’t take significant tax breaks. I’m not interested in screwing the wealthy for no reason; I’m just wondering if they really need this…

— It will take people’s health insurance away and make care more expensive. The theory behind getting rid of the mandate to buy health insurance is that it will save money; in practice it will probably just mean that healthy people won’t buy insurance, so premiums for everyone with insurance will rise. Also, it could cut Medicare and Medicaid, and that could hurt so many people.

— It will hurt you and me. It will provide tax cuts for individuals, but only temporarily. Taxes for the non-wealthy will actually rise in a few years.

So, my question is: what am I getting wrong here? If anyone out there can tell me how this bill does not just make the rich richer, the poor poorer, and the country less healthy – effects we will feel for decades – I would love to hear it.