It is impossible to ignore the many ways in which President Trump and the Republican Party have hurt Latinos and targeted immigrants who are often family members, friends and co-workers of Latino voters. They are about to do it again with their tax plan and we need to stop them.
They are now poised inflict another kind of hurt, through a massive tax cut for the richest 1 percent of people and corporations, to be paid for by raising taxes on working families and the elderly, including millions of Latinos, and cutting critical programs like Medicaid.
House Republicans already have passed the tax bill and the Senate is scheduled to vote in coming days, anxious to deliver Trump a much-needed political win — at our expense.
The roaring sound coming from Washington is the engine of the bus being revved up to roll over us.
The Trump/GOP plan is not tax reform, but a tax scam — un engaño — on the middle class and working poor, including Latinos. Even if a small tax benefit were to come our way, it would likely be offset by higher out-of-pocket costs for health care and other safety net programs.
Latinos are affected by the tax plan in two major ways.
First, Latinos have the second-lowest median income of all ethnic groups and would likely not benefit, or gain very little, from the unfair distribution of tax cuts to the wealthy.
Also, tax credits for the middle class and working poor would remain stagnant or be cut under pending legislation. Three million low-income children in working families would be denied the Child Tax Credit if their parents file their taxes with an Individual Tax Identification Number rather than a Social Security Number under the plan. Many immigrant families pay taxes with Individual Tax Identification Numbers.
Second, to offset the cost of the tax cuts, the GOP-led Congress already has approved a budget that severely slashes spending on the Affordable Health Care (ACA), Medicare, Medicaid. The proposed cut in the tax rate for corporations would cost $1.5 trillion. That’s how much the budget robs from Medicare ($500 billion) and Medicaid ($1 trillion), putting at great risk millions of seniors, children and people with disabilities. The Senate also proposes gutting the ACA by doing away with the requirement for everyone to have insurance.
Latinos, who benefitted the most from the ACA, nonetheless have the highest uninsured rate at 16 percent, and Hispanic children have the highest uninsured rate among all children, at 7.9 percent. Medicaid provides health coverage to 7.4 million non-elderly Latino adults and 12.2 million Latino children, excluding people with disabilities.
As the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities concluded, “When Congress turns its attention to paying for those tax cuts, most Latino families would likely lose more from cuts in areas such as health care, child care assistance, college aid and job training, food assistance, and refundable tax credits — that is, from programs that provide them with needed support or promote their upward mobility — than they would gain from the heavily skewed tax cuts.”
While all of these numbers can make one dizzy, the point is clear. Latinos will likely be hurt by this legislation.
We must call our senators and representatives in Washington and tell them we will not be tricked by their false promises of lower taxes. This tax legislation is irresponsible and mean-spirited.
Members of Congress must remember that the votes they cast now will be remembered next year as they seek re-election and are forced to explain why they committed this disgrace and turned their backs on us.
Ben Monterroso is the executive director of Mi Familia Vota, a national organization working to build political power within Latino and immigrant communities through increased civic participation.