Tax reform is done — now, take on the wild spending

Tax reform is done — now, take on the wild spending
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Is the Republican Party the party of ObamaCare repeal failure or of a tax reform victory? The test will be in whether it dramatically lowers spending.

After a year of missteps and misfires, the House and Senate passed the final version of tax reform last week and sent it to President TrumpDonald John Trump Trump responds to calls to tear down monuments with creation of 'National Garden' of statues Trump: Children are taught in school to 'hate their own country' Trump accuses those tearing down statues of wanting to 'overthrow the American Revolution' MORE's desk. It is the first substantive change to federal tax law since 1986. And it did repeal ObamaCare's individual mandate, a small but significant part of the coercive big-government law.

There’s no denying this is a huge step in the right direction — for both the party and the country. The current, overly complex tax code has done a great deal of damage to our economy — forcing Americans to waste billions of dollars and hours on compliance and pushing companies overseas. This new simpler, flatter, fairer easy-to-follow tax code will spur economic growth. It will leave more money in the private sector — more money for providing for our families and for investing in new ventures that will result in new jobs.

You have already seen large companies announce bonuses for lower-level employees because of the tax bill's passage. Personal savings or the ability to borrow others’ savings is vital for almost every business’ growth, whether small, medium, or large.

Yet tax reform is only one step needed to put America back on solid financial footing. We had the unfortunate milestone this year of hitting the debt ceiling and passing the $20 trillion mark in federal debt. The national debt per capita is well over $60,000, far above Americans’ median income.

We desperately need a change of course on the spending side. We cannot continue borrowing and spending money that isn’t truly ours. Even if revenue fluctuates, we must drive spending down. Every area of the budget can take a cut. Our long-term financial condition is bleak if we cannot bring ourselves to make spending cuts.

The good news is that the Republicans are in power, which means we have leaders in the majority who at least say they favor lower spending and economic growth in the House, the Senate, and the White House. But the question remains as to whether they will build on the momentum from tax reform and abide by the party platform and promises made on campaign trails for years, or whether they will drop the ball once again, as they did on the full repeal of ObamaCare. The fact that they repealed the individual mandate in the tax bill is a glimmer of hope that they'll follow through with meaningful repeal to lower insurance premiums and increase quality of the plans on the free market.

But nothing is harder in Washington than cutting spending, which is the reason we find ourselves in debt up to our collective eyeballs. In fact, in past months during the debate of the tax bill, even Republicans who supported cutting taxes wanted to include a tax increase trigger in the bill. Their solution for the possibility that tax revenues would not meet projections was to raise taxes again to fund reckless spending — not to reduce spending of our sprawling, overreaching federal programs. Thankfully, it was not adopted.

Continuing down the path of overspending is unsustainable. Congress should cut spending strategically in every category. Our $20 trillion debt is the greatest of any country on the globe. It would cost every American family well over $150,000 to pay it back. It’s not a revenue problem that’s choking our country; American ingenuity and dynamism are being beaten into the ground by burdensome taxes.

The answer to our nation’s problems is not to continue throwing money at them. It is to reign in our spending so that Americans will be freed up to exercise the creativity and ingenuity to solve those problems, rather than having out-of-touch bureaucrats and political elites solve them for us. Our future depends on our ability to thoughtfully but thoroughly drive down our federal debt and make our economy strong and sustainable enough to support American entrepreneurs and families well into the 21st century.

Was the tax bill passing an anomaly from their track record of failing to deliver on what they promised, or is it a new trajectory of positive solutions to the deadly disease of liberalism we’ve come to know all too well?

Adam Brandon is president of FreedomWorks, a grassroots service center dedicated to helping activists fight for lower taxes, less government, and more freedom.