By Sen. Rand Paul

One of the fundamental problems in Washington is the attitude that the money that people make belongs to the government. That’s why you hear arguments about how much a tax cut “costs,” or big government advocates disingenuously and breathlessly complaining about the people who pay taxes getting a tax cut.

I believe it is the other way around. Our default position should be that the money you earn belongs to you, and government has to justify why it should take it from you.

Currently, there are at least 97 different federal taxes. The tax code that instructs people how they must hand over their hard-earned money to government spans some 74,000-plus pages.

This is absurd, and so is the fact that government will collect over $3 trillion from taxpayers next year but still is not satisfied.

One of the main differences between Republicans and Democrats is that Republicans, in general, favor less government and more tax cuts. That’s why I’m pleased to see us moving forward on a plan for tax cuts, and why I hope to vote to pass such a cut in the coming weeks.

I spoke out all year against the GOP leaders’ initial plan to make their tax reform “revenue neutral” — meaning not really a cut. I’m pleased to see my point of view has prevailed, and the current tax plan calls for a $1.5 trillion cut over the next ten years. I would have liked to see more — in fact, I offered an amendment to move it up to $2.5 trillion — but I’ve stated many times that as long as it is a real cut, I’ll vote for it, even if it isn’t as large as I would prefer.

I’m also pleased to note that, in part by my urging, the Senate tax-plan writers have included repeal of the ObamaCare individual mandate in the tax plan. The mandate is clearly a tax, a fact that was established by the Supreme Court when it upheld ObamaCare. So including it in the tax bill only makes sense. In addition, with CBO scoring it as a $350 billion savings, repealing the mandate helped pave the way for increased middle-class tax cuts, like an expanded child tax credit.

I was pleased to work directly with President Trump to push this important change that lets us keep multiple promises in one bill — cut taxes and repeal the ObamaCare mandate we’ve been fighting against for years.

This bill is not perfect. I would prefer a larger cut. I would prefer that the Senate bill match the House bill and keep some form of state and local deductions so that no one gets caught in the trap of losing too many deductions at once and failing to benefit from the tax cuts. Lastly, I’d like to see more permanence on the individual side.

Some of that is still achievable. Some of it is due to the peculiarities of the budget and Senate rules and will have to wait for another day.

The good news is — we can do this every year. Want a bigger tax cut? Urge your legislators to do one every single year. I’ll sponsor it. Want them to be permanent? Well, one good start is to keep extending them, every single year.

This tax bill is a true test for my colleagues. I’m not getting everything I want — far from it. But I’ve been immersed in this process. I’ve fought for and received major changes for the better — and I plan to vote for this bill as it stands right now.

I urge my colleagues to do the same. I urge you, their constituents, to make sure they hear from you.

The next few weeks in Washington will be important. Will we keep our word and cut taxes? Will we do what we campaigned on and repeal the ObamaCare mandate? I will fight for both, and I look forward to ending the year keeping these important promises to the American people.

Republican Rand Paul represents Kentucky in the United States Senate.   back...
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