Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) was called out during a congressional hearing Wednesday for repeating discredited claims that the Republican tax cut reform bill is a scam.
“The tax scam contains massive giveaways to the nation’s largest banks,” said Waters, the House Financial Services Committee’s ranking Democrat, in her opening statement for the hearing. “Banks are already posting record profits, but that isn’t enough for my colleagues on the other side of the aisle.
“No, instead they pushed through this legislation that is lining the pockets of megabanks with even more money. The tax scam also includes huge benefits for hedge funds and other Wall Street firms with a 20 percent reduction for pass-through businesses.”
Waters’ claim was not new. When President Donald Trump signed the measure into law December 22, lowering tax rates and simplifying the code, Republicans argued the bill would boost economic growth, while Democrats branded it a giveaway for the wealthy. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has repeatedly dismissed the reduced levies on middle-income taxpayers as mere “crumbs.”
But committee Chairman Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) wasn’t about to let the scam claim by Waters (pictured above center) and other Democrats go unchallenged. He called the hearing to assess how the tax cuts have affected the economy six months after their enactment.
After Waters’ comments, Hensarling (pictured above right) asked witness Lori Miles-Olund, president of the Portland, Oregon-based Miles Fiberglass & Composites Inc., whether she thought aspects of the law were a scam:
“Ms. Miles-Olund, would you characterize a $500 or a $1,000 bonus as a scam?” Hensarling said. “Would you characterize a 233 percent 401(k) increase in contributions, would you characterize that as a scam … Would you consider a $4 increase in hourly wages, would you characterize that as a scam?”
Miles-Olund, who was also representing the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), answered “no” to each question, adding that the extra revenue is helping her and other employers reinvest back into their businesses and employees.
Joining Miles-Olund in testifying, AFL-CIO special counsel Damon Silvers — who opposed the Trump tax cut reform when it was first proposed — pushed back Wednesday on classifying every provision of the tax cut reform as a scam.
“I have been careful in my testimony not to characterize the law as a whole as a scam,” Silvers said. “But I believe this provision is a scam.” He was referring to the portion of the reform that permits firms to relocate overseas.
Tax law critics have argued that it encourages large multinational corporations to move operations abroad. This was was done by excluding the “one-time revenue from a transition tax on accumulated earnings,” explained the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. Democrats have proposed legislation to fix it.
Even so, Waters continued to call the law a scam throughout the hearing.