US Senator John Thune’s Weekly Column: My Principles for Pro-Growth Tax Reform

My Principles for Pro-Growth Tax Reform
By Sen. John Thune

My biggest priority for the remainder of the year will be sending the president a comprehensive, pro-growth tax reform package that helps middle-class South Dakotans who are struggling to make ends meet. According to a recent study, 50 percent of American voters consider themselves to be living paycheck to paycheck, and about one-third of them say they’re just $400 away from a financial crisis. To put it into perspective, it means these folks are one broken refrigerator or unexpected car repair away from a financial emergency. While it might seem small, $400 can go a long way for families in South Dakota.

Living in a constant state of financial fear and uncertainty, like so many cash-strapped families do these days, isn’t how most people purposefully choose to live. The status quo simply isn’t working for many of them, and it’s putting the American Dream further out of reach. Many of these folks are fighting hard to get a leg up, but they feel burdened by a system and an economy that for years has kept wages down and opportunities few and far between. It doesn’t have to be this way, though, which is why I believe Congress has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to help strengthen our economy by reforming our outdated tax code.

I have a set of five key principles that I believe must govern how any meaningful tax reform bill is drafted and passed. The first is a no-brainer. Any bill we pass has to result in increased wages, jobs, and economic growth for South Dakotans. It must help people increase their take-home pay and pursue opportunities that will put their family in a better position to succeed, period.

Second, and perhaps just as obvious, tax reform must provide tax relief to South Dakotans. It would be hard to find a South Dakotan who believes they aren’t paying enough in taxes, and Washington already takes too much of what they earn. Congress needs to learn how to spend money more efficiently and let folks keep more of their hard-earned paycheck.

Third and fourth, we have to create a system that encourages well-paying American jobs to stay in this country, and it has to increase America’s competitiveness in the global economy. A noncompetitive tax code not only discourages foreign companies from doing business in the United States, but it also can encourage some American businesses to move to a country with a more competitive system. We’ve got to correct this, and it’s certainly within reach.

Fifth and finally, tax reform must simplify the tax code, which is far too large and complex. Whether you’re an individual or a small business owner, everyone can benefit from a simplified system that lowers rates and doesn’t stand in the way of a South Dakotan’s ability to succeed.

Guided by these five basic, common-sense principles, which I’m hopeful will enjoy bipartisan support, I will work with my colleagues in Congress to deliver on our promise of creating a system that boosts wages, jobs, and economic growth. It would put middle-class families back in the driver’s seat of the American economy. They’ve waited long enough.


8 Replies to “US Senator John Thune’s Weekly Column: My Principles for Pro-Growth Tax Reform”

  1. Emoluments Clause


    The problem with your thesis is that you assume that bringing jobs to America or stimulating domestic economic activity will somehow itself raise wages.

    However, Federal Reserve banker, Neel Kashkari, in a recent speech to the Sioux Falls Downtown Rotary Club more or less scolded local business people for not raising wages with or without a tax cut. He suggested that if they would just raise wages, that workers would show up and for the most part any worker shortages would be resolved. It is this inherent attitude by the business community to pay low wages that is the problem. It is not that businesses pay too many taxes, rather they pay their workers too little. We have a greed problem and not a tax problem when it comes to corporate America. It is time that politicians like you demanded a corporate ethic the way businesses expect a work ethic from their employees.

    Your tax plan is merely a gift to the rich with nothing but “trickle-down” hopes for the collapsing American middle-class. Just how much longer are politicians like you going to continue to kick the dead horse, which is better known as “supply-side economics,” or what Bush41 once called “Voodoo Economics,” I must ask?

    Any benefit the middle class would receive from your tax plan would merely be negated by greater federal deficits, which would put greater pressure upon interest rates, which directly affect the middle class and thus would place in peril many federal programs which the middle class depend upon to maintain their middle class status… Not to mention that a tax cut on a meager wage still makes for a meager wage, especially given Kashhari’s recent comments and acknowledgements in Sioux Falls….

  2. KM

    Guess who… I actually thought I was going to learn something from your comment, nope I have to help you out yet again.

    “if they would just raise wages, that workers would show up..” problem solved, right? Wrong. They may show up, but aren’t going to be hired.

    UW did a study on Seattle’s minimum wage hike and low-and-behold, it actually hurts low wage workers. The study shows that there is a 9% reduction in hours worked which is a loss of $125 a month. If a business increases the wage, they will have to increase prices and find a way to reduce the number of workers; one option, self-service.

    There are numerous articles, videos and studies proving raising wages hurts everyone. Do some research. I would suggest starting with the study I cited above and then maybe the study of Maryland’s Montgomery County minimum wage increase.

    Why do you demand all wealthy people are evil and greedy? Oh, I know…how many homes is it that Bernie owns? 3 or 4 now? Did the Clintons get that $$ raised to Hati yet?

    1. Emoluments Clause

      So in other words, raising wages, which the Senator also advocates, is a bad idea, huh?

      Oh, and here is my response to your last comments on the other blog piece about taxing smokes, which Pat wouldn’t publish:

      Your comment is awaiting moderation.

      Neither do I, in fact, I have never even had the opportunity to “not inhale,” how about you?

      Speaking of Bernie, how about the guy who had never run for office before and then wins the Republican nomination, who then cuts a deal with the Dems on the debt ceiling to Congressional Republicans dismay?

      Oh, are you saying I am not a Christain because I am pro-choice, too. I don’t think so sister. I am as opposed to abortion as you, but its a moral issue and not a political issue. That is why the great conservative Barry Goldwater was pro-choice, because he understood the libertarian argument at hand…

      But since you have decided to qualify people’s Christianity, does causing a war based on a lie make you a non Christian too?

      You are probably right that Debbies’s IT messed up, but a lot of Democrats like Debbie messed up by supporting Hillary from day one. I have never been a big Hillary fan, but I would definitely take her over “The Donald” right now…

      And as far as Antifa, well, at least my party debates the level of support for an anti-facist group, while your Party is strangely apologetic towards fascism…..(????)

      Do you really believe that on a regular basis that the NYT, HuPo, and CNN intentionally create “fake news?” If that is the case, then there is no hurricane in Florida right now….

      As far as being a Republican that “burns within you,” you are kind of right. In many ways I am a conservative Republican, except that my Christian values force me to vote for Democrats because I want everyone to have health care, control of their own bodies, no unnecessary wars (are any wars necessary?), and at least a living wage for all….. (WWJD?)

      Oh, I almost forgot. Who is Will Rogers? Well, he is a satirist from the 1930s, which is before both of our times, I realize. But like Lincoln, sometimes people choose to heed the personalities of the past and what wisdom that they had to offer in their time which is still useful today, so as to not make the same mistakes once again, but if you are going to call a news agency, which is currently reporting an actual hurricane, “fake news,” then you probably are not interested in learning from the past as well…. Let me guess, it’s “fake history,” right?

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      1. KM

        Dang! Did I upset you? Your comment is scattered and difficult to follow.

        Increasing wages isn’t a bad thing when employees earn it, it’s called a raise. Entry level jobs have many purposes. They teach personal responsibility and how to work well with others; they are important for our youth. One cannot expect McD’s to offer a living wage to buy a home, a car, a child’s college tuition. That is ignorant.

        Republicans want health care, lower taxes, and a living wage for all too. We just want Americans to do it for themselves. The govt doesn’t need to dictate for us, I already have a mom and dad. When people struggle, the govt should step in for a hand-up, not a hand-out. I also think the mentally ill should be cared for by our govt.

        Never did I say you were not a Christian. Fun how you decide what I think by assumptions you make. The left is notorious for changing the narrative to fit their agenda, so I guess it’s expected. PP sees $$ in abortions, they need their industry to be political. How much do they shovel in to campaigns and getting laws passed? Abortion takes an innocent human life by ripping it from it’s mother’s womb, you don’t have to believe in God to know that or vote for someone against that.

        It’s becoming more and more difficult to learn from the past when the left wants to destroy it. What I find fascinating about our history is KKK members were Democrats and Republicans wanted to abolish slavery. People (unborn people too) aren’t property and Dems from the past and today want to keep people on the plantation: Medicaid, higher taxes, education, health care, etc.

        It’d be great if you showed more of the Conservative Rep in you and bring logical solutions to the table.

      2. Anonymous

        EC, if you are thinking that Jesus would be pro-choice you need to do a little more reading in the Bible. Being pro-choice because it is the law of the land is a cop-out.

        Also, if you don’t believe that “news” outlets like CNN, HuffPo, and the Washington Post don’t skew headlines to feed misinformation to the besotted leftwing masses then you are not paying too much attention. If you read headlines from these anti-Trump, anti-God, anti-morality soldiers of the left and don’t delve into the body of the story, anyone can see they are on a mission not to provide news but to push government control.

  3. Troy Jones


    You mean the guy who said the most significant innovation for job, wage and economic growth in the last 10 years wasn’t Facebook or Twitter but fracking? You mean the guy who criticized Minneapolis City Commission for raising the minimum wage to $15 as a detriment for reducing their unemployment and advocated a strong economy as the best way to raise wages. You mean the guy who criticized Obamacare as adding costs to employment which is decreasing employment and wage growth?

    His “scold” was stated in the form of a question. Then, in addition to what was discussed in the meeting after his “scolding”, it is my understanding this was discussed afterward and he agreed infrastructure bottlenecks like affordable housing can overpower any quick easy fix like wage increases (which also was touched in his public words led to him criticize the homebuilding regulations which drive up cost of building houses which affect laborers the most?).

    Finally, Kashkiri said the biggest need for the nation long-term is economic growth to pay for our current entitlement commitments. Assuming you don’t want entitlements to be SIGNIFICANTLY cut, what is your plan for economic growth if this one is not good?

  4. David Barranco

    Senator Thune is 100% correct when he states:

    “Tax reform must simplify the code, which is far too large and complex. An individual or a small business owner… can benefit from a simplified system.”

    Who benefits from the current, massive, opaque code? D.C. lobbyists and wealthy tax lawyers.

    Unnecessary-complex IRS rules harm 95% of hardworking Americans, weakening our national economy.

    I believe it was H.D. Thoreau who said, “Simplify, Simplify, Simplify!”


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