How does Trump’s tax plan line up with Catholic social teaching?

by Kevin Clarke 

Criticism has trailed the recent White House proposal for cuts in corporate and personal income tax rates, but few have been as direct as Jesuit Father Fred Kammer’s assessment. “The whole thing is basically—what can I call it?—a scam to pay back wealthy donors with more tax breaks,” he says. The plan has been promoted by the White House as a reform meant to simplify the tax code and lower the burden on working and middle-class taxpayers.

Father Kammer is convinced the measures proposed by the president will not achieve the advertised outcome. Analysts at the Tax Policy Center, a joint project of the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute, agree, refusing even to refer to the Trump plan as a tax reform, but just a new round of tax breaks.

Referring to the center’s analysis, Father Kammer points out that the lion’s share of the tax relief offered by the plan will be consumed by the nation’s top 1 percent—the same folks who have already enjoyed previous and substantial rounds of tax reductions under the Reagan and Bush administrations. Those cuts had been similarly promoted as tax “reforms” aimed at the middle class.