Tax Cuts, Jobs Act Won’t Jive With County Farmers

To The Reader’s Forum:

I thought the Republican Tax Cut and Jobs Act was supposed to help small farmers.

A new analysis by two economists at the Department of Agriculture suggests that the 2017 TCJA could actually lower farm output in the coming years, that most of the tax cuts will go to the very large and wealthy farmers (where have we heard that before?), and that the lowest-earning farm households, like many of those in Chautauqua County and the Southern Tier, will actually see a tax increase.

A model of the law’s effects on farm households by Siraj G. Bawa and James M. Williamson, of the Agriculture Department’s Economic Research Service, projects that 70 to 80 percent of the law’s benefits will flow to the top 1 percent of farm households by income.

According to the analysis, the TCAJ actually shrinks tax refunds for the lowest-earning 20 percent of farm households. The reason stems from a combination of changes in the bill, including its elimination of a tax break for domestic production. “The lowest quintile is actually getting a tax raise under this,” one of the authors has said.

This doesn’t square with the fluff Trump and his toady, Tom Reed, have been spreading and it doesn’t look like good news for Chautauqua’s small farmers.

“In every decision we make, we are honoring America’s proud farming legacy,” Trump said during his speech to the Farm Bureau. Most of what Trump and the republicans promise reminds me of a Tostitos commercial of a few years ago where Chris Elliott, getting an IRS audit, shares a bag of chips with the IRS agent who declares, “I smell a refund!” When Chris asks, “Really?” the agent replies, “No, not really.”

You can find the paper presented at the American Econonic Association in December at: https://www.aeaweb.org/conference /2018/preliminary/paper/dsTeGsde.

Tom Meara

Jamestown

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