We are writing to you on behalf of Tax March, a national movement powered by working Americans fighting for a fair tax code, not one that continues to favor the wealthy and privileged at the expense of everyone else.
This week, Tax March is launching a television ad calling on you, the CNN debate moderators, to foster a real and lively debate on the candidates’ respective plans to create a more equitable tax code for all Americans. The nation is engaged in a debate over why and how to tax the wealthiest among us to pay for investments in our economy. It is imperative that you create the space for the candidates to speak on this issue and explain their respective tax plans to the American public.
While economic indicators imply that our economy is headed in the right direction, ordinary people know that it’s not working for them. Despite a low unemployment rate, American workers continue to experience low wages and job insecurity in the face of rising costs of living and critical items like prescription drugs. And given how the 2017 Trump tax has further increased inequality in our country, one thing remains very clear to most Americans: the 1 percent are not paying their fair share as everyday workers continue to struggle to make ends meet.
This past summer, Tax March embarked on a national ‘Tax the Rich’ bus tour where lawmakers, activists, local organizations and ordinary citizens came together to speak on the disastrous effects of the Trump tax plan. We heard from diabetics who could no longer afford their insulin, teachers who felt the squeeze of every penny leaving their pockets, and retail workers who saw no increase in their wages despite their employers taking home trillions of dollars in tax cuts.
These are the people who deserve to hear an honest and open debate on taxes.
And this is why we can no longer afford to have candidates navigate questions in which proposals like Medicare-for-All are colored as being a possible tax increase on the middle class, when the current administration has already given the middle class a tax hike.
Therefore, we propose that instead of falling back on conservative talking points that falsely assert that all taxes anywhere are a drag on the economy, you, the moderators, should consider focusing your questions on the following topics.
- The impact the 2017 Trump tax has had on the country;
- Why American workers have yet to experience wage increases from the Trump tax as was promised to them;
- The importance of raising taxes on the rich; and
- Who is at the center of the economic story these candidates are telling.
Plain and simple, the tax code is a way for us to illustrate our shared values, but right now those values represent the rich and big corporations rather than our society as a whole. If we unrig our tax system, we can invest in the programs that help entire communities, such as public education, infrastructure, health care and clean energy. And we can ensure more hard working people have a true shot at the American dream. Unrigging our tax code isn’t just good policy, it’s a moral good.
Additionally, we think it is crucial for the voices of everyday American workers to be highlighted in this conversation. With a majority of likely 2020 voters supporting a tax on the wealthiest Americans, it is essential for the public to hear the candidates’ proposals to do just that. Below, please find the names and bios of four local Ohioans who are readily available to discuss the current harsh realities they’re facing as a result of our fundamentally rigged tax system:
- Alyssa Brookbank — a concerned teacher from Youngstown, OH who witnessed firsthand how the shuttering of a GM plant in Lordstown impacted her students and their families.
- Larry Gerke — a small business owner living in Cincinnati, who is concerned with how fellow Ohioans are struggling to make ends meet.
- Matt McGuire — a chef living in Cincinnati who, like many Americans, once had high hopes for the possibilities of the Trump tax, but now finds himself in a different tax bracket and worse off because of it.
- Sherilyn Baker — a longtime employee of GM, born and raised in Oakwood, Ohio. Sherilyn currently stands on the picket line at the GM factory in Youngstown, to fight for her community and workers’ rights.
We ask that you recognize the importance of this issue, the popularity of this movement and the realities of the American people and foster a real debate on taxes the public can understand and learn from.