Money spent on lobbying is hitting record numbers in the nation's capital. The wealthiest counties in America surround the District of Columbia. New buildings are going up at a breakneck pace. Tax breaks and loopholes give special treatment to the cronies of government largesse. In other words, business is booming in Washington, D.C., and that's bad news for the American people.
Outside Washington, people are working harder than ever only to see themselves fall further behind. It seems as though the "haves" have more and the "have nots" have less, with stagnant wages and increasing costs, while an unfair tax system penalizes honest work. It's time for this to end. It's time to put an end to a jilted system that benefits those with enough money to find a way around it and to level the playing field. I am supporting efforts to bring real relief to the American working family by rewriting our antiquated tax code into one that grows the economy for everyone.
The last time Congress rewrote our tax code was 31 years ago. I had just turned 12 years old and returned from sixth-grade camp at Camp Cheley. "Top Gun" was everyone's new favorite movie, and the Atari 7800 was what we all wanted for Christmas. It was 1986. That's the last time Congress passed major tax reform. In today's era of Wi-Fi, self-driving cars, and smartphones, we have a tax system designed for the world of the Atari 7800. But you can bet the people who benefit from this rigged system will fight tooth and nail to continue enriching themselves at the expense of everyone else. We can't let the Washington special interests win this fight. And there is a simple way to make sure the good guys win.
Here's how we make our tax code work and make government work for the people instead of the other way around. Let's start by simplifying the tax code. Americans spend 6 billion hours a year complying with our complex, Atari-era tax code. This costs America's economy $263 billion each year - that's more than the entire GDP of New Zealand. A simple tax code that Americans understand will level the playing field for all and free up time to be make businesses more productive or allow workers to spend more time with friends and family.
Then let's lower the overall tax bill by remaining focused on maximizing relief for our hardworking families. Simplification means consolidating tax brackets while tax relief means we lower tax rates on individuals and increase the standard deduction that most people take. We can jump-start the economy through tax relief for America's working families, allowing them to keep more of their hard-earned dollars to spend the way they want, not the way Washington dictates.
While providing relief to working families, we can break Wall Street's grip on Washington and start doing something that benefits Main Street. Even President Barack Obama said we should lower taxes on businesses in this country, saying in his 2011 State of the Union Address, "For example, over the years, a parade of lobbyists has rigged the tax code to benefit particular companies and industries. Those with accountants or lawyers to work the system can end up paying no taxes at all. But all the rest are hit with one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world. It makes no sense, and it has to change."
It doesn't make sense. Yet the system isn't just rigged to create a select group of winners; it actually punishes America's workers. There is no dispute that much of the burden of corporate taxes is paid by workers in the form of lower wages. Studies show that as much as 45-75 percent, or even more, of the corporate income tax is borne by depressing worker wages. As a result, reducing the corporate tax rate to 20 percent would mean an additional $4,000 in the pockets of the average American household.
In addition to lowering the corporate rate, let's also lower taxes on Colorado's small and family-owned businesses. This will allow these Main Street job creators to reinvest their profits and grow their companies. It will provide small businesses the capital to hire more workers, increase wages, and expand their operations. All of this translates into real money at a time when nearly 2 percent of Americans don't even have access to $100 should an emergency arise.
We live in an amazing country, but it's a country that is falling behind. We can do better. This common-sense plan will help revive our economy, provide tax relief to hardworking families and help people across Colorado and our country. It will level the playing field and send a strong message to the world - America is back.