The deficit squawks who attend each year seek to reverse the progress we’ve made investing in workers, families, and the economy in order to invest in the wealthiest Americans and large corporations.
After narrowly avoiding a shutdown for the second time in less than two months, lawmakers have gone home to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday without making sustained investments in the critical programs that empower millions of American families and enable our economy to thrive.
Programs that provide nutritional assistance to women and children or offer housing assistance will face multiple funding cliffs early in the new year because extremists in Congress are only interested in advancing the economic interests of the very rich—and partying with them.
Just hours after avoiding a shutdown, tax policy wonks, lawmakers, and staff, polished their shoes, pressed their tuxedos, and attended “Tax Prom,” an annual fundraiser to support the anti-tax Tax Foundation. The organization is a classic D.C. deficit squawk: it flies its Wall Street coop when big corporations want tax cuts, and screeches when it's time to invest in the rest of us.
Deficit squawks are loudly—and predictably—trying their best to turn back this economic progress by proposing significant cuts to the social programs that help power our economy and constantly bringing the government to the brink of shutdown.
For instance, the organization advocated for Presidents George W. Bush's and Donald Trump's tax cut packages, both of which were disproportionately skewed toward the very rich and large corporations, but lowered overall revenue to just 16.5% of GDP in fiscal year 2023 and caused the national deficit to grow.
On May 17 of this year, Scott Hodge, the organization’s President Emeritus, seized on the growing debt to warn the Senate Budget Committee that "the only sustainable solution to stabilize the debt” isn’t increasing revenue or ensuring the wealthiest among us pay their fair share in taxes – it’s “controlling spending." In other words: cut Medicare, Social Security, and other critical programs working Americans rely on.
Sounds familiar, right?
And while it’s no surprise to see conservative economic luminaries and corporate sponsors from big oil, pharma, and the tax prep industry attending and funding the annual celebration, the Foundation’s ability to attract support from more progressive voices is more alarming.
In past years, the Foundation has honored Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden, former Senator Max Baucus, and Rep. Richard Neal. In 2023, it bestowed its distinguished service award on Sen. Maggie Hassan – the first time the Foundation celebrated an elected Democrat for “their efforts to advance sound tax policy” since 2016.
That may not be coincidental, since deficit squawks are building momentum for a new round of policies that benefit the ultrarich.
It comes at a time when our economy, powered by the administration’s hard-fought public investments, continues its record-breaking recovery. Real economic growth was at 4.9 percent last quarter, unemployment is below 4 percent for the 20th straight month, and workers are banding together and demanding more, leading to strong wage growth and a wave of union organizing.
Deficit squawks, meanwhile, are loudly—and predictably—trying their best to turn back this economic progress by proposing significant cuts to the social programs that help power our economy and constantly bringing the government to the brink of shutdown. They’re also ringing the alarm about the nation's growing level of debt and calling for a bipartisan fiscal commission to address the so-called crisis.
Deficit squawks seek to reverse the progress we’ve made investing in workers, families, and the economy in order to invest in the wealthiest Americans and large corporations. It’s clear deficit squawks are stuck in the past, advocating for economic policies that are as unpopular and out of date as pale blue ruffle suits. Elected officials committed to building a modern economy that works for all of us should leave Tax Prom in the past.