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Letter: Tax-cut bill increases deficit

In December 2017, the Republican majority rushed tax-cut legislation through Congress before the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis of the 505-page bill could be properly scrutinized.

In April 2018, the CBO stated the immense tax cuts signed into law, which Republicans said would pay for themselves, will balloon the deficit for years to come.

In September 2018, reports confirmed the tax cuts are fueling a huge increase in the deficit; that money corporations saved from tax cuts went to companies' bottom lines and stock buybacks, not to raise workers' pay or make productive investments; that CEO compensation increased 17.6 percent in 2017; that most households won't receive a meaningful increase in after-tax income from the cuts; and that since cuts were skewed to the rich, it's unlikely they will spur a broad-based economic stimulus.

In November 2018, the CBO projected the tax-cut bill will add $1.9 trillion to deficits through 2028.

Republicans tout as a major accomplishment the improvement of national security by way of increased military funding in a March 2018 spending bill.

In November 2018, it was reported that the Department of Defense failed an audit conducted by 1,200 independent auditors. The auditors couldn't complete the job because the DOD's financial records were so riddled with bookkeeping deficiencies, irregularities and errors that a reliable audit was impossible.

In 1990, Congress enacted the Chief Financial Officers Act, which required all federal government departments and agencies to develop auditable accounting systems and submit to annual audits. Since then, every department and agency has complied except the Pentagon.

Research by Michigan State University professor Mark Skidmore, an economics professor specializing in government finance, of DOD financial statements for years 1998-15 reveals that DOD financial records are filled with phony numbers and multiple shifting of funds totaling an astonishing $21 trillion in "transactions."

The DOD's slippery accounting methods and the suspicious disappearance of supporting documentation make the transactions impossible to trace or explain.

Congress relies on DOD financial statements to decide how much money to give the Pentagon each fiscal cycle: $686 billion for 2017; $692 billion for 2018; and $716 billion for 2019.

The DOD receives 54 cents of every dollar in federal appropriations, and no one knows for sure whether that money is being spent legitimately by the Pentagon. The Government Accountability Office, Congress's watchdog, lists the Pentagon at high risk for significant fraud, waste and abuse.

U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy supported the tax-cut and spending bills. Contact Rep. Duffy (toll-free 855-585-4251 or https://duffy.house.gov/contact) to let him know that the benefits of the tax-cut bill haven't trickled down to you yet; that it hasn't paid for itself; and that further increasing the deficit to benefit the rich while exacerbating economic inequality was a bad idea.

Let him know that handing over ever-increasing amounts of money to the Pentagon without requiring substantiation of how the funds are spent is cheating taxpayers of resources that could be better invested in infrastructure, education and health care.

Jeanne Larson

Phillips, Wis.

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