It's Time Republicans Tried Helping Average Americans. That Starts With Taxing People Like Me | Opinion

Our country is facing one of the largest wealth disparities since the Great Depression struck in 1929. This simple fact should give us pause.

Today, it's getting harder and harder for Americans to simply make an adequate wage, even with two incomes. However, rather than working on policies and legislation that will address this crisis, our elected leaders are fighting for those who benefit from the current system.

Just this week, Senator Ted Cruz and a group of fellow Republicans in the Senate sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin demanding that he index capital gains to inflation, which would reduce taxes paid on investments. Unsurprisingly, 86 percent of the tax benefit from such a move would go to the top 1 percent of income earners in the United States.

The economy is working well—but for people like me, who have millions to spare. My net worth has quadrupled since the beginning of the economic recovery in 2009. But for most the rest of the country, things aren't looking so great. When workers are financially overburdened by rising rents, stagnant wages and increases in the cost of living, they can't participate in the consumer market that drives our economy forward.

As the new chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Chuck Grassley now holds the power to set the nation's taxation agenda. But as one of the most enthusiastic supporters of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, he's already shown he would rather continue rigging the nation's tax code in favor of millionaires like me than close the growing divide between rich and poor. After all, he and other Republican representatives voted to slash corporate tax rates nearly in half, create a new deduction for "small businesses" that is perfectly designed to be abused by the wealthy, and cut the marginal rate for those of us in the top 1 percent of income earners.

Grassley and his colleagues want Americans to think that giving wealthy business owners like myself a big chunk of cash will somehow improve the economy. The truth is: It hasn't, and it won't.

When rich people get an extra pot of cash, we don't spend it like working families do. We simply pass it over to our wealth management people to stash in places most working people don't even know exist, let alone have access to.

Grassley, McConnell, Pence
Vice President Mike Pence, Senator Chuck Grassley and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell arrive ahead of the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives at the U.S. Capitol Building on February 5 in Washington, D.C. Zach Gibson/Getty

That was the plan all along, truth be told. Grassley and his friends have used their power quite successfully to reconstruct the tax code for the benefit of themselves and their donors. It isn't a mere coincidence that the vast majority of the savings vehicles available in today's arcane tax code are used only by the people at the top—the code was custom-made for us.

This is immoral and unsustainable. Money sitting in foreign tax havens won't help the economy grow. Putting it into the hands of American workers will.

If anything, rich people should be paying more in taxes to support the programs that make this country great. After all, we can afford it.

Stephen Prince founded Card Marketing Services in 1993 and is vice-chair of the Patriotic Millionaires.

It's Time Republicans Tried Helping Average Americans. That Starts With Taxing People Like Me | Opinion | Opinion