Sen. Susan Collins’ vote was critical to the passage of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which has put our economy on track to run trillion-dollar deficits beginning next year and for years to come, The New York Times reported Aug. 21, citing the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. This should finally extinguish the idea that Collins is a moderate.

Collins argued that the economic growth from the tax cuts would offset a budget gap and “actually lower the debt,” the Bangor Daily News reported Aug. 21.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act bestowed billions of dollars in tax cuts, most going to corporations and the wealthy, with the promise that the cuts would pay for themselves by stimulating growth in the economy.

The growth spurt was short lived, with most corporations using their windfall to buy back their own stock, artificially raising their stock prices, the Times reported last Dec. 27. The level of capital investments that would actually grow the economy was anemic. Some companies expanded hiring, according to the Times, while others laid off workers, citing automation, outsourcing and restructuring in explaining those layoffs.

Why does any of this matter? With deficits running in the trillions of dollars, historically low interest rates and a president cajoling the Federal Reserve chairman to lower them further, there will be no tools to use when the economy slips into recession, something that seems inevitable given the typical cycles of the economy.

The interest we must pay on this historic level of debt crowds out expenditures on many of our critical needs, from infrastructure to education, housing, health care, employee retraining, etc.

Sen. Collins helped to create the reality we now face and that we’re likely to be passing on to our children and grandchildren.

Pleasing her party took precedence over acting prudently and with an eye on the long-term fiscal interests of the country.

Mary Ann Larson


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