Democrat — MO 2nd District

The Economy, Jobs, and Tax Reform


  • Trickle-down economics doesn’t work. Real economic relief for the middle class must include DIRECT tax-cuts for working-class Americans.
  • Congress is currently only beholden to business interests that can afford big campaign contributions and armies of lobbyists. We need to reform the process in order to level the legislative playing field. When we do that, Congress will be forced to listen to the concerns of America’s shrinking middle-class.
  • Congress needs a new perspective when it comes to tax reform. Income from labor is currently taxed at a higher rate than income from capital gains. That’s absurd and an insult to Americans that work for a living.
  • The globalized economy and automation have devastated manufacturing communities in America. We need a heightened commitment to help displaced workers and the communities that support them.

The tax reform bill recently passed by Congress is a disaster for working Americans. Its passage was predicated on the dream that cutting taxes for corporations and billionaires will spark the economy to such means that prosperity will “trickle down” to the middle class.

Trickle-down economics simply doesn’t work.

If it did, we would already have a burgeoning economy. Stock market profits have fueled corporate America for years now and the middle class has continued to shrink! Unemployment is low only because of the growth of low-paying jobs. Congress should have learned from the failed Kansas experiment. Unfortunately, it did not.

Thanks to this obsession with this “trickle-down” economics fantasy, the gulf between the “haves” and the “have nots” is widening. This recently passed tax-reform scam will only add rocket-fuel to this widening divide.

Congress is often called the “people’s branch.” Its approach to economics just proves that the “people” that it serves is just a tiny sliver of the population; it’s the tiny few that can shower Congress with campaign funding through battalions of lobbyists. When you follow the money it becomes easier to understand their priorities and their subsequent actions.

We need new ideas about the economy in Congress and that cannot happen without new members. Without reforming the process, Congress will just continue to serve the economic benefit of Wall Street at the expense of Main Street.

We need bold new economic policies. As your representative, this is where I’d start:

  • Castrate Business Lobbyists. As I’ve emphasized everywhere in my campaign (here!, here!, and here!), we need to get big-money out of the game. It perverts and corrupts representation. Get big money out and legislators will need to write bills with the working class in mind – and not heed the demands of campaign donating lobbyists.
  • Taxes Part I. The middle-class needs a tax cut. This needs to be a DIRECT cut, and not something that is expected to eventually “trickle” down to the masses. If I’m involved in tax reform, you have my pledge that I’ll fight for the middle class. The collapse of the middle class is a national tragedy that we can only begin to remedy if we commit ourselves to tax relief for working Americans.
  • Taxes Part II. The federal tax on the income we earn from work is higher than the tax we pay on capital gains. That is absurd and an insult to working Americans. What message do we send when we value income from the sale of securities and stocks more than we value income from labor and sweat?  At the very least, capital gains need to be taxed at the same rate as the income from labor. Personally, I believe that capital gains tax rates should be HIGHER than tax rates on work. Whatever the case, federal tax policy clearly needs to reevaluate its priorities. As your representative, I’ll always champion the virtue of American labor.
  • Jobs. Globalization and automation have combined to transform the American labor force often to the detriment of individual workers and the communities that support them. When the Savings and Loan Industry needed to be saved in the ’80’s and ’90’s, the federal government helped. When banks, investment companies, and insurance giants failed in 2008, the federal government bailed them out. Now it’s time for America to help the displaced American worker. Congress’ commitment toward this is embarrassingly weak. We must insist that America do massively more with respect to job-training and education. If people lose their jobs because of a worldview the federal government supports, common decency demands that the federal government treat these workers as more than collateral damage. We can do this with a heightened national commitment to remedy the devastating effects of globalization and automation. American workers – and the communities that support them – deserve nothing less.
End Corruption. Demand reform.
Paid for by John Messmer for Congress.