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Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

Posted on in Domestic Public Policy · Economic Policy · Congress · American Government

This week we look at the Tax Reform and Jobs Act that recently passed Congress and was signed into law by President Trump.  Supporters claim the bill will streamline the tax process, result in tax savings for most Americans, and produce higher levels of economic growth.  Critics complain the bill has been passed with no hearings and little deliberation, will increase inequality, and put pressure on Congress to cut social welfare benefits.

Instructors, click the button below to download this week’s lecture for use in your classroom. The deck contains a writing prompt, a debate question, as well as other assessment questions.


Rarely does major legislation pass the Congress with few, if any, hearings. The Tax Reform and Jobs Act presents a challenge for our understanding of congressional process and deliberation.

This piece in Forbes encouraged lawmakers to slow down the process of enactment:

In this ABC News piece, Republican leaders defend the process they employed, noting that they have been having hearings on tax reform since they retook control of Congress in 2011.

Chris Cillizza of CNN on why Republicans may regret passing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

Chuck DeVore of Fox News on why the tax reform will lead to an economic boom:

This Wall Street Journal Editorial weighs the pros and cons of the bill:


  • Writing: Should corporate taxes be lowered? Why or why not?
  • Debate: If Congress has debated tax reform in the past, it does not need to hold many hearings on a specific bill.
  • Poll: Agree or disagree–Tax cuts for corporations and wealthy individuals generally produce significant economic gains for the poor and middle class.
  • Short Answer: Why is it important for Congress to hold hearings on major pieces of legislation?

Current events quiz:

1) The 1986 Tax Reform Act was one of __________ most important bipartisan achievements:

a.Ronald Reagan

b.Bill Clinton

c.George H.W. Bush

d.Barack Obama

2) T/F: Congress passed the 2017 Tax Reform and Jobs Act after two years of hearings and deliberation.

3) T/F: President Donald Trump did not campaign on changes to the tax code and was reluctant to have Congress pass a bill before Christmas.

4) Republicans generally believe the following:

a.Lower tax rates for individuals and corporations generates economic growth

b.Higher tax rates for wealthy individuals generates economic growth

c.Lower tax rates create unsustainable deficits

d.Higher tax rates are necessary to reduce inequality

5) T/F: Speaker Paul Ryan has been focused on tax reform for his entire congressional career

Answer Key: