(BISMARCK, ND) – Congressman Kevin Cramer participated in a Facebook Live event Tuesday night, in which he had a hard time defending the Republican tax plan that threatens to hike taxes on tens of thousands of hardworking North Dakotans and increase the national debt by $1.5 trillion, triggering severe cuts to Medicare, crop insurance, farm programs, rural infrastructure, and many other vital services for North Dakota.
Cramer struggled to tap dance around the bill’s catastrophic impact on the national debt and misled about its impacts on farmers. He even cooked up some “fake news” of his own, to boot.
Here’s what we heard – or didn’t hear – during Cramer’s Facebook Live event:
BRUSHING OFF THE NATIONAL DEBT: Despite his long record as a supposed deficit hawk who once believed government spending needed to be brought under control, Congressman Cramer was remarkably flip about glaring economic analyses demonstrating that the Republican tax plan would add more than $1 trillion to the national debt. Perhaps that’s because Cramer threw out his convictions for “political survival”?
Not that you’d hear it from him, but here’s how Cramer’s tax bill would explode the national debt:
According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the Republican tax plan would add more than $1 trillion to the national debt. Despite the GOP arguments, the Trump Administration’s Treasury Department released a report assuming economic growth more robust than many economists consider likely. Even with dynamic analysis, which attempts to account for “economic growth,” the tax bill still doesn’t pay for itself and leaves taxpayers with a one trillion dollar price tag.
TALL TALES FOR FARMERS: Instead of straight talk, Cramer has been known to parrot the typical GOP talking points, claiming that repealing the estate tax will benefit North Dakota family farmers – and Tuesday night was no exception. Cramer said many North Dakota farmers support the Republican tax plan because it would raise the threshold for the estate tax – and under the plan he voted for – eliminate the tax entirely. But in fact, the policy Cramer rubber-stamped helps out millionaires much more than your average North Dakota farmer:
Many farmers are voicing their strong concerns about this bill. Aaron Krauter, former head of the Farm Service Agency, points out that because the Republican tax plan spends over $1 trillion on tax cuts for millionaires, farm programs that are vital to North Dakota’s agricultural producers – like crop insurance and ag subsidies – will be subjected to deep sequestration cuts. He also took to task Congressman Cramer on the estate tax. The threshold is already set high enough to shield a vast majority of farmers and small businesses from the tax. That’s why, according to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), fewer than 10 North Dakota estates were required to file for the estate tax last year.
In Krauter’s own words, “Washington insiders like Ryan, McConnell and Cramer can continue trying to play farmers and ranchers for fools – but we know better and we won’t fall for it.”
“FAKE NEWS!!!” FOR MIDDLE-CLASS FAMILIES: When a constituent asked how many North Dakotans would see a tax hike under the GOP tax bill, Cramer promised that the middle-class wouldn’t see a tax hike under the GOP bill – and conveniently left out the tax increases North Dakota working families would see after ten years.
More than 90,000 North Dakotans would see a tax increase under the Senate Republican bill; under the House Republican bill, more than 30,000 North Dakota households would see a tax hike. Either way, Rep. Cramer voted to raise taxes on middle-class North Dakotans.