Learn English from the News: A proposed tax reform

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Hello students! It’s Shayna, your teacher from EspressoEnglish.net. Welcome to our third edition of November News, where I teach you English vocabulary from real news articles.

Today’s article is about a proposal for tax reform that’s currently being debated by the U.S. government. If you want to read the original article, you can click on the link in the video description.

OK, our topic is tax reform. The word taxes refers to the money that every working citizen pays to their country’s government, which uses the money for public projects. And the word reform refers to changing and improving things. It can be used as a verb or a noun.

The article says that a committee was racing to wrap up work on this tax reform project. Racing means moving very fast, and the phrasal verb wrap up means to finish.

The Republicans (that’s one of the main political parties in the U.S.) are making rapid strides toward approving this new law. Let’s look at this expression. Strides is another word for steps, usually big steps, and rapid means fast. So making rapid strides is another way to say making steps or forward progress very quickly.

Tax reform is the cornerstone of the Republicans’ agenda. The word agenda means a plan of things to be done, and if you say something is the cornerstone, it means it’s the essential and fundamental element.

According to the article, there’s been blowback from some Republicans in the Senate. Blowback refers to unintended negative consequences that happen as the result of or in reaction to an event. Internal disagreement might stymie the project. This verb stymie means to be an obstacle to, to prevent or complicate progress.

It also says that the Republicans’ view of the proposed tax reform is on a collision course with the nonpartisan assessment of it. The word collision refers to a violent impact, and if two things are on a collision course, it means they are moving against each other and will end in a collision or conflict. The adjective nonpartisan describes something that is not related to a specific political party.

The essential conflict is that Republicans say it’s a big tax cut (meaning a reduction), but most of the cuts will benefit rich people, while low-income families would see tax hikes. The word hike is being used as a noun here to refer to a sudden increase.

The reason taxes would go up is that some tax credits will be phased out. This phrasal verb, phase out, means to bring to an end through a series of steps. So the tax credits won’t end suddenly; they will gradually be eliminated in steps.

Many people affected by this are individuals and families that earn modest incomes. Your income is how much money you receive from your work and investments, and the word modest in this context means “not very high;” average or below average.

Another part of the proposed tax reform involves repealing the requirement to buy health insurance, which is currently obligatory in the U.S. The word repeal is a legal term for removing or reversing a law that previously existed.

This is a developing story, so it will probably change in the upcoming days and weeks as decisions are made about the tax reform proposal. But the vocabulary is useful in general.

I hope you’ve learned some new words and expressions today! If you don’t want to miss any of my new lessons, make sure to subscribe to Espresso English on YouTube. You can also sign up at EspressoEnglish.net to get a free e-book and English lessons by e-mail. Bye for now!

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