Archive for Friday, December 22, 2017

Editorial: The best of bills, the worst of bills

December 22, 2017


Republicans would have you believe the tax overhaul they pushed through Congress Wednesday is an economic panacea for the country. Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the bill “is as good as it gets.”

Democrats would tell you the bill is a boondoggle, a political debt to corporate interests and the very wealthy masquerading as middle class tax relief. Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said the bill “is Armageddon.”

The truth, of course, is somewhere in between. Are there appealing reforms that will benefit broad numbers of American families? Absolutely. And are there aspects that should cause American families to be concerned? No doubt.

First, the good: The bill cuts taxes for most Americans. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center’s analysis shows that eight in 10 Americans will see their taxes reduced.

By nearly doubling standard deductions, the bill should make filing simpler. Estimates are that the doubling of deductions will reduce the percentage of Americans who itemize from 30 percent to 6 percent.

The bad: Republicans pushed through a repeal of the Affordable Care Act mandate that Americans purchase health insurance or face a tax penalty. That repeal is likely to prompt younger, healthy Americans — the people who reduce risk in insurance pools — to forgo health insurance, resulting in increases in premiums for the majority of Americans who do buy health insurance. Those increases easily could wipe out all gains from the tax cuts.

Further, most of the individual tax cuts are temporary; they expire after 2025 because of complicated Senate budget rules that limit the impact of legislation on the deficit after 10 years. This means that the tax cuts will be short lived unless a new congress sees fit to extend the cuts.

Perhaps the most controversial aspect of the tax reform bill is the reduction of the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent. Tax experts agree that the current rate is so high it puts American business at a disadvantage with foreign competition.

But cutting corporate taxes so drastically could have a dramatic impact on the federal budget deficit. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the tax bill will add $1.4 trillion to the deficit over the next decade.

Republicans argue that the CBO estimates don’t account for growth that the tax cuts will spur. Tax bill proponents go so far as to argue the cuts will stimulate hiring and wages like never before, and that the resulting growth could cover or exceed the $1.4 trillion.

Democrats argue that history shows otherwise, that corporations tend not to reinvest tax breaks in hiring and expansion. The disastrous tax-cut experiment in Kansas the past five years underscores that point.

The last time significant tax reform came through Congress, in 1986, more than 30 Senate Democrats voted for the Reagan Administration’s bill. No such bipartisanship this time around as the reform bill passed without a single Democratic vote in either chamber. Sadly, in the case of Republicans and Democrats, the optics of the 2018 midterm election campaigns took priority over working together to produce a bill that both parties — and a majority of Americans — could embrace.


Gary Stussie 4 months ago

"corporations tend not to reinvest tax breaks in hiring and expansion" ... before it was even signed:

AT&T - The telecom giant said Wednesday that more than 200,000 of its employees, including union-represented and non-management workers, will be eligible for a $1,000 bonus. The checks will be in the mail in time for the holidays if Trump finalizes the tax bill with his signature before Christmas. AT&T (T) also said it will invest $1 billion more than expected in the U.S. in 2018, once the cuts are final.

Boeing - The aerospace and defense company immediately announced $300 million in investments after the bill passed, with $100 million toward corporate giving including employee gift-match programs, $100 million toward workforce development, training and education and $100 million toward enhancing Boeing’s workplaces.

Comcast - The Philadelphia-based telecom corporation said it would award $1,000 bonuses to more than 100,000 non-executive employees. In addition, Comcast (CMCSA) NBC Universal Chairman and CEO Brian L. Roberts said the company plans to spend more than $50 billion in the next five years on infrastructure investments that are expected to create "thousands of new direct and indirect jobs."

Wells Fargo & Company (WFC) said it would raise the minimum wage for its team members to $15 per hour and earmark $400 million for philanthropic initiatives in 2018. Some $100 million of that total will be committed to boosting small businesses, while $75 million will support neighborhood revitalization efforts.

Thomas Bryce Jr. 4 months ago

So, the corporations are promising to give something to their employees for getting something from the Government i.e. Tax cuts. Quid pro Quo. Some might also call that type of payment extortion or even ransom. These corporations could have given their employees bonuses at any time. A one time bonus is completely different than getting a permanent salary increase. The fact that they only do it when Congress and this President gives them a 14% tax Reduction for Taxes they already do not pay fully, due to loopholes,( what did we get? a Couple percentage points and a child credit and personal exemption adjustment that is worth a couple thousand a year if you are Lucky) just shows us all that the System is truly rigged. The rich get richer by design. They save hundreds of millions if not billions and you might get a couple thousand extra that may be offset because Health insurance WILL go up. And, just wait until they start tackling the Debt increase by going after Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Merry Christmas.

Gary Stussie 4 months ago

Babel on Thomas ... a public company has a duty to its stockholders to provide a return on investment. When 35% of profit goes to Federal Taxes, it does not leave as much for bonuses and internal investment. You are in over your depth.

Ken Lassman 4 months ago

Not really, Gary, as the Washington Post found out when it polled the top 20 corporations as to what they'll be doing with the money saved. Lots of promises to help shareholders. Two promises to hire more workers. No promises to raise wages. In other words, pretty much a repeat of the Kansas experience: owners will line their own pockets.

Thomas Bryce Jr. 4 months ago

Babbling about Babel does not strengthen your argument. Quit while you're ahead. "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt." — ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

Thomas Bryce Jr. 4 months ago

This just in about AT&T employees in KCMO. Please spread your optimism about the Tax Bill with them. They are getting a Bonus, a layoff and chance to move to San Antonio all just before Christmas. What a Great way for a corporation to say "Merry Christmas!" to it's employees.

Bob Summers 4 months ago

It is obvious this individual penning this complex critically thought out piece, or is it a Liberal consensus piece, believes people in government know better what to do with your hard earned money than you folk that earned it.

Another one of the many symptoms of people under the influence of the Liberal gene.

God complex.

Kendall Simmons 4 months ago

According to this article, Wells Fargo is going to raise their minimum wage to $15 an hour. That means the workers who the work will make an exciting $31,200 a year. Do you truly not see ANYTHING kinda unimpressive about this?

Bob Summers 4 months ago


It's Fargo's money.

You are unable to leave it alone.

Another symptom of the condition.

C'est La Vie

Bob Summers 4 months ago

You see, corporations earned the money. Not the parasites in government.

Corporations can do with the money as they see fit.

That bugs the heck out of Liberals.

Kendall Simmons 4 months ago

I'd love to see these corporations make all "their" money without any workers. Or does that mean that Trump will stop ranting about "the wall" and we'll use immigrants instead??

P.S. Without people having any money to spend and buy things with, those corporations will soon find themselves up you-know-what's creek really fast.

Steve King 4 months ago

Then get off my highway Bob, ride your horse.

Bob Summers 4 months ago


And my skivvies were made 20 years ago and I am still using them


Ken Lassman 4 months ago

You sure seem fine with using those electrons corralled by those communist monopolied utilities, too, with their profit margins guaranteed by the public. Next time you post I want to see that you generated your response using your own solar panel and batteries, or from a wind turbine, or a bicycle generator for all I care.

Kendall Simmons 4 months ago

As an aside, this editorial that impresses you so makes claims like "Tax experts agree that the current rate is so high it puts American business at a disadvantage with foreign competition". That is pure nonsense.

Our corporate tax rate is nothing but a statutory rate...the rate BEFORE deductions...NOT what it really costs businesses. But, hey...why would you conservatives want to believe liberals. Or economists. Or tax experts. I mean, it takes all the fun out of things, right?

Gary Stussie 4 months ago

"American business at a disadvantage with foreign competition"

Kendall you need to read up on Corporate Inversion.

Tax inversion, or corporate inversion, is the practice of relocating a corporation's legal domicile to a lower-tax nation, or tax haven, usually while retaining its material operations in its higher-tax country of origin

During the Obama administration 47 major corporations moved their corporate headquarters off-shore. In the 20 years prior to that, 29 moved their headquarters off shore.

Thomas Bryce Jr. 4 months ago

Great retort, Bob. That is some serious Critical Thinking at work right there. Must have been a debate champ at some point in your academic career.

Gary Stussie 4 months ago

Not necessary Ken ... 2016 Presidential campaign spending

Clinton - $1.2 Billion Trump - $647 Million

Its all about the policies and the candidate!

Ken Lassman 3 months, 4 weeks ago

Yep, the Facebook, Google and social media FUD spammers from Russia and the Ukraine sure came cheap.

Gary Stussie 3 months, 4 weeks ago

You make your voting decision based upon facebook? I would expect social media to be flooded with misinformation in every future election. Tune in to FOX ... get the straigh skinny!

Ken Lassman 3 months, 3 weeks ago

I don't even have a Facebook account, Gary, nor do I listen to the shills at Fox. Both sources have been wrong so much of the time that it's not even funny, and I'm glad to back up that statement if you really believe that Fox is giving you the "straight skinny." Sheesh!

The impact of social media on the past election is quantifiable and has led to reforms, though probably inadequate. It influences folks in the same way that negative ads work on television, which, by the way, I also have a greatly limited interaction with. Negative misinformation and exaggeration through both television and social media have been powerful drivers of our electoral processes, sadly to say, and they maintain their influence by wrapping themselves in the first amendment freedom of speech and poo-poohing reliable news sources as "fake news" even though journalist based news sources are several orders of magnitude more reliable sources of information than the mercenary mudslingers that more and more characterize our campaigns.

The media itself is one of the problems, since they charge so much money for access, which then makes the candidates beholden to big money. When you see how expensive campaigns have become, that money eventualy goes into the pockets of the big regional and national media outlets, so are they going to run a piece on how much money they are walking away with?

Calvin Anders 4 months ago

So the middleclass tax cuts are modest and they expire after a few years. The corporate tax breaks are substantial and do not expire. How is this bill anything more than a handout to the rich with a very small and very temporary carrot dangled to the middleclass in an attept to give Republicans political cover. It's a wildly unpopular bill. And it will run up the debt. How are Republicans able to have a straight face when they claim to be fiscal conservatives any more? They are the ones destroying the economy. They are the ones running up the debt. They have proven over the last 4 decades that they are the party that accumulates debt and misspends egregiously.

Thomas Bryce Jr. 4 months ago

Great points, Calvin. Let us also not forget the "Conservative Family Values" we have witnessed lately. What has happened to the "Party of Lincoln"? All of this will be hanging around their necks come the 2018 Midterms. The Russia investigation is still moving forward. Not a "Witch Hunt" after all.

Gary Stussie 4 months ago

Of course it is moving forward .... there will be dozens of "leaks" and smears right before the mid-terms ... then the investigation will shut down with no significant findings.

It will go down in history as the most corrupt "Witch Hunt" ever attempted by the DOJ ... check out below list of "Investigators" ... just amazing!

Thomas Bryce Jr. 3 months, 4 weeks ago

Comrade Putin and Mother Russia Thank You for your continued support. The FOX News Echo Chamber is working as planned. No American President has ever turned such a large group of his supporters against our own Law enforcement and Intelligence agencies like Donald Trump has and FOX has had a big hand in perpetuating this mindset. Trump is truly an Asset of the Kremlin as James Clapper pointed out in a recent interview. That makes you, as a Trump supporter, a valuable asset to Russia as well. Russia's goal, through out the world, is to make Democracy weak and you, and other Trump supporters, are helping them accomplish this.

Thomas Bryce Jr. 3 months, 4 weeks ago

Donald Trump's claim that Russia Interfering in the 2016 election was "a made-up Story" has made it as Politifact "Lie of the Year". They had so many to choose from so It must have been a tough decision.

Thomas Bryce Jr. 3 months, 4 weeks ago

Democrats would have voted for a bill that did give relief to the Middle Class. It is quite obvious to most people that this bill did not do that. Democrats could not in good conscience vote to give Permanent Tax relief to the top earners(The ones that need it the least) that will be payed for by Temporary tax relief for the ones that need relief the most. Spin it any way you want, Bob. The facts don't change. This will be a central talking point come the 2018 midterms. 80% of the benefits go to top earners permanently. 20% go to the rest of us Temporarily.

Thomas Bryce Jr. 3 months, 4 weeks ago

Wasn't that a much better response than "So?"

Calvin Anders 3 months, 4 weeks ago

Or Bob, put another way, not one single Democrat voted to increase out national debt by well over a trillion dollars. But it looks like Republicans decided to go a different way. Permanent tax cuts for corporate and wealthy interests with some temporary little cuts for the middle class, all that will result in massive acceleration in the growth of our already crushing foreign debt. Let's just let that sink in for a minute as well.

Gary Stussie 3 months, 4 weeks ago

"not one single Democrat voted to increase out national debt by well over a trillion dollars."

Way to spin it Calvin .... never met a Democrat that gave a darn about the national debt unless it could be associated with a Republican initiative.

“Republicans believe every day is the 4th of July, but the democrats believe every day is April 15.” – Ronald Reagan

Ken Lassman 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Give me a break, Gary. The Republicans have embraced One Party Rule to the total exclusion of the Democrats, period. They even came up with bogus misuse of the budget reconciliation rules to exclude hearings, preventing CBO non-partisan analysis of the bill, etc. Heck, the bill as a whole that was passed was not even available period, until just before it was shoved through in a way that is more characteristic of totalitarian One Party State countries than a democracy.

To ignore this ugly reality is the ultimate spin, Gary.

Michael Kort 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Earth to Bob..

Corporations have been returning foreign subsidiary profits to their US stockholders as returns on investments as opposed to a 35% taxed earnings .

Now that the rate has been lowered, profits made for their shareholders from afar, can show up in the US in the open, because they can skip gaming the system .

Expect a sharp rise in out right corporate profits ......and a drop in return on foreign investment "scam income" coming to US Corporations .

The real balance of trade deficit should drop also by 75% .

It won't be long before Trump is back saying that American Corporations need even bigger tax cuts because their foreign return on investments are down......ha, ha, ha .

Allot of Tech. Companies are importing foreign workers and paying them 1/2 what Americans usually get which is what the bigoted shooting at the Olathe bar was all about this year .

Not saying that i approve of anyone shooting anyone else out of economic anger or bigotry.....i don't ...........but simply noticing the growing resentment that is obvious and that it is economic based in corporate hirings and firings, that gets rid of a loyal American employe out of corporate greed, with a 1/2 priced foreign replacement, as well as being bigoted based crime .

As for Wells Fargo, i wouldn't want to do business with a bank that invents phony credit card accounts for its' own paying customers and charges its' customers fees for that, as they have done with the help of thousands of their own employees recently.........they got caught and it wasn't a small thing by the numbers but huge .

Gary Stussie 3 months, 2 weeks ago

"Democrats would have voted for a bill ..." ya, right!

3 Jan 18 - Add Southwest Airlines to the list. Giving 55,000 employees $1,000 bonuses and donating $5M to charity.

Obstructionism is not going to work for the DEMs! Maybe another historic butt kicking in the mid-terms will have them revisit the concept of compromise!


Gary Stussie 3 months, 2 weeks ago

The number of companies offering employee bonuses, pay hikes, and increases in benefits in reaction to President Trump’s December tax reform victory is now over 100, with thousands of workers impacted and charities too.

Washington Examiner 5JAN18 "Every announcement of another company raising wages, hiring, paying bonuses, investing in America is another nail in the coffin of the Democrat attacks on the Republican tax cut. This drip, drip, drip is added to the daily reports on stock market gains, the bigger checks in pay envelopes and the jump in your 401K and IRA."

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