Archive for Sunday, December 24, 2017

Opinion: A bill only millionaires could love

December 24, 2017

Advertisement

Editor’s note: This is a substitute column for Leonard Pitts, who is on vacation until January.

It’s risky to paint with a broad brush, but it’s still no exaggeration to say that, for most Republicans, to cut taxes is their religion. They believe God put them on earth for one reason only: to cut taxes for the rich. And Republicans in Congress just did.

Donald Trump brags that the GOP tax cut bills, passed by both House and Senate with not one Democratic vote, is a bonanza for the middle class. Not true. It’s just the opposite. An analysis by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center found that 80 percent of the tax benefits would go to the top 1 percent, those making more than $730,000 a year. Middle-class Americans get little or nothing.

The GOP plan’s based on two assumptions, both of which are demonstrably wrong. First, that the more money you give the wealthiest Americans, the more money “trickles down” to the middle class. Conservatives have been trying to sell that chestnut ever since Ronald Reagan and it’s never worked. Indeed, the experience of the last few decades, as income inequality grows wider and wider, makes that claim ludicrous.

Second myth: that cutting corporate taxes will result in new investment, more jobs and higher wages, which, again, is pure hogwash. Business leaders I’ve interviewed agree: it is consumer demand, not tax rates, that drive their decision to expand. Besides, corporations today are enjoying the highest-ever after-tax profits and already hoarding $9.25 trillion. Where are the new jobs? Where are the higher wages?

Starting from that foundation, it’s no wonder the Republican plan’s so badly flawed and cuts taxes most for those who need it the least. The biggest beneficiaries are big corporations, whose rate is cut from 35 percent to 20 percent. Donald Trump says corporations need that tax cut because “We’re the highest developed nation taxed in the world.” PolitiFact rates that “False.” After all their loopholes and deductions, the average corporation pays 22 percent. Many pay less; some pay nothing. Yet the GOP bill makes these corporate tax cuts permanent. All individual tax cuts are temporary.

And individual tax rates are the most skewed of all. Numbers may change in the final bill, but, again, most benefits go to the very wealthy. An analysis by Vox.com shows that, beginning in 2019, a person in the bottom 10 percent gets a $50 tax cut, while a person in the top 1 percent gets a $34,000 tax cut. By 2027, when most individual tax cuts expire, Americans earning $75,000 or less will actually face a large tax increase.

In fact, the GOP bill should be called “The Donald Trump Tax Relief Act of 2017,” because nobody stands to benefit more. Among all industries, most tax breaks go to commercial real estate, where Trump still reigns. The bill slashes rates on so-called “pass-through” companies, of which he owns more than 500. The House version abolishes the alternative minimum tax, which cost Trump $31.5 million in 2005. And those few Americans who’d benefit from abolition of the estate tax include not only Trump himself, but Cabinet members Steve Mnuchin, Betsy DeVos, Wilbur Ross, Rex Tillerson, Elaine Chao, Sonny Perdue, Ben Carson and Gary Cohn.

At the same time, middle-class taxpayers lose what few deductions they now enjoy: for medical expenses, interest on student loans, moving expenses, plug-in motor vehicles, tax preparers, some slice of state and local taxes and home mortgage deductions. On top of which, according to the Congressional Budget Office, elimination of the individual mandate under Obamacare will cause 13 million Americans to lose their health insurance.

Elimination of those middle-class benefits, we’re told, is necessary to keep the cost of the GOP tax cuts to $1.5 trillion. Which in itself would be anathema to so-called “deficit hawks” if Democrats were in charge. When it comes to piling on the deficit, however, Republicans give themselves a free pass.

You think that’s bad? This is only Round One. Round Two will be even worse. Speaker Paul Ryan’s already admitted what’s next. Having purposely ballooned the deficit to give wealthy Americans a big tax cut, next year Republicans will use the deficit as an excuse to gut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

Meanwhile, this is the plan Republicans will have to defend in the 2018 midterm elections. According to the latest CBS News poll, only 35 percent of Americans support the GOP plan. That number will shrink as more people learn their taxes are going up, not down. My prediction: Republicans may celebrate now, but within a year they’ll rue the day they ever passed this turkey.

— Bill Press is host of a nationally syndicated radio show and CNN political analyst.

Comments

Thomas Bryce Jr. 6 months ago

"You think that’s bad? This is only Round One. Round Two will be even worse. Speaker Paul Ryan’s already admitted what’s next. Having purposely ballooned the deficit to give wealthy Americans a big tax cut, next year Republicans will use the deficit as an excuse to gut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid." The icing on the cake! Can't wait to here how the Trump supporters spin this. They don't seem to realize that these policies will affect Democrats, Republicans and Independents equally. They are not immune to these changes because of their Party Affiliation. This affects ALL of us.

Gary Stussie 6 months ago

80 percent of taxpayers are scheduled for a tax cut however, with the media pounding the liberal drum 24-7 it is easy to see how folks like Thomas could get so misguided!

Remember this when you make your News choice ... MSNBC compared the move to a “post-Soviet kleptocracy” and claimed the GOP is “stealing from the rest of us, stealing from the majority,” as New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg did. Her fellow columnist Paul Krugman called it a “nightmare,” though he also predicted post-election “we are very probably looking at a global recession, with no end in sight.”

NBC “Today” co-host Savannah Guthrie seemed shocked that Republicans thought the tax cut would help employees. She even asked House Speaker Paul Ryan: “Are you living in a fantasy world?”

Several companies have since announced that they are giving raises or bonuses to their workers following the cut. Ironically, these include NBC’s parent company Comcast. So Guthrie stands to get one of the bonuses she mocked as a “fantasy.” Oops.

The attacks were almost nonstop, with news reports and pundit talking points indistinguishable. ABC hyped: “The biggest tax cuts will go to the wealthy, corporate America.” MSNBC host Rachel Maddow mirrored that spin, whining about how corporations were getting an “embarrassing amount of money.”

If you are tired of all the crap the mainstream media is feeding you try One America News or FOX ... especially true if you really want to know the depth of corruption of Obama's DOJ and FBI!

Bob Summers 6 months ago

Why do some people have to pay more to live in America than others?

Why does the congenital Liberal's greed demand some people pay more?

Their uncontrolled greed is not fair. It's not their money.

The Left’s rhetorical response to tax cuts represents a fundamental redefinition of private property. I’m starting to think that all too many Democrats believe that private citizens and private corporations don’t actually own their private income or their private property.

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/454801/democrats-republican-tax-bill-theft?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=NR+Week+in+Review+2017-12-24&utm_term=VDHM

Bob Smith 6 months ago

Letting tens of millions of Americans keep more of the money they earn is a good thing for the country. The makers like this bill. The takers, not so much.

Thomas Bryce Jr. 6 months ago

Well, there you have it, Folks. Didn't take long for the response to come across. It is all a matter of perspective. Do you consider yourself a Maker or a Taker? Do you think a Millionaire or Billionaire would see you as a Maker or a Taker? Dividing people in to opposing groups is not the way to bring Unity to a Country but it is what the GOP are best at doing: Dividing.

Bob Smith 6 months ago

You don't recall Hillary and her "deplorables" remark? What a frail memory you have.

Gary Stussie 6 months ago

Thomas, I have lived through a lot of Presidents and I will say that I have never seen an administration as divisive or corrupt as Obama's. The extent of the corruption is only now starting to come to light. Wait for the DOJ Inspector General's investigation of the FBI and Clinton gang to get completed.

Thomas Bryce Jr. 6 months ago

I will be waiting. As a veteran I am sworn to uphold the Constitution against all enemies, Foreign and domestic. I have no tolerance for lawbreakers period, Republican or Democrat. Hillary was investigated for years by a Republican led Congress for Benghazi, her emails and even the Uranium One deal. All of that time and energy spent and not one indictment. Robert Mueller, a decorated veteran of Vietnam, a Republican who was appointed with Bipartisan support, has been investigating Russian interference and possible collusion with the Trump campaign for several months now and has already indicted several people, secured 2 guilty verdicts and more indictments remain sealed and ready to deliver. You have to wait and see what the Mueller investigation shows as well. If the Republicans Shut it down before it is completed, a Constitutional crisis will ensue and Trumps presidency may quite well end with impeachment. I am a patient man. I can wait for all of it to come out and I will be satisfied with what ever the out come is as long as Justice was allowed to go through Due Process. I say that not as a Democrat or a Republican. I say that as a veteran and as a defender of this Constitution and this Democracy. Merry Christmas Bob, Bob and Gary.

Thomas Bryce Jr. 6 months ago

Thanks, Bob. I was not being sarcastic with that last statement. It was a sincere wish to you all. We may agree to disagree but we are still all in this together as human beings and inhabitants of this one planet.

Bob Summers 6 months ago

I know you were not being sarcastic.

Happy Kwanzaa too!!

Thomas Bryce Jr. 6 months ago

By the way, I have been around since JFK. What is your point? You are only citing your opinion. One thing I know is everyone has one. Doesn't mean they are right. Facts make an opinion correct and I don't see any facts that make your opinion more right than mine. It is actually quite the contrary for the reasons I stated above. Getting you information from only one source(FOX) is your first mistake. Your second mistake is not finding multiple sources that confirm those facts. Your third mistake is not looking at all of this and putting the conservative or liberal; leanings of the sources aside and forming your own opinion based on the unadulterated facts. The truth is hard to find , but it is there. A lot of people are hoping you will just believe what they say and not look for the truth. Prove them wrong.

Bob Summers 6 months ago

"By the way, I have been around since JFK"

I would have guessed Millard Fillmore.

Steve King 6 months ago

It's a trick. Just like Walker did in WI. Year 1, gave a $400,000 million tax break to Corporations. Year 2, slashed social services and civil protections because the State had a, wait for it, a $400,000 million deficit. The backlash was so great he recinded the cuts to first responders. Then a close recall with loads of dark money kept him in. Sheep.

Michael Joseph Walsh 6 months ago

The Reagan administration was the most corrupt of the modern era (over 138 administration officials investigated, indicted or convicted) and Obama's the least. Two of Trump's people have pled guilty and two more indicted in his first year! Putin's apprentice Trump wants America to be an oligarchy but he's not smart enough to outwit the Constitution.

Gary Stussie 6 months ago

The system employs Inspectors General who's role it is to investigate potential corruption. "Power corrupts ..." with that in mind, which administration would you believe is less corrupt ... one which vigorously polices itself or one that does not?

"Putin's apprentice"?? ... a little over the top don't you think?

To anger a Conservative, lie to him. To anger a liberal, tell him the truth. – Theodore Roosevelt

Commenting has been disabled for this item.