Despite abundant historical and economic data completely undermining the basic premises for what was called “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” it will become law once the “fixes” are applied due to errors in math, logic, and legal precedent.
As it turns out, the bill was so sloppily written the name had to be changed at the last minute after the Senate Parliamentarian ruled it did not pass muster. Trump may not sign the bill this year because a PAYGO provision won’t be accompanying it.
Republicans have just pulled off the biggest bank heist in U.S. history. More than $1 trillion over the next decade will leave our treasury to be deposited in the bank accounts of the wealthiest Americans and big corporations.
American corporations (which include about 40% foreign investors) are making record profits and the stock market is at an all-time high. (Fact: the market went up more during Obama’s first 11 months than it has under Trump). Yet Trump and company based the need for tax breaks for corporations on the premise that our economy needs revving up.
After a brief period of decreased withholding, most Americans will see steadily increasing taxes. This is called bait and switch. Corporate tax cuts are permanent, individual cuts are not. Only individuals making more than $200,000 annually will see decreased taxes by 2027.
Every single premise for passing this legislation is based on unprovable assumptions, whether it’s more jobs domestically (the bill incentivizes off-shoring), big increases in the Gross Domestic Product (historically untrue) or that Donald Trump won’t personally benefit (he owns more than 500 pass-through entities which will see significant rate reductions).
Six thousand lobbyists did the heavy lifting in writing this legislation. Does anybody really think they had the public interest in mind? It includes tax breaks for alcohol manufacturers, energy producers, and tech companies. Comcast, Microsoft, Altria Group (formerly Philip Morris), and NextEra Energy were the leading funders of those lobbyists.
Meanwhile, removing the individual mandate for health insurance will cause steady rates increases for individuals, and undermine the market as a whole. Thanks to sequestration, an immediate $25 billion in cuts to Medicare will kick in if the President doesn’t get a PAYGO rider.
NBC Today show host Savannah Guthrie: This tax cut is going to cost 1.6 trillion dollars more to the deficit- are you saying that the growth we’re going to get from this tax cut will equal what we get from the deficit?
House Speaker Paul Ryan: “Nobody knows the answer to that question.”
It’s totally bizarre for one of the selling points of this legislation to be “we can fix it later.” Republicans already know extending any benefits for individuals post-2020 will necessitate spending cuts beyond those already under consideration.
Next up on the agenda for the Congress will be a cruel campaign to cut Social Security, Medicare, and other vital public programs.
Republicans think they are just getting started. Support for the tax bill was based on the premise that doing nothing would completely destroy the party. That’s why deficit hawks clammed up. That’s why lawmakers switched votes based on promises they knew would never happen.
With Senate re-election campaigns costing $20 million or more these days, for example, something had to be done to ensure big donor participation. The most severe economic consequences won’t kick in until the next decade. And Republicans are hoping PAC-funded TV ads will be enough to dull the political repercussions.
In the not so distant future, Congress will consider the budget submitted by the President. The good news is that this document is a wish list. The bad news is that compromises won’t fix this.
What’s next? The Congress will consider yet another continuing resolution this week to keep the government funded. Childcare for children (the CHIP program) and DACA are likely to be booted to January 2018.
It is important to remember most of the GOP’s #taxscam does not take effect for several years. This makes it all the more important to work on voter turnout for good candidates in 2018 and beyond. And street-level activism has an important role to play in keeping the injustices of the Trump administration foremost in the public consciousness.
Resistance is a marathon, not a sprint!
PS– Eric Levitz at New York Magazine has a column looking at the unintended consequences of the tax reform bill:
While the intended consequences of the Trump Tax Cuts are contemptible, the legislation’s unintended consequences could actually, eventually make this country a better place. There’s good reason to think that the bill’s immediate effects will be less destructive than liberals feared — and that, in the long run, its passage could actually make the United States a more progressive nation.
Nothing is certain. We could be on the cusp of neo-feudalism (or nuclear war). But the accelerationist case for the Trump Tax Cuts is surprisingly strong.
Worth a read…
Holiday Schedule: Starting Line will be on break December 23 to January 2. I’ll be in town and will break my silence should anything major happen. Jim Miller’s column and other regular features, like the Progressive Activist Calendar, will return after the first of the year. So, yeah, we’re going to have a light schedule over the holidays.
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