Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The Trump-Ryan Tax Scam


Poor GOP! They're getting ready to reap the whirlwind. It's starting already too. And it's going to get worse as they either manage to move their unpopular agenda or if they fail to move that agenda which is popular with their donors and their 30% moron base. Independents hate what they're proposing and independents will determine the outcomes of congressional elections in over 70 districts Republicans now hold-- not the 24 seats the Democrats need to win back the House-- 70 to 80 seats that could flip. Today Republicans are meeting as a caucus to discuss tax reform-- excluding Democrats from the process; you would think they would learn from the failed attempts to reform healthcare without bipartisan support, but that would mean they have some integrity and ability to learn from mistakes. What is worse is that a bunch of K St lobbyist pals of Ryan's will be there with them at their "GOP tax reform retreat" today-- so a bunch of high priced lobbyists will be there giving input on the process, but lawmakers who represent half the country are excluded-- democracy in action under Republican rule!

The most right-wing part of their base is flipping out because they haven't passed anything and normal people are flipping out because they keep trying to pass crap. Yesterday the base took it out on poor Luther Strange in Alabama. The real radicals don't even like the latest failed attempt to repeal Obamacare-- Graham-Cassidy-- which they view as not radical enough. But a majority of Americans think it's way too radical. Only 20% of U.S. voters like it-- and a big plurality of voters say that if their member of Congress supports it, it will make them more likely to vote against them in 2018.

Chip Roy was Ted Cruz's chief of staff and he warns Republicans that "the backlash for the members of Congress more than the president could be significant if they truly can’t get their ducks in a row and get repeal accomplished... We’re now staring at a much messier 2018 if Republicans continue to fail to get the job done." Lots of Republican incumbents will now start facing serious primary challenges from the fringe."

Crazies like Roy Moore (AL), Danny Tarkanian (NV), Kelly Ward (AZ), Andy Ogles (TN) and Chris McDaniel (MS) are going to have an easier time beating mainstream conservative incumbents in primaries than winning general elections where Democrats and independents have a voice. And this is certainly not just about repealing Obamacare. The Republican tax plan-- Ryan has one, Trump says he has one, but is there really a real plan yet?-- is dribbling out an people hate it as much as they hate TrumpCare. For example, a new ABC News/Washington Post poll shows that 65% of voters feel large corporations pay too little in taxes. The poll shows support for the GOP tax plan at 28%. On top of that 62% of voters oppose tax cuts for the wealthy. Ryan is willing to take a stand on the hill and watch the Republican Party die on it. Trump, who explicitly promised to not lower taxes on the wealthy is going along with Ryan on this one, which will expose him as a liar to his base once again.

Our friends at Americans for Tax Fairness have even worse news about Trump's tax plan, namely that the cuts could hit the budget with a $3-5 TRILLION deficit, endangering spending on programs Republicans don't care much about-- Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and education! What Trump and Ryan are both aiming for is providing massive tax cuts that largely benefit the richest Americans and biggest corporations through direct tax cuts and indirectly through big cuts in corporate taxes. And there's no revenue to make up for most of it. Frank Clemente, executive director, Americans for Tax Fairness: "The idea that this plan would help average Americans instead of the wealthy and big corporations has been a hoax all along. This isn’t 'tax reform,' it’s just a big giveaway to millionaires and corporations, and it won’t 'trickle down' to the rest of us. It won’t help small businesses, but it will help Wall Street hedge fund managers and real estate moguls like Donald Trump. This plan will not lead to robust job creation or economic growth, but its eye-popping cost will lead to deep cuts in Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, and public education that will leave working families in the cold."

Clickable version of chart and footnotes can be found here:

Ro Khanna (D-CA) thinks Trump is making a terrible mistake-- like he did by letting McConnell talk him into backing Luther Strange-- by allowing Paul Ryan to sell him a bill of goods on tax policy. This morning Ro told us "Here is what I don't understand. Trump campaigned as a populist. He promised to help working families and middle class families. He understood that Paul Ryan was unelectable in this country given Ryan's proposals to cut Social Security and taxes for the rich. But, as soon as he got elected, Trump outsourced his tax policy to Ryan. Instead of gearing his tax credits to working families or the middle class in states who voted for him, he is letting Ryan write a plan that is catering to the Wall Street speculators and investor class he campaigned against. This is Trump's most explicit betrayal of his promises on the campaign trail."

This morning I spoke with two of my favorite congressmembers about the scam-- Ted Lieu and Matt Cartwright. Ted said "I always find it ironic when Republicans lecture us about fiscal responsibility.  As if they weren't the party that turned a $200 billion surplus into a huge budget deficit by starting two wars while cutting taxes for the wealthiest Americans. If tax cuts really led to economic growth, then the 2000s should have been the greatest period of growth in American history.  Instead when Bush left office he left a collapsed economy and a huge budget deficit in his wake. This budget stuff is real complex-- it involves things like basic arithmetic. I would support tax reform that asks Americans to pay their fare share so that we can reinvest in the institutions that have made our country great: infrastructure, education, scientific research.  Sadly, we are unlikely to get a proposal like that as Republicans meet this week to discuss their plan without Democrats. One would think they would have learned from their failure on healthcare and actually try to work with Democrats for a change. Instead they are meeting with high-priced lobbyists to hash out the details of what promises to be another disastrous piece of legislation."

When I asked Matt Cartwright (D-PA) about what Trump is up to he quoted Hector Barbossa of Pirates of the Caribbean "The Code is more what you’d call 'guidelines' than actual rules. Welcome aboard the Black Pearl, Miss Turner!" He then said that "In November, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that the new administration would not seek an absolute tax cut for the highest income earners in America. That pledge quickly became known as the 'Mnuchin Rule.' This summer, Sec. Mnuchin had to testify before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government. I sit on that subcommittee, and I took the opportunity to ask Mr. Mnuchin if the administration was going to stand by his pledge to cut taxes for the middle class, and not the top income groups. He balked. Instead of reaffirming the Mnuchin Rule, he told me it was more of an 'objective' than a rule. Welcome aboard the Black Pearl, everybody!

UPDATE: Elizabeth Warren

"The 'new' Republican tax plan is the same warmed-over, trickle-down plan they've been pushing for decades. It delivers massive tax cuts to millionaires and giant corporations and kicks working families to the curb. While the plan slashes the income tax rate for the highest earners, it actually increases the income tax rate that applies to many working families. The plan gets rid of the state and local tax deduction that millions of working families rely on, while repealing the estate tax that applies only to a handful of the wealthiest families in the country. And the plan will explode the deficit, which-- I guarantee you-- will lead Republicans to turn around and say we need to gut Medicaid, Medicare, and investments in infrastructure, research, and education."

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At 11:29 AM, Blogger Elizabeth Burton said...

So, someone whose only work experience is being a CEO gets elected president and immediately behaves like a CEO and delegates all the actual work to underlings. Quelle surprise.


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