Sunday, November 19, 2017

Will Trump's Penchant For Making Enemies Kill Ryan's Tax Scam Bill In The Senate?


The more that comes out about the Republican Tax Scam bills, the worse it looks. The latest version is a very anti-education bill, targeting deductions for teacher out-of-pocket spending and for research by graduate students and eliminating student loan deductibility while keeping carried interest. It also gets a cut to private jet owners and all but eliminates the estate tax. Paul Ryan is still hopping around DC swearing it's a middle class tax break, not a tax break for the super-rich. "The Senate Finance Committee on Thursday," reported Matthew Goldstein, "adopted a provision similar to one included in the House’s tax plan that would extend the minimum holding period for investments that qualify for the tax break, known as the carried-interest loophole, to three years from one... Both the House and Senate plans have been criticized for delivering substantial tax cuts to wealthy people and corporations at the expense of middle-class taxpayers, some of whom would pay more in taxes, mostly because of the elimination of certain deductions."

Writing last week for Time, Nash Jenkins reported how 4 Republican senators are talking privately about how they can't support the bill because it balloons the national debt. They could shut the whole thing down.
Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake and Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford are among the four-- enough to stop a bill that can only spare two Republican defections-- who have concerns about a tax reform bill that was estimated to hike the deficit by $1.5 trillion over 10 years. The other two senators have not publicly confirmed their concerns.

In an interview with Time on Tuesday, two days before the House voted to pass its version of the tax reform bill, Flake said that he believes the bill is larded with temporary gimmicks that will ultimately add even more than that to the deficit.

“I’ve been concerned for a long time on our debt and deficit-- that’s what animates me,” Flake told Time. “There are a couple other people who are concerned as well. We can do tax reform in ways that will grow the economy but we can’t just ignore the debt and deficit.”

Their concerns show the tricky needle that Republicans will have to thread to get the tax reform bill through the upper chamber using reconciliation, a parliamentary procedure that allows them to avoid a Democratic filibuster but imposes restrictions on how the bill is written.

On Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin would be voting against it, saying it unduly favors corporations over small businesses. Maine Sen. Susan Collins has also raised concerns about a provision in the bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act’s individual insurance mandate.

But the deficit hawks’ criticisms could be the hardest to address, since the Republican leaders are already struggling to find ways to pay for tax cuts in the bill.

Flake pointed in particular to the provision known as “full expensing” that allows companies to write off their assets when paying taxes, costing the government potential tax revenue. The tax reform plan is set to sunset the provision after five years-- but the Arizona Republican isn’t convinced.

“Right now, in order to fit that in the budget window to keep us in reconciliation, we phase that out after five years. Nobody thinks it will be phased out after five years,” he said. “That’s the problem here. You phase it out after five years, it fits in this, but we know after five years they’re just going to do it again.”

In addition, the tax reform bill slashes the corporate tax rate from 35% to 20%, curtails the state and local tax (SALT) deduction, and, under the Senate plan, does away with the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate. Though Republicans have touted the tax reform bill as a boon for the middle class, new numbers from Congress’ Joint Committee on Taxation show that taxes for those earning under $75,000 a year would increase by 2027.

Despite the bill’s troubles in the Senate, you can’t fault House Republicans for feeling festive about the bill’s passing. For the first time in a decade, Republicans control both houses of Congress and the White House-- and yet they have failed so far to achieve any meaningful legislative victories; their losses, meanwhile, namely two unsuccessful attempts to repeal Obamacare, have been painful and public. Achieving tax reform would amount to a triumph that could stabilize the rocky G.O.P. ahead of the 2018 midterm elections next November.

It is also important to President Donald Trump, who is hungry for a win. Trump traveled to Capitol Hill on Thursday morning ahead of the House vote to encourage Republican lawmakers to vote for the package.
No one knows who the other two deficit hawks are who could tank the bill. Corker and McCain are the suspects. If those 4 plus Collins and RonJon, and possibly Murkowski vote NO, Trump and Trumpism will be left reeling and the Republican Party will fall into full-scale civil war. There are Republicans who very much want to see Trump fail miserably and be driven from office as soon as possible. Stabbing him, Caesar like, from the right must be very tempting. Last week, all of the Republican NO votes in the House were mainstream conservatives from SALT states-- New York, New Jersey and California-- except one: Walter Jones (R-NC). He's far more conservative than the rest-- and far more conservative than Trump-- and from a non-SALT state. He just happens to be a guy who votes according to principles rather than politics. "If this is going to add $1.5 trillion to the deficit over the next ten years, it’s not fair to our children and grandchildren,” said Jones. "If this was a Democratic bill we wouldn’t even be voting for it. That’s how hypocritical this place has become."

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At 7:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One wonders how long it will take the Nazi wing(s) of the R party to purge those who resist Nazi things on principle.

One assumes it won't take them all that long. After all, one *IS* aware that the only thing keeping worse Nazis out of their DC caucus is the corrupt, feckless, eunuch democraps who insist on running corrupt, feckless, hapless eunochs against the Nazis. Even if the Ds fall into a majority, one knows that they'll never ever do anything useful with it.

Voters on the left are abandoning the whole process out of hopelessness that 'their' side can ever be fixed.

At 3:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once that Time article came out, the phones started ringing non-stop in the offices of Flake and Lankford. The donors would have been issuing the most vile threats they felt capable of delivering. The purpose is to ensure that this crowbar upside the head of America "reform" manages to hit its target.

Anyone else considered weak on the desired ideology will also be receiving such threats, for Profit Uber Alles.

Also, to fix the comment of 7:24, "Voters on the left are abandoning the whole process out of hopelessness that 'their' side can ever be returned to the path of correctness and rectitude, and again work for the benefit of the majority."


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