Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Ryan And Trump Passed Their Tax Bill-- Everyone Is Pissed, Except The Billionaire Class


A rising tide is supposed to lift ALL ships, not just the yachts.
-Laura Oatman, Orange County Democrat taking on Dana Rohrabacher (CA-48)
Even as opposition to the GOP Tax Scam continued to grow, Ryan was determined to get it over with on Tuesday. In February, when polling began on the proposed massive giveaway to the rich, approval was at 44% and disapproval was at 53%. It's pretty much been straight downhill since then and the December numbers shows 35% approve and 59% disapprove, numbers that are fairly in synch with Trump's own job approval trends. The poll shows that 66% of Americans understand that the Tax Scam benefits the wealthy most and only 27% of respondents said there was more benefit to the middle class. 930,000 constituents called their members of Congress to urge them not to vote for the thing.

The bill passed the House 227-203. Pelosi held every Democrat-- including the Blue Dogs and New Dems from the Republican wing of the party-- in unity against it. Ryan and McCarthy lost only a dozen Republicans-- Peter King, Elisse Stefanik, John Faso, Lee Zeldin and Dan Donovan from New York, Rodney Frelinghuysen, Chris Smith, Frank LoBiondo and Leonard Lance from New Jersey, Darrell Issa and Dana Rohrabacher from California (all from high local tax states) plus Walter Jones (NC). No big surprises, though the vote leaves huge targets on the backs of Tom Reed, John Katko and Chris Collins in New York, Tom MacArthur in New Jersey and a load of California Republicans but especially Ed Royce, Steve Knight, Mimi Walters, Jeff Denham, David Valadao, Paul Cook, Tom McClintock and Devin Nunes.

Please remember that during the campaign, Trump, who most of the country now realizes is an inveterate liar, promised he would raise taxes on the wealthy, get rid of loop-holes and not personally benefit from the tax bill. In other words, three more Trump lies. The non-partisan Tax Policy Center points out that within the decade 80% of all the benefits from the bill will have gone to the top 1%. And most of the 99% of Americans get stiffed. If you're a multimillionaire or billionaire you'll be able to leave your heirs $22 million tax-free instead of $11 million. Americans For Tax Fairness summarized the 13 biggest problems with the Tax Scam:
Gives 83% of the tax cuts to the richest 1% by 2027.
Raises taxes on 92 million middle-class families by 2027 to pay for tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations.
Mandates automatic Medicare cuts of at least $25 billion in 2018 and $400 billion over 10 years.
Increases health care premiums and leaves 13 million families without health coverage, to raise revenue for tax breaks that mostly benefit the wealthy and corporations.
Provides a corporate tax rate cut of $1.4 trillion and makes those cuts permanent, but makes tax cuts for individuals and families temporary.
Adds $1.5 to $2.2 trillion to the national debt, jeopardizing critical services.
Prioritizes the wealthiest taxpayers over working families with children. The GOP chose not to fully adjust changes in the Child Tax Credit so that some 24 million children in working families could fully benefit.
Prioritizes wealthy business owners and real estate developers like Donald Trump. They get a net $265 billion tax cut from a new 20% deduction for “pass-through” business income combined with a tightening of rules on losses.
Kills American jobs by encouraging outsourcing and profit shifting. The plan creates a territorial tax system, which exempts foreign profits from U.S. taxes.
Hands a $400 billion tax cut to offshore tax dodgers
Limits the federal deduction for state and local taxes (SALT), hurting the middle class. This is one of the reasons that nearly 8 million families will see tax increases in 2018.
Lets many wealthy heirs avoid paying the estate tax. The estate tax is substantially weakened, losing $83 billion and allowing very rich families to inherit wealth tax-free.
Enriches President Trump and his family.
Paul Ryan is leaving Congress, but he asked his conference to walk the plank for this-- dozens suspecting that they will be looking for new jobs in 2019-- for this destructive, accursed bill. Immediately after the vote, Ro Khanna (D-CA) called it "This horrible Republican tax bill," asserting that it "increases deficits by $1.5 trillion over ten years that favors corporations and the wealthiest Americans, while doing nothing for the middle class. 53% of taxpayers will pay more tax in 2027 than they do today. Compare that to the top 1% who will receive 83% of the gains in 2027, with the top 0.1% getting 60% of those benefits. This is flawed policy that will increase income inequality in our nation even further. In my state of California, not to mention the rest of the country, families will be forced to pay taxes twice on much of their income by scaling back their ability to write off state and local taxes... I am disappointed that the tax bill demonstrates Republicans think it’s better to serve the interests of the very wealthy than everyday people." Pramila Jayapal, who represents Seattle certainly agreed: "The GOP tax scam bill is an all-out war on any idea of opportunity in this country. It’s a massive tax break for the ultra-wealthy on the backs of middle class families. It’s outrageous that Republicans in the House voted to pass this love letter to their largest donors and corporations. Despite overwhelming opposition from the American people, this tax scam dismantles the Affordable Care Act, throwing 13 million people off their health care. It eliminates most of the State and Local Tax deduction, short-changing communities and resulting in as much as $152 billion in cuts to education funding over the next decade. It runs up the deficit anywhere from $1 trillion to $1.5 trillion, triggering cuts to Medicare and Medicaid. Despite what Republicans say, the fact of the matter is that 80 percent of all tax benefits in this bill go to the top one percent. With this heist, Republicans have branded themselves as the party of billionaires and giant corporations-- they are robbing the American people and showing zero remorse."

Plenty of progressive candidates for Congress were on the same page. California was especially targeted by Trump and the GOP and candidates here were most incensed. Sam Jammal (CA-38) is running for the Orange County seat held by Ryan rubber stamp Ed Royce. He's not sot shy about taking on Royce:
Today is a serious blow to the America I grew up in. I entered the campaign with the firm belief that - while we have our differences in how to get there-- whether you are a Republican or Democrat, you cared about the future and making sure we maintain who we are as Americans in a changing economy.  This Trump tax reform vote clearly shows a very different set of values from Congressional Republicans and Ed Royce.

While politics for too long has prioritized millionaires and the largest corporations, we have never seen such a bold step to rewrite how our economy works and handcuff what our government can do.  This is a once in a generation bill that is an attack on who we are and paints a very different picture of who we will be.  Trump's tax reform will add trillions to our federal deficit while making permanent a tax restructuring that will make it much more difficult to pay for things like national security, health care and education in the future.

Goal ThermometerThere is a laundry list of terrible policies in Trump's tax reform specific to our district.  They include the cap on the state and local tax deduction, which punishes California for investing in our state; changes to the mortgage interest deduction that will lower property values and harm homeowners in the 39th district; the elimination of the deduction to recover from losses in a wildfire or earthquake; and the elimination of the individual mandate for health care, which will result in 13 million people losing their insurance and significant market destabilization.  Cooler heads did prevail on language affecting grad students and the student loan deduction, but this bill robs the next generation by driving a hole in future budgets.

Having worked as a Chief of Staff in the House and Counsel in the Senate, I know how hard it is to change a law once it’s passed.  We may be stuck with this horrible bill for the foreseeable future and Republicans must be held accountable.  Ed Royce failed the 39th district by voting for this bill.  He had an opportunity to stand up and oppose, but, instead, did what he has done all year - vote with Donald Trump.  Ed is actively voting against our community and we will replace him next year.
Consumer advocate and congressional candidate Katie Porter (CA-45) released an equally powerful statement after her Republican opponent, Mimi Walters,voted to raise taxes on her own constituents. "I am furious," said Porter, "that my opponent just voted to raise taxes on middle-class families in Orange County. This bill will be a shock to middle-class families’ pocketbooks.These devastating tax changes will tilt our entire system even more towards the top 1% at a time when multinational corporations are parking record profits offshore, a handful of top-tier billionaires are getting richer and richer, and when the middle class is getting squeezed. Not to mention, this bill puts health insurance for 13 million people in jeopardy and sets the stage for significant cuts to Medicare and Social Security. Our families deserve a congresswoman who will stand up for them, not special interests."

Obviously, it isn't just in California where congressional candidates are already using the bill in their campaigns. Dan Canon is trying to replace Trey Hollingsworth in a red Indiana district. It’s incredible," he said, "that Representative Hollingsworth [the incumbent representative of IN-09] voted for this bill after a year of hand-wringing over deficit spending-- he even voted against hurricane relief supposedly because of ‘fiscal responsibility’-- and now this? This is a transparent sellout to big-dollar donors and giant corporations on the backs of working families. If Trey ever showed up to speak with his constituents he’d see what I see everyday; ordinary Hoosiers are struggling. We won’t be silent while he uses us to line the pockets of the 1%."

Looks like Congress flunked FDR's test... badly

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At 6:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just imagine the democrats had passed FDR's test in 2009 by jailing banksters and torturers, passing MFA, raising taxes on the rich, disengaging from wars, invoking Sherman, rebuilding infrastructure, launching a manhattan project to replace fossil fuels with renewables, renegotiated or repudiated all the FTAs...

We are where we are because the democraps are corrupt and feckless AND because 65 million voters on the left (all that still vote) are too fucking stupid to realize this.

We are here because of 4 decades of lesser evilism.

If you want to see how much lower we can go, keep following the lesser evilism escalator down.

At 7:02 AM, Anonymous Hone said...

Yeah FDR sure was a great man for America. Things were bad enough then for him to have the majority. People were starving in the streets. People were really poor. Maybe things need to get a lot worse here before enough people wake up. However, I think the majority is already at this point. We will see in the midterms.

At 7:14 AM, Anonymous Hone said...

Oh, and to Anonymous above: Yes.

Obama NEVER went after Bush for his lying, illegal war and torture against international law, nor the bankers responsible for the crash. All supposedly for the good of the country and to move on. NO! Consequences must be had, fair and square, for those who represent us. Are we a democracy with laws and justice or are we not? Average citizens, after all, especially those of color, sure as hell have real consequences for their misbehavior. What is stealing a car compared to stealing millions from the government and the American people? Many Republicans, bankers and Bush's crew should be in prison. Obama, with many Democrats' support, let them all off the hook. Since they got less than a slap on the wrist, they have been free to rise up in power and will ruin us or should I say are deep in the process of ruining us right now.

Yes, Howie, progressives must stand strong. Dems must stand strong in 2018, not cater to the "middle" which is now the right wing. Forget about attracting the deplorables already! Appeal to the Democratic base that you have, fire them up and get out the vote. Women, people of color, ethnics and young people are the majority and can win. The deplorables will always be there, as they have been throughout history. They need to be put back in their box of evil.

At 8:20 AM, Anonymous ap215 said...

I'm with you Hone but to slightly back GA's point about the Dems those donors aka The Third Way folks who have embarrassingly ruined the party for years they need to go first aka Pelosi, Hoyer etc after that then hopefully all of the progressive candidates win their primary races take over the party & then will pick up the mess the GOP leadership congress has created onward to 2018.

At 10:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

OOOHH, Hone, you got so close... but then whiplashed back to the lesser evilism trap/meme. Maybe some day you'll push that rock all the way to the top before and it won't roll back over you again.

democraps SHALL NEVER stand strong (in the way you mean). Not in '18 nor ever. They rake in billions to guarantee they don't.

Hone and ap215, this won't ever happen. If Pelosi and hoyer die (they'll never retire nor 'be' retired), there are several hundred in line behind them who will faithfully carry on and make sure the money gets served.

At best, there might be 20 progressives elected in '18. 20 at the bottom cannot ever be relevant against the hundreds at the top.

There MUST be another party sworn to serve the 99.99% and never take bribes from the rich.

Short of that, your lesser evilist devotion SHALL result in WTT (worse than trump) by 2024 and forever.

BTW, I predicted this (though sooner) back in 1982 when Reagan was elected and the DLC started selling policy to the rich and corporations. A well-meaning friend back then was like Hone and presumed that '80 was a one-off and order would be restored in '84. Then in '88. Then in '92 (Clinton) he heaved a big sigh of relief and went to sleep for 8 years. In 2000, I asked him how he felt now... he said he felt good. I asked him about $hillbillary's attempt at insurance corporate welfare, GLBA, CFMA, bob rubin, NAFTA, WTO, GATT and so on. He was fine with it (because the democrats just HAD to know more than we do and it would all be great).

You see, whenever the electorate quite being engaged and quits insisting that their elected reps actually, you know, represent us/US, we end up riding this luge to the bottom.

We are at the point now where the Rs are who they've always been, but their support has reached a third; the democraps are ALSO who the Rs are (but lie about it) and THEIR support has FALLEN to a third; and the last third of the electorate don't participate any more because there isn't anyone worth supporting.

If the D voters truly are left and the vast majority of the last third are also, then there is a permanent electoral majority that could coalesce... if there were ever anyone worth supporting.

But as long as the money controls the democraps from the top down, there will NEVER ever be anyone worth supporting. Even the few progressives aren't worth it if they cannot affect positive change over the tyranny of the money.

At 10:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If elections have no basis in democracy, if trillion dollar wars (i.e. Iraq) can be started and continue on for decades, if bankers can get trillion dollar bailouts without any going to jail for their crimes; then why should we be upset at this tax giveaway for the rich? How is it that they can make corporate Tax cuts permanent if it's a democracy? Can they make slavery permanent too? Do we revolt or do we line up?

At 3:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

10:49, no. We bend over. We've been doing it for 40 years.

At 3:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ap215, what does GA stand for?


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