Before I go any further let me admit that I stole the title of today’s article from Chris Matthews. I caught him uttering it the other day in passing, I don’t know if it is his original thought or not but it perfectly sums up what Trump and the Republicans are attempting to do. Let’s explore.
Under the guise of tax reform Trump and Congressional Republicans are making one last ditch attempt to get their only mutual objective goal accomplished: a huge tax cut for their donor class. This is must pass legislation for them. If their deep pocketed donors don’t realize a return on investment after they have financed a complete Republican takeover of Washington they may well stop the money train. Coincidentally this is great for Trump’s personal finances and people like him (i.e. people who can afford to live in Trump Tower, hence the name).
The Senate passed a budget without Rand Paul (R-KY) or any of the Democrats the other day. The difference with the previously passed House budget is minimal and should easily be worked out. That paves the way for the Trump Tower Tax Cut to be passed without Democratic votes in the Senate. (They never needed Democratic votes in the House.)
While this makes the Trump Tower Tax Cut possible it does not make it either inevitable or probable. The Republicans have failed to pass any major legislation despite controlling both chambers of Congress and the White House for nine months now. No Obamacare repeal or replacement, no wall, no jobs bill, no infrastructure package; the only thing they accomplished was to seat a Supreme Court justice but they had to change the rules midstream to accomplish that, (not to mention they had to unconstitutionally obstruct in the last session to even make that possible). Assuming they get over the last minor hurdle on this budget deal they will hail it as a major accomplishment when all it really is routine business.
We still don’t know all the details of the Trump Tower Tax Cut because, despite all the bragging from the President, they don’t exist yet. However what we do know of the current plan heavily favors those who already have more than enough money. In other words, those who don’t need a tax cut but just want one because of their insatiable greed.
One of the first provisions of the plan is the elimination of the Estate Tax. How does eliminating a tax that isn’t applicable for a married couple until it crosses the $11 million threshold helping the middle class?
Under the guise of helping small business the plan calls for reducing the tax on income that passes through a corporation to the individual owner. It just so happens that almost all of Trump’s ventures are structured that way. Interesting! This entire provision is meaningless to the average working American who is employed by someone else. I’m all for giving small business owners (particularly startups) a break but I don’t consider someone who claims to be worth $10 billion a small business person.
Trump loves to brag about the stock market as if he personally is responsible for the record levels it has reached. Keep in mind that 80% of the markets’ value is owned by the top 10%. There is literally a nine out of ten chance that that doesn’t include you. Even then Trump hasn’t kept pace with Obama. The market went up 11,783 points or 148% under Obama. Under Trump it has gained 3,596 points or 18%. The growth under Trump is both good and at this point predictable. Let’s see how long it sustains. In fairness, Obama did have the “advantage” of coming out of a hole caused by the Bush 43 economic policies. A word of caution: those policies were born of the same philosophy behind the Trump Tower Tax Cut.
By the way, what ever happened to the fiscal conservatism the Republicans are famous for talking about? The initial projections on the incomplete Trump Tower Tax Cut are that it would add $1.5 trillion or more to the national debt over the next decade. In the lingo of the right we would borrow from China to give fat cats a tax break which our grandchildren would have to pay for. For the liars (or simply economically ignorant) who say that tax cuts pay for themselves I have a one word rebuttal: Kansas!
If you live in a “golden tower” and need a passport to visit your money the Trump Tower Tax Plan is probably good for you. The rest of us have to hope the special interests and Republican incompetence converge to make its passage another unfulfilled promise.
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