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Republicans Unveil Broad Outlines Of Tax Reform Package

tax-forms

Yesterday in a speech in Indiana, President Trump unveiled the broad outlines of the tax reform plan that will likely be the main focus in Congress for at least the remainder of this year:

INDIANAPOLIS — President Trump on Wednesday began an ambitious push to slash taxes and salvage what remains of his embattled legislative agenda in Congress this year, proposing a politically challenging array of tax cuts for individuals and businesses that would constitute the most sweeping changes to the federal tax code in decades.

Mr. Trump, smarting from the latest defeat this week of his efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, cast the tax plan as an economic imperative and the fulfillment of a promise to his working-class supporters to deliver benefits in the form of lower taxes, better jobs and higher wages.

“This is a revolutionary change, and the biggest winners will be the everyday American workers as jobs start pouring into our country, as companies start competing for American labor and as wages start going up at levels that you haven’t seen in many years,” Mr. Trump told hundreds of supporters in a speech at the Indiana State Fair Grounds.

But the president offered no measure of the plan’s cost and scant detail about how working people would benefit from a proposal that has explicit and substantial rewards for wealthy people and corporations, including the elimination of taxes on large inheritances and deep reductions in the rates paid by businesses large and small.

After months of secret talks among Republicans, the nine-page proposal produced by the so-called Big Six working group prompts as many questions as it provides answers. Without more details, it is difficult to show how middle-income families will see the most benefit from the tax overhaul — or if it will favor the richest American

On the individual side, the plan would collapse the tax brackets from seven to three, with tax rates of 12 percent, 25 percent and 35 percent, the president said. The current top rate is 39.6 percent and the lowest rate is 10 percent. The framework also gives Congress the option of creating a higher, fourth, rate above 35 percent in the tax plan to ensure that the wealthy are paying their fair share.

The plan aims to simplify and cut taxes for the middle class by doubling the standard deduction to $12,000 for individuals and to $24,000 for married couples filing jointly. That would allow people to avoid a complicated process of itemizing their taxes to claim various credits and deductions. It would increase the child tax credit from $1,000 to an unspecified amount, and create a new $500 tax credit for non-child dependents, such as the elderly.

Provisions such as the alternative minimum tax and the estate tax, a levy on inherited wealth that Mr. Trump has derided for years, would be gone under the Republican proposal.

The proposal calls for reducing the corporate tax rate to 20 percent from 35 percent, a shift that supporters say is needed to make American companies more competitive with their counterparts around the world.

A new tax rate of 25 percent would also be created for so-called pass-through businesses, such as partnerships and sole proprietorships, which are currently taxed at the rate of their owners. About 95 percent of businesses in the United States are structured as pass-throughs and they generate a majority of the government’s corporate tax revenue.

“This will be the lowest top marginal income tax rate for small and midsize businesses in this country in more than 80 years,” Mr. Trump said.

While Republican leaders claim to be united on the tax plan, they must now sell it to lawmakers who have been deeply divided this year. The push began at a House Republican retreat on Wednesday at Fort McNair in Washington, where Representative Kevin Brady of Texas, the Republican chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, walked members through the blueprint and talked about the importance of coming together to fix the tax code.

Later, in a hopeful sign for Republican leaders fretting privately about keeping their rank and file together, the conservative Freedom Caucus, whose members have derailed the party’s initiatives with hard-line demands, issued a statement of support calling the plan “forward looking” and pledging to back the party’s budget designed to ensure its passage.

The political stakes are high for a president who is desperate to score a legislative win before his first year in office draws to a close. Mr. Trump, who has eschewed the advocacy tours that his predecessors have used to build support for their top domestic priorities, made a rare direct appeal to voters during his speech, imploring them to call their representatives and senators and demand action on the tax proposal. “Let them know you’re watching,” Mr. Trump said. “Let them know you’re waiting.”

In an apparent nod to the harsh political realities the tax plan faces, Mr. Trump made an explicit overture to Democrats to support the plan

“Democrats and Republicans in Congress should come together, finally, to deliver this giant win for the American people,” Mr. Trump said.

While the outline released yesterday is more detailed than what was unveiled with much fanfare back in April, it’s still somewhat early to judge the package as a whole. To a large degree, that will have to wait until a bill is unveiled and it begins making its way through the appropriate committees in the House and the Senate. For that reason, the devil is still very much in the details that we don’t have in front of us quite yet. For example, it’s unclear if the tax cuts that Republicans are proposing would be permanent as was the case when a tax reform package was passed under President Reagan in 1986, or whether they will be temporary as was the case with the tax cuts that were passed in the Administration of President George W. Bush. The answer to that question will likely have to wait until we have a clearer idea of what the expected impact of the cuts will be on the budget deficit and whether or not changes will have to be made to qualify the bill to qualify the package for consideration under the Senate’s budget reconciliation rules, which would, of course, make it easier for Republicans to get the bill itself through Congress. That is a question that we won’t have a clear answer to until there’s a full bill for the Congressional Budget Office and other relevant agencies to evaluate, and that’s weeks if not months away.

All that being said, there is still enough in the proposal that was released yesterday to allow for some observations that could have a significant impact on how the bill is likely to fare going forward.

The first thing to be said that what the GOP is proposing here are tax cuts, not real tax reform. While there are some significant changes to the tax laws in the proposal, such as the doubling of the Standard Deduction that most taxpayers use rather than itemizing their deductions, the outline that was released yesterday consists of changes to tax brackets for individuals and tax rates for businesses. While this would have an impact on the tax liability that individuals and businesses would likely face in the future, it doesn’t make the tax code any simpler and it doesn’t fundamentally change the tax code in the way that the 1986 tax reform package did. For example, popular deductions for individuals such as those for real estate taxes and mortgage interest remain in place, as do most of the more complicated individuals and businesses that make the tax code so complicated and requires so many people to hire experts to sort through the laws and regulations. The only real exceptions to this observation are the portions of the proposal that would eliminate the Alternative Minimum Tax and the Estate Tax, but even these can be characterized as more akin to tax cuts than real tax reform. In other words, even if this package were to be passed into law intact, which is unlikely given how the legislative process actually works, the tax code will not be simplified and tax planning and preparation could end up being more complicated for some people than it is today.

As for the tax cuts themselves, whether or not they are a good thing depends in no small part on what you believe about the purpose of the tax code itself ought to be. For those who believe that the main purpose of the code should be to raise revenue for the government, what the Republicans are proposing is arguably a good thing because there’s a good argument to be made that lowering rates and shifting brackets will actually end up increasing government revenue due to the elimination of some deductions and the fact that corporations and individuals end up stimulating the economy as a whole. The extent to which this economic stimulus will have an impact on revenues is debatable, of course, but there is a demonstrable relationship between past tax cuts and increased government revenues to some extent. Additionally, Republicans on Capitol Hill and in the White House have argued that lowering tax rates will benefit the economy as a whole and lead to improvement in the jobs market and other areas that will benefit consumers and ordinary Americans. If on the other hand, you believe the tax code should serve purposes beyond simply raising revenue then there’s going to be a lot to object to in this proposal. While the cuts proposed do benefit middle-class and poorer Americans, there will also be substantial benefits for upper-income Americans thanks to reductions in top tax rates that will allow them to keep more of their money, not all of which will necessarily be invested back into the economy.  These arguments are likely to take up a large part of the debate about this package on Capitol Hill in the months to come.

The next step in the process, of course, will be to put all of these ideas in the form of a bill that would actually make up the plan that Members of Congress will be debating over the next several months. That task will fall first to the House of Representatives due to the Constitutional requirement that all bills related to raising revenue must originate in the House of Representatives. While this will arguably make the process easier for Republicans since they can control the process and the vote much more easily than they can in the Senate, it doesn’t mean that passage is by all means certain. Much of will depend on whether or not the final bill is able to get even a small bit of Democratic support, or whether House Republicans will depend entirely on the GOP Caucus to get the bill passed. If it’s the latter, then the health care reform debacle showed quite plainly how difficult that could prove to be even in the House. In the Senate, the fate of the bill will depend in no small part on whether or not the tax bill ends up qualifying for reconciliation, which would mean that it only needs 50 votes (plus the Vice-Presidents tie-breaking vote) to pass or whether the bill will be required to measure up to the far more stringent procedures of regular legislation, which would require support from at least eight Democrats to get the sixty votes necessary to invoke cloture. If the bill ends up falling into the second category, then the odds of it passing into law without at least some Democratic input would be somewhere between slim and none. Of course, even passage via reconciliation could prove difficult if the GOP caucus isn’t united around whatever bill is presented to it.  In other words, prepare for another long and uncertain legislative battle that could easily end up blowing up in the GOP’s face if it isn’t handled correctly.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. grumpy realist says:

    The devil is ALWAYS in the details.

    I suspect we’ll see the same success percentage with this as with the repeal of Obamacare.

    Zip.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  2. Turgid Jacobian says:

    “The extent to which this economic stimulus will have an impact on revenues is debatable, of course, but there is a demonstrable relationship between past tax cuts and increased government revenues to some extent. ”
    Not at the current margins, there isn’t

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 1

  3. gVOR08 says:

    @Turgid Jacobian: Thank you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  4. Liberal Capitalist says:

    This is nothing short of … completely expected from the GOP.

    HUGE breaks for Corporations. MASSIVE reductions for top earners, enough noise to appear to help the middle class, absolutely NO CONCEREN for the impact of the deficit that this will cause.

    Elimination of Inheritance tax (which does not kick in until $5m for individuals or $11M for couples) will ensure that we have more “job creators” like Paris Hilton driving our economy. Thanks to the astounding job of Fox News, Bubba Joe actually thinks that applies to his double-wide.

    I am an Eisenhower Republican, so this is absolutely an insult to thinking Americans. If they really want to MAGA then they need to RAISE corporate taxes and penalize corporations significantly for not repatriating earnings. Additional penalties for companies that offshore to avoid American taxation to offset their smart-ass accountants.

    The Cycle repeats… Just like Reagan:

    01) GOP Elected
    02) Massive tax cut
    03) GOP realizes it was a massive mistake (as the expected economic boom does not happen)
    04) GOP looses power
    05) Dems come in to clean up the mess
    06) GOP blames it all on the DEMs and howls about deficits and government spending and how they can make it all better and everyone gets a pony and an AK47.
    07) GOTO 01

    Sadly, the divisions that exist today will prevent a large portion of America from realizing this pattern. Fox news will only bray about 1) how DEMs are not participating in this bipartisan process, and 2) why do DEMs hate America?

    Moronic misled Midwesterners will be applauding their upcoming serfdom.

    Oh, and Russian trolls. Those bad boys will likely suggest that all taxes be eliminated, because who actually NEEDS a government.

    f@ck this s#it… I’m going jogging.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 2

  5. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    a higher, fourth, rate above 35 percent in the tax plan to ensure that the wealthy are paying their fair share.

    Considering that their “fair share” is, to the Right anyway, “lower than it is now,” I don’t foresee anyone in the GOP advocating for a 4th rate.

    I remember a statistic from the Death Tax debate era noting that while only one tenth of one percent of estates in the general population were subject to estate tax, 85 percent of the estates of current and former members of Congress are. Eliminating the estate tax should be a slam dunk in our current moral climate. How this would benefit the Trump family, I’m not clear on. Are they planning on repealing laws requiring that estates clear their debts before distributing the residual to the heirs?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  6. Gustopher says:

    Apparently deficits don’t matter again.

    Until the CBO scores this, and the Republicans have a proposal of what they want to cut to fund this, this really should be a non-starter.

    I expect them to try to get a vote by the end of the month, though.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  7. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    I forgot to add

    The extent to which this economic stimulus will have an impact on revenues is debatable, of course, but there is a demonstrable relationship between past tax cuts and increased government revenues to some extent.

    It’s really hard to write that sentence so that it doesn’t sound ludicrous, isn’t it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  8. Gustopher says:

    @Turgid Jacobian: I wish they would actually structure a round of tax cuts to test the laffer curve, with a rollback baked into the law if revenues don’t increase.

    Just kill that stupid idea with actual evidence. Not that evidence matters to a lot of people…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  9. Moosebreath says:

    Somehow missing from the NY Times analysis quoted in the main post are 2 deductions being eliminated which will strongly harm the middle class in its region and which mean that the savings from doubling the standard deduction will turn out to be a negative to them:

    First, the plan eliminates the personal deduction, which is just over $4,000 per person in the household. For households of 3 or more, that wipes out the benefit of the increase to the stanrdard deduction right there.

    Second, by eliminating the deductability of state and local taxes, nearly no one of middle class income will have enough deductions for itemizing to pay off compared to the standard deduction. Oh, and by the way, eliminating this deduction, like Graham-Cassidy health reform, is designed to transfer money from blue states to red ones.

    If the media were a tenth as liberal as conservatives like to claim, this would be included in any analysis of the proposal.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0

  10. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    My favorite part (so far) is removing the deductions for state and local taxes.

    If you choose to live in a high-tax state, more power to you. But you don’t get to shirk your obligations for federal taxes and have people from low-tax states subsidize your choices.

    Plus, it should have the net effect of increasing tax revenues when the spongers actually start paying what they call “their fair share.”

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 20

  11. michael reynolds says:

    A quick back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests I’ll clear at least a million dollars in tax savings over the next decade.

    How I will spend that money:

    1) Foreign travel.
    2) Apartment in London.
    3) Villa on the Costa del Sol or in Provence.
    4) Making sure my kids never have to do anything productive.
    5) Donations to Democrats.

    Thanks to the extra money I can work less and produce less, reducing the efficiency of the two workers in my corporation (my wife and me) while nevertheless having more cash to spend on Nicaraguan cigars, Scottish whisky and French trains.

    On balance this looks like a swell plan, and I would like to thank the MAGArons who, I’m sure, will also enjoy their fourteen dollars in savings, (minus the government services they’ll lose.)

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 1

  12. gVOR08 says:

    Grammar police note, this sentence is redundant.

    The first thing to be said that what the GOP is proposing here are tax cuts, not real tax reform.

    Having said “GOP”, the rest of the sentence is unnecessary.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  13. michael reynolds says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:

    My favorite part (so far) is removing the deductions for state and local taxes.

    Mine, too. Because that’s the clause that kills the bill. You know, there are Republican Congresspeople from California and New York and New Jersey, too, right? Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and Maine are also high tax states. I wonder if their Congresspeople want to explain taking deductions away from their own voters?

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  14. Gustopher says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier: To really ensure people are paying their fair share, we need a requirement that each state get back 90-110% of what they pay in federal taxes.

    That will teach those blue state freeloaders!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  15. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    @michael reynolds: Did you factor in not being able to deduct your California taxes?

    And, unlike most people here, I’m not bothered by envy. If you get to keep more of your own money, good for you. I think it’s a bit of a shame that you don’t voluntarily overpay your taxes, which seems like it would be in accordance with your principles of not minimizing what you pay, but that’s up to you and your conscience.

    And another fun thing: getting rid of the state/local deductions will split both traditional sides, as you’ve demonstrated already, and shake things up a bit. Which I think we desperately need.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 15

  16. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    @Gustopher: That works IF you think of the purpose of the federal government is to redistribute wealth.

    That is not a universally-held delusion.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 14

  17. drj says:

    @Gustopher:

    Apparently deficits don’t matter again.

    Indeed.

    A new tax cut is emerging to rival those of the Bush years, and the deficit hawks have hardly peeped.

    “It’s a great talking point when you have an administration that’s Democrat-led,” said Representative Mark Walker, Republican of North Carolina and the chairman of the Republican Study Committee, a group of about 150 conservative House members. “It’s a little different now that Republicans have both houses and the administration.”

    Thus spoke the True Conservative ™.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  18. Stormy Dragon says:

    The plan aims to simplify and cut taxes for the middle class by doubling the standard deduction to $12,000 for individuals and to $24,000 for married couples filing jointly.

    It should be noted that while the standard deduction doubles, the proposal also eliminates the personal exemption, so it’s not actually much of an improvement.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  19. michael reynolds says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:

    First, it’s very unlikely they’ll cancel the state tax deduction, that’s ‘trade goods.’ That’s what they give up if they need Democratic support. Which they almost certainly will, which in turn makes this all as much a fantasy as the rest of Trump’s failed endeavors.

    Second, I am a pass-through corporation. My rate will drop massively, far more than making up for the state tax issue, even if that happens.

    Third, the top rate on personal is coming down as well. So, bonus!

    Fourth, you misunderstand. This doesn’t alter the political divisions at all. Trump is a treasonous pig and unlike Republicans, I am not for sale. No Democrat will survive collaborating with the regime.

    Fifth, you’re missing the point, which was that zero dollars of my tax cuts will stimulate the US economy. On the contrary, I can afford to be less productive. The tax cut subsidizes my lack of productivity. Now, I’m not an economist or even capable of algebra, but I doubt I’m the only guy thinking that tax cuts = more leisure time. Nor am I the only guy who will end up taking his progeny out of the production line of the future.

    Essentially a tax cut will incentivize me to be less productive, enable me to make my children as redundant as Trump’s spawn, and encourage me to spend more money on foreign luxury goods. Or did you think my next car was going to be a Chevy?

    The rich get richer, the poor get poorer, the middle-class gets another shell game, the national debt rises and we become ever more helpless to address actual problems because the 1% doesn’t just get richer it becomes more politically-dominant. So, yeah, pretty much the same old, same old.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 0

  20. Moosebreath says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    It proves @my point when your analysis includes the removal of the personal deduction but the NY Times analysis does not.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  21. Ben Wolf says:

    The supply-side experiment has been attempted twice before and there is no evidence whatsoever that either resulted in faster revenue growth or greater productive investment. Growth was modest after the Reagan cuts while the rate of investment fell, and neither were anything to crow about after the Bush tax cuts either.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  22. Argon says:

    The GOP wanted to cut benefits to the poor so that it causes them to work harder. So….

    Wouldn’t releasing more money to those in the highest tax bracket encourage them to work less?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  23. James Pearce says:

    @michael reynolds:

    1) Foreign travel.
    2) Apartment in London.
    3) Villa on the Costa del Sol or in Provence.
    4) Making sure my kids never have to do anything productive.
    5) Donations to Democrats.

    An apartment in London and a villa?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  24. wr says:

    @michael reynolds: “You know, there are Republican Congresspeople from California and New York and New Jersey, too,”

    There won’t be — not if this bill goes through. Here’s the ad: “Republican X raised your taxes by thousands of dollars… to make sure that Ivanka, Eric, and Donald Jr won’t have to pay a nickel when they inherit daddy’s billions.”

    This really would issue in the age of the permanent Democratic majority…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  25. Gustopher says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:

    That works IF you think of the purpose of the federal government is to redistribute wealth

    Well, pinning the federal expenditures to the revenue from each state will avoid any redistribution, so that should make you happy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  26. Electroman says:

    @wr:

    the age of the permanent Democratic majority

    Where *is* that pesky Jenos, anyhow?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  27. wr says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier: Shorter Jenos: “Since I’ve never made more than 13K a year, I’m happy to see other people suffer.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  28. wr says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier: “I think it’s a bit of a shame that you don’t voluntarily overpay your taxes, which seems like it would be in accordance with your principles of not minimizing what you pay, but that’s up to you and your conscience.”

    Well, we do pay our medical bills, rather than running off and leaving someone else to deal with them. How about you?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  29. Ben Wolf says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier: The primary purpose of the federal government is, in fact, to distribute wealth and income. That’s why it’s the currency monopolist. When it creates private property it declares that person A gets something and person B doesn’t. When it increases defense spending by 13% it declares it wants the military-related sectors of the economy to have more income.

    That’s how things work.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  30. the Q says:

    I found this unintentionally funny….” we have to wait until we have a clearer idea of what the expected impact of the cuts will be on the budget deficit”…..ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!

    Like we don’t know already? Of course it will cause huge deficits as if Reagan, Bush 2, Brownback haven’t proven already?

    Also, thanks boomers…getting rid of the AMT and the inheritance tax? Two things put in by earlier generations to make sure that people like Donald and Barron Trump don’t game the system?

    According to the IRS, last year, 5,500 returns were taxable under the inheritance tax. One in a thousand. But that sliver paid 20 Billion in taxes!!! Goodbye to that revenue.

    But then what do you expect from such shining hopes of the new Dems like the completely clueless Kamala Harris who was one of the 89 Senators to vote for the latest Defense Appropriations bill which funneled 80 billion more to the DoD over last year’s spending. If she can’t fight that battle and vote no, which 80% of Californians would support, what purpose does she serve? Oh, I forgot the purpose of being a PC ethnic prop to make neo libs feel good. In short. a brown Hillary sellout.

    And she’s been bandied about as a potential Dem front-runner in 2020? Meanwhile you boomer idiots (WR that means you) slander that old fogy Bernie who was one of only 8 senators to vote NO but then as many of you like to point out, he’s not really a Democrat.

    Please, we need more non Democrats like Bernie.

    Also, the reduction in the corporate rate is a joke. Look how corporations (who know better than the gubmint how do spend their money apparently) spent their profits the last 5 years.

    Employee training? No. Innovating and investing in the work place? No. Investing in productivity boosting capital equipment? No.

    83% of corporate profits go to two things: Stock buybacks and dividends. Thats it.

    Buybacks increase share prices and inflate CEO earnings. Dividends keep the shareholders fat and happy AND those gains are taxed at significantly lower rates vis a vis regular income. Worker productivity has slumped mightily the last decade as a result and we become even more non competitive with the rest of the world. All sacrificed on the alter of insatiable boomer greed. We gave you selfish loons the keys to the kingdom and you decided that only a few would share the seed-corn..

    Lets look at the real difference between the greediest generation ever (boomers) and the greatest (mine).

    Walt Disney died in 1966. His total compensation that year was 450k. Roughly 45 times the income of the average median income.

    Last year, Robert Iger, CEO of Disney, made $45,000,000 or roughly 1600 times the average wage.

    I guess Iger is somehow 1,000 times more valuable than old Walt who only drew the Mouse, started the studios, designed Disneyland, envisioned EPCOT and planned Disneyworld, He was DISNEY. Iger, just another boomer gaming the system. Now I know Uncle Walt hated unions but he never called for gutting the inheritance tax. Nor did old Charles Wilson ex GM CEO (whats good for GM etc) who paid income taxes of 300k on his 650k salary in 1952.

    How did you let the plutocracy get out of hand? Why is abolishing the inheritance tax even being debated? Why under Obama did the Pentagon get a nice raise EVERY Year? Why did all Dem Senators save 4 vote to increase it again this year?

    Liberal Capitalist hit the nail on the head above with his cycles of Dem/GOP.

    Google Bill Clinton’s speech in Dec. 2000 stating that if the new incoming Bush idiots just followed his blueprint (3 consecutive surpluses), the national debt would be paid off by 2010. The debt collecting since Hamilton would be PAID OFF.

    Of course Bush took those surpluses and gave it away to the rich via tax cuts, then 911 hit.

    Yesterday GDP was revised to 3.1%. Those are Obama’s policies and they are about to be destroyed.

    The Dems, instead of boldly defending the 1200 ? bathroom TGs, should be channeling James Watt’s message, only this time referencing Obama’s economic policies:

    “We need to stay the course” that resulted in that 3.1% growth! NO to tax cuts for the wealthy! No to abolishing the inheritance tax and the AMT. No to reducing the corporate tax! NO to increasing taxes on the poor and middle.

    It will be interesting to see how the GOPers from blue states vote.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  31. al-Ameda says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:

    Plus, it should have the net effect of increasing tax revenues when the spongers actually start paying what they call “their fair share.”

    Spongers = Red State taxpayers, the majority of which are subsidized by Blue State taxpayers. Trump’s plan makes sure that Red State taxpayers will continue to pay less than their fair share.

    California that receives back from DC less than 80 cents for each dollar in federal taxes paid. The non-alt-fact is that high tax Blue States are ‘donors’ to Red States.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  32. al-Ameda says:

    @the Q:

    Also, thanks boomers…getting rid of the AMT and the inheritance tax? Two things put in by earlier generations to make sure that people like Donald and Barron Trump don’t game the system?

    Well sure, virtually everything is the fault of Boomers: they killed JFK, Vince Foster, murdered 6M Jews, relocated Nazi war criminals to Paraguay, slaughtered 2.5M Cambodians, installed kleptocratic regimes in Chad and the Congo that looted their country treasuries of billions of dollars, and they bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and finally, as you point out, they’re the reason Trump put forward this tax ‘reform’ proposal.

    They’re the worst.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  33. Scott says:

    @michael reynolds: What? You don’t have a yacht in the Caribbean to replace? I figure that a lot of savings will be going there..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  34. Scott says:

    First, the plan eliminates the personal deduction, which is just over $4,000 per person in the household. For households of 3 or more, that wipes out the benefit of the increase to the stanrdard deduction right there.

    As a middle/upper middle class person, I already figured that I’m a loser in these scenarios. Losing four exemption more that\n wipes out the doubling of the standard deduction. Since my two remaining kids are over 17, I don’t get a child tax credit. Eliminating state and local tax deduction (which in Texas is the sales tax deduction as well as the high property tax deduction), I’m looking at about 2-3 thousand per year increase. So much for middle class tax cut.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  35. Davebo says:

    @Turgid Jacobian: It worked for Kennedy when the top rate was what? 90%?

    It sort of worked for Reagan but it coincided with a 13% drop in interest rates which most assuredly had a larger effect.

    Hasn’t worked since and won’t work now.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  36. Davebo says:

    @michael reynolds: May I suggest Juan Les Pins?

    You’d like it and it’s close to Monte Carlo where you can gamble away your windfall.

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  37. Davebo says:

    @al-Ameda: I don’t think you can blame us boomers for Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

    The term has a meaning you know….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  38. Mikey says:

    @al-Ameda:

    The non-alt-fact is that high tax Blue States are ‘donors’ to Red States.

    That’s the kind of redistribution “conservatives” like.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  39. DrDaveT says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:

    That works IF you think of the purpose of the federal government is to redistribute wealth.

    What a marvelous opportunity to ask what YOU think the purpose of the federal government is.

    Please enlighten us. I made popcorn.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  40. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    @DrDaveT: What a marvelous opportunity to ask what YOU think the purpose of the federal government is.

    If I may plagiarize a bit:

    … to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…

    @wr: I have a vision of you, every night, kneeling beside your bed and desperately praying: “Oh, God, please let tomorrow be the day I finally make a meaningful, substantive, positive contribution, and am not left to just spew pathetic personal insults.”

    And every night, God looks down and says “Nope.”

    @al-Ameda: I live in a state with a very low tax burden. Why should people in, say, California, with a very high tax burden, be allowed to short-change their obligation to the feds just because their state wants to take more of their money? And the people in California have a simple solution — demand their state (and, occasionally, local) government cut their taxes.

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  41. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Nor am I the only guy who will end up taking his progeny out of the production line of the future.

    I hope that you don’t. It’s not really good for them, eventhough making their lives easier may seem good.

    Look at it this way, do you really want your children growing up to become Bob? That’s the danger, you know.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  42. Ben Wolf says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:

    … to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…

    Two of the above clauses are about distribution of wealth and income. The other four are about enforcing the distribution of that income. I assume you see the pattern here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  43. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    @DrDaveT: Let me elaborate:

    “form a more perfect union” — set up a system for government, but leave ways to amend that system as needed.

    “establish Justice” — note that “Justice” has no modifier. This means setting up a legal system that is as fair as can be.

    “insure domestic tranquility” — people should be free of fear of domestic terrorists like Antifa.

    “provide for the common defense” — have a Defense Department (formally Department of War) that addresses outside threats.

    “promote the general welfare” — note the words “promote,” not “guarantee,” and “general,” not every specific individual.

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  44. SC_Birdflyte says:

    Well, if it goes through in its present form, I see an S Corporation in our household’s future.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  45. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @Davebo: We’re seriously thinking about New Zealand. We visited there in 1990 and are making a return trip next spring.

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  46. wr says:

    @the Q: Hmmm. 89 senators voted for this military budget, and the one Q blames for it is both black and female. What a shocker.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  47. wr says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier: Oh, Baby Jenos, that is such harsh criticism from a man who says so many stupid and useless things he needs to change his screen name every few months just to get the attention of everyone who immediately skips over any messages from the last one… and who then immediately outs himself by posting exactly the same boring lies in exactly the same semi-literate prose.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  48. al-Ameda says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:

    @al-Ameda: I live in a state with a very low tax burden. Why should people in, say, California, with a very high tax burden, be allowed to short-change their obligation to the feds just because their state wants to take more of their money? And the people in California have a simple solution — demand their state (and, occasionally, local) government cut their taxes.

    Wow, the fact that California gets back 80 cents on every tax dollar it pays to the Federal government just blew right by you. Why should California support angry, resent-ridden deadbeat white conservative voters in Red States?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  49. Pete S says:

    Donald Trump and all his offspring live in New York or California. There is no way a self-dealer like him will allow the elimination of the SALT deduction, that provision is only in there to be given away in “negotiations”. Please Democrats, recognize this if Trump or other Republicans approach you to make a deal. He wants it out. Call his bluff and tell him it is not important to you.

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  50. the Q says:

    As usual, WR completely misses the point.

    The shocker is the modern Dem party of neo libs who are really 1990s moderate GOPers.

    Yes, the shock is the support by all Senate Dems save 4 of the obscene, bloated defense budget, whereas I have to turn to Bernie or Rand Paul for a vigorous denunciation of the waste. Where is the vocal Dem opposition to this continual boondoggle? It’s non existent.

    Harris is no Boxer, a true liberal (born in 1940) who consistently voted against these expenditures and voted against the Iraq/Afghan war.

    Get it now? Harris is emblematic of the empty suit neo lib Dems who concentrate on fringe, feel good issues not germane to most working class people.

    We now have the inheritance tax being gutted? the AMT wiped out. Aristocracy, plutocracy and oligopoly being instituted? Anti trust laws ignored. Income stratification at all time highs? Media consolidation?

    But by golly third graders in North Carolina can choose their sexual orientation on where to schite, Chick Filet and Catholic hospitals have to furnish birth control to their employees and we have freed wedding cakes from the tyranny of bigoted bakers!!!!

    Hip hip hooray.

    Name me one thing Harris has accomplished in her political life other than being Willie Brown’s well paid mistress?

    Again, a feel good totem foisted by the modern Dem liberals who are increasingly clueless as we lose election after election.

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  51. wr says:

    @the Q: I don’t think you’ve noticed that there isn’t actually a tax bill yet, and so the fight against it hasn’t begun in the senate. If Kamala Harris and anyone else under 70 fails to oppose it vigorously, I will join in your condemnation of it. (Why you make this an age issue is beyond me, but you seem to think that anyone born after the second world war is hopelessly corrupt.)

    But I will point out that lots of democratic senators voted for that increase in military spending, and the only one you object to happens to be both minority and female. And then you claim that she has only achieved her seat by sleeping with a powerful man.

    You clearly have serious issues with women and minorities in positions of authority, which is an odd thing for a Democratic post 1936. And you seem to be obsessed with homosexuality.

    Sorry that being a progressive these days demand you take into account the needs of people other than white men. I guess there’s just no place in the world for you anymore.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

  52. Tyrell says:

    Recently Trump announced “if you are rich or wealthy don’t even bother to call” (concerning a tax cut). Well I am certainly not “rich or wealthy”. In fact now I probably would not be called middle income. One person told me that my income level would qualify for the free lunch program* at the local public schools if I still had kids in school.
    So I might just call Trump and ask him about my tax cut? What about it, Mr. President?
    There should be some kind of tax day protest on April 15. People can burn their tax forms instead of the US flag. It is time that Muller investigated the IRS and their powers.
    *”There is no such thing as a free lunch”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  53. Matt says:

    @Tyrell: Most people who think they are “middle class” aren’t..

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  54. James Pearce says:

    @wr:

    I guess there’s just no place in the world for you anymore.

    <—-Progressivism in a nutshell.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  55. Grewgills says:

    @the Q:
    I thought it was all the baby boomers fault. Pelosi is a boomer, Harris is not.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  56. wr says:

    @Grewgills: “Pelosi is a boomer, Harris is not.”

    That was my thought, too, but Harris was born in ’64, so she’s right on that line.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  57. wr says:

    @James Pearce: “<—-Progressivism in a nutshell."

    Dude, if the world changes and you refuse to accept those changes and demand that everyone live exactly as they did 80 years ago, it's not the fault of the world, or even of mean progressives, that you don't fit in anymore.

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  58. James Pearce says:

    @wr: Yeah, thanks, but I already know that progressivism isn’t intended to work for everyone.

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  59. An Interested Party says:

    I have a vision…

    I notice that you didn’t dispute his claim, which far from being a personal insult, illustrates what a raging, pathetic hypocrite you are…I mean, really, a moocher who stiffs his own hospital bills lecturing anyone else about shirking their obligations…

    But by golly third graders in North Carolina can choose their sexual orientation on where to schite, Chick Filet and Catholic hospitals have to furnish birth control to their employees and we have freed wedding cakes from the tyranny of bigoted bakers!!!!

    Ahhh, so the rights of minorities and women are of little to no importance…what a lovely liberal you are…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  60. wr says:

    @James Pearce: “Yeah, thanks, but I already know that progressivism isn’t intended to work for everyone.”

    As opposed to? What political philosophy works for every single person?

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  61. DrDaveT says:

    @James Pearce:

    I already know that progressivism isn’t intended to work for everyone.

    Well, yeah — it doesn’t really think the filthy rich need the help.

    Other than that, who did you have in mind? Or are you once again confusing “work for” with “say nice things about”?

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