Emil Guillermo: Fake tax cuts in a taxing holiday season
December 19, 2017 2:48 PM
Donald Trump, our president of tweets and low ratings, is capping off the year spearheading the drive to bribe--or, ahem, give you a Christmas gift--that's more like a ticking time bomb.
Or is that what a tax cut is supposed to sound like?
The ticking should only last until 2025, as the individual tax cuts---which could mean as much as $4,000 to a family making $75,000 a year--are only temporary.
For businesses, however, tax cuts are permanent, with the corporate tax rate dropping from 35 percent to 21 percent on January 1.
Great. But when you cut tax revenues without cutting spending, it means adding anywhere from $1 trillion to $4 trillion to the national debt, by some estimates.
What will we do then? That corporate rate is permanent and will likely stay the same.
Meanwhile, taxes will probably go back up for the rest of us after 2025.
And that's the way to look at what Trump and the GOP are giving us: the fake tax cut of 2017.
It's not even the biggest lump of coal Trump's throwing at us this holiday season.
Most notable is the repeal of the individual mandate on health insurance. You don't hear much about that anymore, but it essentially takes the life out of the Affordable Care Act. In order to make the ACA a/k/a Obamacare work, the mandate was necessary to include everyone in the pool of insureds. With everyone in, costs go down. That's how insurance, not just socialism, works. Get rid of the mandate and costs will go up, leaving as many as 13 million uninsured.
The holiday Trump/GOP plan and all its fake tax cuts sure turns Scrooge-y quickly.
For Asian Americans in states like California and Hawaii, where housing costs are high, you'll probably feel the limits on state and local tax deductions and mortgage interest deductions.
Others may, for the first time, understand why making in excess of $200,000 barely makes you middle class in Trump's America.
Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said 83 percent of the benefit from the GOP plan would go to the wealthiest one percent. Meanwhile, Republican leader Paul Ryan sees it as simply "giving the people their money back."
That's one way of looking at it.
Republicans like to tout the simplicity of it all. You can do your taxes on a postcard! But all that means is you don't make enough money to play the loophole game of the rich. Not like Donald Trump, who refuses to release his tax returns and whose idea of tax simplification is to simply not tax the rich.
And what of society's idealistic notion of the common good to help the old, the sick, the poor. You know, Medicare, Social Security? Those are called "entitlements," but they're next on the cutting block, just you wait.
In the meantime, we're stepping backward toward a cruel Darwinian America with this tax plan. It sucks money out and gives it back to the rich, with the hope that reinvestment will mean more jobs, higher wages, and benefits for all.
That hasn't happened in the past, so why should it now? But that's the Republican capitalist fantasy. And it will mark 2017 as the year politicians rewrote the U.S. tax code and made wealth inequality official tax policy in America.
Now that the House has voted, barring an unforeseen pang of conscience in the Senate, the Republicans will go for the partisan win.
To all that, a beleaguered Trump, in need of a legislative victory, no matter how draconian, will say, "Merry Christmas!"
But when he takes out his pen to sign the bill into law, we'll soon be feeling it all for what it is---a stabbing blow into the heart of middle class America.
* * *
Emil Guillermo is an independent journalist/commentator.
The views expressed in his blog do not necessarily represent AALDEF's views or policies.
Leave a comment