The GOP tax bill is as bad as you think it might be, and probably far worse than you could ever imagine. Most of all, this legislation is a moral crime, a form of punishment against poor and working people and the middle class.
This tax plan is also a gift to Trump and the richest 1 percent of Americans. The Republicans have found a way to weaponize the tax code against ordinary folks.
Promoted as relief for the middle-class relief, the tax plan is anything but that. This is a giveaway to the rich and powerful. Here are the winners:
- Corporations will enjoy permanent tax cuts and have their rate reduced from 35 percent to 20 percent. Worldwide income will no longer be taxed, only their income in the U.S.
- The top 1 percent of Americans are the big winners, who would experience a 7.5 percent after tax income gain in 2018—compared to 2.5 percent for everyone else—and a 4.5 percent increase by 2027, when most people would have gains below 1 percent.
- The GOP plan would eliminate the alternative minimum tax, which was meant to prevent the wealthy from using loopholes to avoid paying taxes.
- Trump and his family will personally benefit, with the elimination or reduction of the estate tax, which only affects 0.2 percent of the population, and tax breaks for ”pass-through” entities, companies such as the Trump organization that fall under the individual tax code rather than the corporate tax code.
Meanwhile, the losers are many:
- People making less than $75,000 per year will ultimately pay more in taxes, while people earning over $100,000 will get a tax cut. In fact, half of Americans will end up paying more to the IRS.
- Some homeowners will lose out, with the cap on mortgage deductions reduced from $1 million to $500,000, and the deduction for state and local taxes property capped at $10,000. The House version would eliminate state and local tax deductions, which would slam high-tax states such as California, New York and New Jersey.
- Single parents, particularly women and their families, will suffer with the loss of personal and dependent exemptions, and the expiration of child tax credits.
- Corporations will have a financial incentive to move their operations offshore, increasing the trade deficit and putting more people out of work
- In a move to undermine the Affordable Care Act, the Republicans would gut the individual mandate requiring Americans to have health insurance, upending insurance markets in red states and leaving 13 million people uninsured, potentially killing as many as 10,000 people a year.
- Public schools and higher education would suffer. States would find it harder to fund education, crushing public school budgets and putting hundreds if not thousands of teachers out of work in each state. Graduate education would be out of reach for those without means, as grad students who don’t pay tuition because they teach or do research will have to pay income tax on the free tuition. This measure would have a disproportionate impact on people of color and would only make academia whiter. People with college debt will no longer be able to deduct interest on their student loans, and say goodbye to student loan forgiveness for those who enter public interest jobs.
Then there are the parts of this proposal that make you shake your head. For example, the Republicans would give private plane owners a break, and also open the Arctic Wildlife Refuge to oil and natural gas drilling.
There are the giveaways to the Christian Right, such as using college savings plans for private and religious secondary schools and home schooling. The tax plan would kill the Johnson Amendment, which bans tax-exempt organizations such as churches from engaging in partisan politics.
All of this will mean $1.437 trillion added to the deficit over 10 years, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation.
Lawmakers rushed through this tax scam without debate, without a hearing, without knowing what was in the bill, in an attempt to hide the crimes committed. Last-minute changes were scribbled in illegible handwriting, and Senate Democrats, unable to see the final bill, had to rely on a lobbyist for the list of amendments.
“I went through the entire bill. I’m not going to say I read every single letter on every single page because 470 pages, in its last hour — I did not read 470 pages,” Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) who is a member of the finance committee, told Jake Tapper on CNN’s State of the Union. Scott said he read and discussed “every aspect of the bill” before it passed.
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) said the tax plan is designed to reorder American society, “creating a hereditary aristocracy in the United States and really taking our country and leading it down a path where we will one day see a very tiny group of very, very, very rich elite people in an ocean of desperate people just trying to hang on and make it every single day.”
How can they do this, you ask? Because this is what they are paid to do in a literal sense. This is all about unbridled, unregulated capitalism and America ruled by a handful of wealthy thieves. Greedy GOP donors paid for this, paid their lapdogs in Congress and the White House to get this done. And they cannot hide their disdain for ordinary working people or contain their glee over the harm this sadistic restructuring of the world’s largest economy would inflict.
“I think not having the estate tax recognizes the people that are investing, as opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies,” Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) told the Des Moines Register.
Sen. Orrin Hatch, who supports his party’s tax giveaway to the rich, has problems with funding the CHIP childhood healthcare program, because “we don’t have money any more.”
“I have a rough time wanting to spend billions and billions and trillions of dollars to help people who won’t help themselves – won’t lift a finger – and expect the federal government to do everything,” Hatch said. “Unfortunately the liberal philosophy has created millions of people that way, who believe everything they ever are or hope to be depends upon the federal government rather than the opportunities that this great country grants them. And I’ve got to say, I think it’s pretty hard to argue against these comments.”
Next on the list for Republicans, as Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) revealed, is cutting Social Security and Medicare.
But this is not over.
The House and the Senate versions of the bill must be reconciled, and each chamber must vote again. Hopefully, the more people learn about it, the more they will protest and demand it never sees the light of day. This is not tax reform. This is plunder, the pillaging of working families and low income people.
Follow David A. Love on Twitter at @davidalove.