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GOP Passes Tax Scam/Heist

“How Do You Spell Tax Relief for Donald, Big Corporations, and the Top 1% ‘Gazillionaires?’”— “GOP Congress” December 20, 2017

Let’s paraphrase the famous Rolaids commercial.

"How do you spell corrupt sellouts?”—“GOP CONGRESS.”

“How do you spell a group that suddenly could care less about a super-budget-busting bill?” --“GOP CONGRESS.”

“How do you spell ‘party and Demagogue Donald over country,’ and going against the overwhelming opinion of the American people?’”—“GOP CONGRESS.”

“How do you spell corporations and 1% ‘gazillionaires’ over the middle class?’”—"GOP CONGRESS.”

“How do you spell destroying House and Senate normal legislative process?”—"GOP CONGRESS.”

“How do you spell the ‘facts don’t matter’ caucus, just reactionary ideology?’”—"GOP CONGRESS.”

December 20, 2017. On this economically “infamous” date, one the GOP has been pining for since over three decades ago, the Republican House and Senate congressional majorities passed on a mainly party line vote a sweeping rewrite of the tax laws. The House passed it 224-201, with only 12 GOPers in the “Nay” column. The Senate passed it 51-48 with not one GOPer in opposition. No Democrats joined “Team Red” in either chamber (CNN, 12/20/17, Wagner & Ries, CNN Mattingly, et al, 12/20/17). According to the non-partisan Joint Committee on Taxation, the passage of this act would increase deficits by $1.46 trillion over a decade. The GOP, a party which repeatedly claims it stands for cutting deficits and balancing budgets, could care less. GOPers claim that this tax cut scam will pay for itself. The GOPers are pushing fake “alternative facts.” Republicans can, therefore, claim membership in the “facts don’t matter caucus.” The overwhelming majority of economists, the Joint Committee on Taxation, and the Tax Foundation strongly refute these GOP claims (See Koenig, 12/03/17, nbcnews.com). GOPers apparently believe that running deficits only counts when Democrats control Congress.

This ‘y uu ge” bill affecting our entire economy and millions of Americans was pushed through the “Red” House and Senate within a six- week period with no real committee hearings. When Democrats passed Obamacare in 2010, they had numerous committee meetings with many witnesses and debated it for over a year. The Trump tax scam bill also had just one public conference committee meeting. A conference committee is supposed to iron out House and Senate differences to create the final bill (CQ Guide to Government). That conference meeting meant nothing. It rubber-stamped several private GOP meetings which really settled all the issues.

Democrats were effectively shut out of the legislative process in the House and the Senate. Senate Dems were not allowed to use their filibuster power under the reconciliation rule passed by the GOP specifically for this bill. Reconciliation is a procedure rarely used. Under reconciliation, the Senate needs only a majority of those Senators present to pass a bill, not 60 to cut off debate. The GOP currently has a 52-48 Senate majority. It made sure to hold these proceedings before AL Dem. Doug Jones’ 12/12/2017 election is certified, probably in early 1/2018. After Jones is certified and sworn in, “Team Red” will have an even more tenuous 51-49 majority. With ailing GOP AZ Senator John McCain not voting, the GOP now has 51 Senators present to 49 Dems. Under this count, it needs only 50 votes to pass the bill (put in passage bit) (cnnmoney.com, Sahadi, 12/15/17, CNN, 12/15/17, Killough, Barrett,& Mattingly). GOPers often talk about deliberative “regular order” in the legislative process. They condemn Democrats for forcing bills through without sufficient deliberation. Give me a break! To call this tax bill one that followed “regular order” is beyond absurd. Why the rush and abandonment of legislative process, how Congress normally acts? Because Donald’s super-rich top 1% GOP base, the Kochs, Mercers, DeVos gang, et al, threatened not to fund GOPers in their House and Senate 2018 campaigns. The GOP extremist Tea Party social conservative base additionally threatened not to show up unless Donald got one legislative victory on the board in 2017. In their book, “failure” to pass a pro-rich tax cut “was not an option.” Most GOP Congressmen and Senators live for tax cuts to help the rich. It is their gospel, their core ideology. Exhibits A&B--House Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) “flim flam” reactionary economic beliefs and those of the far out House Freedom/”Freedumb” Caucus (See Krugman, NY Times).

Again, why didn’t any Democrat vote for this bill? Because this bill, as Democrats have repeatedly argued, constitutes a giveaway, a heist/ scam for Donald, the top 1% super-super rich, and the big corporations. It shafts millions of middle and lower class Americans. The bill is tilted more toward the Senate’s harsher version. It leans heavily toward tax cuts for business owners and corporations. It cuts the corporate tax rate massively and permanently, from 35% to 21% (Wash. Post, 12/19/17, Stein & Paletta). The top tax rate for the wealthiest will go from 39.6% to 37%. Individual tax breaks will expire by the end of 2025, but most corporate ones will be permanent (moneycnn.com, 12/15/17, Sahadi). Presently, there is a personal exemption of $4,050 for yourself, your spouse, and each of your dependents, which lowers your adjusted gross income, and, therefore, your tax burden. The GOP bill eliminates this option. For families having 3 or more children, the elimination of the personal exemption could cancel any tax relief that they might get as a result of other provisions in this bill (cnn.money.com). Taxpayers will no longer be able to fully deduct state and local property taxes plus income and sales taxes. Instead, the legislation allows individuals to deduct up to $10,000 in state and local income and property taxes or state and local property and sales taxes. Homeowners in high-tax states that go to paying for better state services, such as NY, NJ, and CA could, therefore, get hit hard with tax increases. Nationwide, 4.1 million Americans pay more than $10,000 in property taxes, according to ATTOM Data Solutions. Another cherished middle class break that helped power our economy, deducting debt on the mortgage interest, will also be hit. New homebuyers will now only be able to deduct interest on the first $750,000 of mortgage debt on a newly purchased home. In NY City, nearly 64% of mortgages on homes sold in 2017 were over $750,000 and in San Francisco, 58% of home loans exceeded this new cap. This bill could keep people from selling their homes, which could squeeze the already short supply of housing (Vasel, moneycnn.com, 12/17/17).

This tax bill also eliminates the tax deduction for uninsured casualty losses unless a national disaster is declared, which could hurt CA, often stricken with numerous wildfires, floods, and earthquakes (Skelton, LA Times, 12/19/17). And of course, the GOP also attacked a key provision of Obamacare in this final tax bill, a “bonus” for that party. This bill repeals the individual mandate that requires people to buy health insurance. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), repealing this mandate will cause 13 million more Americans to lose health insurance (Newmyer, Wash. Post, 11/17/17).

Demagogue Donald and his family, despite telling everyone he would be hit hard by this bill, will get a windfall. He and his son-in-law Jared Kushner have numerous real estate partnerships that can now be taxed as “pass through income.” Under the new law, “pass through” income groups will be taxed as low as 29.6%, instead of the present 39.6% rate. And at the last minute, a provision nicknamed the “Corker kickback,” not in either of the original bills, was inserted. Bob Corker (R-TN), the only GOP Senator to vote “NO” when the Senate bill first came to a floor vote, complained about the bill’s awful deficit. After this new provision was inserted into the final bill, giving “pass throughs” even more of a break, Corker suddenly flipped to a “Yes,” ignoring the deficit. Corker, a millionaire real estate developer, would, under this provision, save at least $1.1 million. Corker’s “outrage” claiming he didn’t know about this provision was pathetic (See shareholderblue.com, Chapman, 12/18/17). Corker now owns this bill along with his fellow corrupt GOPers, and retires from the Senate with a tarnished legacy. Corker was, IMHO bought off. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), who demanded big “pass through” tax breaks for his million-dollar company, was also bought off. At least 14 other wealthy GOP Senators will make money on this 1% tax cut scam, including Steve Daines (R-MT) who was also obsessed with “pass through” tax cuts. Even AL’s retiring GOP Luther Strange gets himself a “golden parachute,” or nice benefits from this tax scam/heist (KOS, AKALib, 12/19/17). Remember Strange? Despite Donald’s backing, he lost to wacko Roy Moore in the AL Sen. primary to replace Atty. General Jeff Sessions. Moore, of course, with Donald’s backing, lost to Dem. Doug Jones. But hey, Donald and Strange get to make more money in a tax scam, which takes the sting out of losing.

And who else was bought or sold out on the “Red” side of the aisle? “Moderate” Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). She refused to kill Obamacare outright this past summer. However, when the tax bill put in a provision to allow oil drilling in AK, a matter dear to her heart, she had no trouble voting to repeal the individual mandate or going along with this awful bill. ME’s Susan Collins decided to ignore facts or the intentions of her fellow GOPers. To avoid any future right-wing primary challenges, she suddenly found that any cut in the individual mandate would be repaired by subsidizing Obamacare, something experts stated would not help much. She also bought Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s “ironclad” promises that Medicare cuts would be restored. McConnell can’t be trusted on anything, and the House GOPers will certainly kill any attempts to help Obamacare. Collins ignored demonstrators in her state who were absolutely shocked by her tax cut votes. You get the idea. Collins and her colleagues must give Donald a victory. “It’s party over country.” Shame, Shame!

The public overwhelmingly opposes this tax cut and rightly sees this scam as benefiting the rich. A CNN Poll just released found that since 11/2017, when this bill started being discussed, opposition to it has grown by 10 points. The public opposes this bill 55%- 33% and 2/3 feel this bill will benefit the wealthy more than the middle class, 66%-27%. Donald has a record 35% dumpster approval rating and more than 63% believe Donald’s family will be left better off by this bill. Only 21% of those polled believe they will be better off, while 37% believe they will be worse off (Agiesta, CNN, 12/19/17).

Eight-term GOP Cong. Tom Cole, who represents the “bright Red” OK 4thDistrict in the Norman area, admitted that this bill “just seems wrong,” and that the bill is a “massive giveaway” to the rich to be paid by for by working class Americans. However, Cole, who once chaired the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) doesn’t “pay much attention to fancy tax analyses,” read, facts. Instead he trusts people who are “philosophically aligned with me, and trusts ideological Speaker Ryan (CNBC, sharebluecom, Orr, 12/16/17). He says, “We’ll see if we’re right, and that there’ll be political consequences, either rewards or punishments (shareblue.com).” There sure will be. “How do you spell ‘lemmings’ going off the political cliff blindly following Donald, Ryan, and McConnell?’”—“GOP Congress, the House and, possibly, the Senate.” In 11/2018, Democrats and moderates must come out and vote in droves. They must throw the “Red” majority out of those chambers for catering to the 1% while trashing the middle class.

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