Watch the video!!
Saturday, April 29, 2017
This is a new show on Comedy Central, it is very good. Click the link and watch it.
This is a new show on Comedy Central, it is very good. Click the link and watch it.
Friday, April 28, 2017
What do you do if you’re a historically unpopular new president, with a record low approval rating by 14 points, facing investigations into the way Russia helped you get elected, with the media judging your first 100 days in office as the weakest of any modern president?
Why, you announce a tax cut!
And in your self-absorbed way, you announce a tax cut that will hugely benefit yourself. Imagine those millions saved! You feel better already!
I’m deeply skeptical that President Trump will manage to get a tax reform package passed into law, and that’s just as well. Trump’s new tax “plan” (more like an extremely vague plan for a plan) is an irresponsible, shameless, budget-busting gift to zillionaires like himself.
This isn’t about “jobs,” as the White House claims. If it were, it might cut employment taxes, which genuinely do discourage hiring. Rather, it’s about huge payouts to the wealthiest Americans — and deficits be damned! If Republicans embrace this “plan” after all their hand-wringing about deficits and debt, we should build a Grand Monument to Hypocrisy in their honor.Continue reading the main story
Trump’s tax “plan” is a betrayal of his voters. He talks of helping ordinary Americans even as he enriches tycoons like himself.
For example, it’s great that the tax plan promises help with child care costs, a huge burden for low-income families, especially single moms. But Trump doesn’t explain what form his help will take.
Maybe he will eventually provide details, but in his campaign tax plan (which over all seems similar to the latest), fewer than 10 percent of low-income households with children would get anything at all, according to a study by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center in February. It added that under the campaign plan, families earning between $10,000 and $30,000 a year would receive an average child care benefit of just $10.
In fairness, Trump’s proposal does include some sensible elements. Raising the standard deduction is smart and would simplify everything, reducing cheating and the need for record-keeping because millions of filers would no longer itemize deductions.
But the heart of Trump’s “plan” is to lower taxes for corporations and the affluent. It would eliminate the alternative minimum tax, without which Trump would have paid less than 4 percent in taxes for 2005; with it, he paid 25 percent.
Conservatives emphasize that the official top corporate tax rate in the U.S. is too high, and they have a point. The top rate for American corporations — almost 39 percent, including a 35 percent federal rate and a bit more for the average state rate — is among the highest in the world, according to the Tax Foundation.
Yet that’s deeply misleading, because most companies don’t pay that rate. The Government Accountability Office found that two-thirds of active corporations paid no federal tax. Even large, profitable corporations paid an average federal rate of only 14 percent — and Boeing, Verizon, General Electric and Priceline paid no federal income tax over a five-year period, according to Citizens for Tax Justice.
There’ve been many studies showing that the U.S. effective marginal rate for corporations is in the same ballpark as in other industrialized countries (some say it’s a bit lower, others a bit higher).
So, sure, let’s lower the official corporate tax rate while reducing loopholes, but don’t pretend this will create a ton of new jobs.
Where the tax plan would have a big impact is in empowering some very wealthy people, because of another bit of chicanery in the proposal: Trump apparently would allow some business owners to dodge personal income tax by paying at the much lower corporate rate. In other words, tycoons would try to structure their incomes to pay not at a 39.6 percent top personal rate but at a 15 percent corporate rate.
This isn’t tax policy; it’s a heist.
Then there’s the elimination of the estate tax. The White House talks solemnly about protecting family farms and other businesses, but give us a break! The estate tax now affects only couples worth more than $11 million. About one-fifth of 1 percent of Americans are affected — but the estate tax does limit the rise of inequality and assures a hint of fairness, since much of the wealth in rich estates has never been taxed at all.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says Trump’s tax “plan” would be paid for partly “with growth” — which means that he has no idea how to pay for it. The Tax Policy Center examined Trump’s campaign tax plan and found it would cause the federal debt to rise by at least $7 trillion in the first decade, and more than $20 trillion by 2036 — slowing growth, not raising it. To put the latter number in perspective, that’s additional borrowing of about $160,000 per American household.
Effectively, we’d borrow from China or other countries to finance huge tax breaks for Trump and his minions. And this is populism?
UNDER OBAMA: CEO's insist FIX THE DEBT: Same CRO's under Pres Trump: FORGET DEBT, Give US RICH GUYS TAX CUTS!!
These CEOs Wanted To ‘Fix The Debt’ Until Trump Proposed A Massive Corporate Tax Cut
Apparently, more debt isn’t so bad when it comes with a tax cut.
Fix the Debt exists for one reason: to argue for less U.S. government debt. It is an organization explicitly founded on the idea that lots of government debt is bad, there is already too much of it, and more is worse.
To help push the economically dubious idea that debt is going to cripple the U.S. government, Fix the Debt coats its core mission in the usual content-free D.C. catchphrases ― “bipartisan plan,” “common belief,” “long-term challenges,” “people all across America.” The group also enlists a platoon of former politicians to sit sternly on panels and say that the only way forward is tax reform along with cuts to Social Security and Medicare. There’s also a Fix the Debt CEO Fiscal Leadership Council, which is a 22-person steering committee made up of 22 men.
Surely now that there is a businessman in the White House and his two top economic advisers, both ex-Goldman Sachs executives, have rolled out a rudimentary tax plan that slashes taxes for corporations, heirs and heiresses, investors, and rich people ― while increasing the national debt by somewhere between $3 trillion and $7 trillion and making no serious attempt to offset the cost elsewhere ― these CEOs are issuing outraged statements, right?
Haha, of course not.
HuffPost asked every single member of Fix the Debt’s CEO council for a response to the president’s tax outline, and as of press time, not a single one of the executives denounced it.
Why won’t executives who want less government debt condemn a proposal that dramatically increases government debt?
Most of the executives on Fix the Debt’s CEO council either declined to comment or did not respond to HuffPost’s requests. But the executives who were willing to go on the record are pretty clear-cut about what is going on: It’s a corporate tax cut, so they think it’s good.
For instance, a Deere & Company spokesman said on behalf of CEO Samuel Allen that the company “supports efforts to improve the corporate tax code to make U.S. business and investment more competitive in today’s global marketplace.” That’s a not-even-well-disguised way of saying “it’s a tax cut, so it’s good.”
Trump’s plan is not real tax reform, and anyone who says it is is trying to sell you a tax cut. Like, for instance, the CEO of General Electric, Jeff Immelt. A GE spokesman referred HuffPost to a comment from the American Made Coalition, an industry group the company belongs to, that lauds the White House for its “commitment to move forward on comprehensive tax reform.”
Some of the responses were even more direct. The spokesman for Airlines for America, the main airline industry group that is headed by former Citigroup executive and Bush administration official Nicholas Calio, said, “Generally speaking, we support reducing the corporate tax rate and implementing additional reforms needed to simplify the tax system.”
So what’s the point of Fix the Debt’s CEO council if its members won’t criticize a tax plan that increases the national debt? They don’t seem to care enough about national debt to say anything critical when what’s at stake is a tax cut for themselves, their companies and their descendants. That, at least, is instructive silence.
For years, progressives’ critique of the fiscal hawk movement ― which Fix the Debt’s founders Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson as well as funder Pete Peterson sit at the center of ― has centered on the argument that all this worrying about the debt is a stalking horse to cut social programs and taxes for the rich.
While Fix the Debt put out a tepid statement about Trump’s tax plan, calling for responsible legislation, and a related group called the Committee For A Responsible Federal Budget was harsher, the refusal of Fix the Debt’s CEO council members to denounce Trump’s tax outline in any way is proving the group’s critics right.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story stated Trump’s tax plan would increase the national debt by $3 billion to $7 billion. The correct figure is $3 trillion to $7 trillion.