The GOP’s tax “reform” bill has now been unveiled. Reform it isn’t.
I guess all sentient beings already knew what was coming…but Krugman’s accurate prediction distills its awfulness.
Republicans in Congress know perfectly well that Trump is utterly unfit for office and has been abusing his position for personal gain…
If they nonetheless circle the wagons around Trump… there will be one main reason: Trump offers their big opportunity to cut taxes for the very wealthy. Indeed, the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center estimates that almost 80 percent of the Trump tax cut would go to people with incomes over $1 million; these people would get an average cut of around $230,000 a year.
Now that Ryan and crew have unveiled the plan’s specifics, there is something for everyone to hate. According to Americans for Tax Fairness, the plan jeopardizes Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and public education; it repeals the Alternative Minimum Tax (which insures that rich people with write-offs pay at least something), slashes corporate taxes and vastly increases the deficit (whatever happened to those GOP “deficit hawks”?)
Talking Points Memo zeroed in on what it identified as the five most controversial provisions; although I agree their chosen provisions are horrible, there are arguably others that are even worse. (I’m particularly incensed by the utterly insane attack on environmentally-friendly provisions; the bill eliminates tax credits for electric vehicles, and raises taxes on clean energy.)
TPM points out that changes to the treatment of mortgage interest and property taxes will have a negative effect on the value–and sales price–of homes. Those of us who factored in these deductions when we bought a home will be selling them to people who won’t get those deductions–and won’t be willing to pay as much.
The bill eliminates a deduction for medical bills that currently only benefits very sick people with high medical costs. It will hit senior citizens and the critically ill, giving new meaning to “kick ’em when they’re down.” It will also eliminate deductions for contributions to certain medical savings accounts, and the tax credit for companies that make drugs that treat extremely rare diseases. (Without that tax credit, even fewer pharmaceutical companies will bother…)
The enormous amount of student loan debt has been identified as a major drag on the economy, so the “reform” bill makes it worse, eliminating the deductibility of interest on those loans.
We will no longer be able to take a deduction for state and local income taxes. I’ll just leave that one here for you to ponder.
And in the “fine print,” our happy theocrats buried repeal of the “Johnson Amendment”—the 50-year-old policy that churches lose their tax exempt status if they endorse candidates or engage in partisan politicking from the pulpit.
Repealing the Johnson Amendment isn’t the only culture war provision hidden in the dry language of tax policy. Welcome to “Fetal Personhood.”
Congressional Republicans are using their new tax plan for more than tax breaks for corporations and the rich. Their plan gives fetuses federal benefits in an apparent attempt to codify the view that life begins at fertilization—and to take another swipe at legal abortion.
Let me go on record as favoring a first-trimester abortion for this bill, which was conceived through incestuous relations between America’s plutocrats and their legislative prostitutes.