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Republican Tax "Reform" or Who Gets a Pony & Whose Ox Is Gored


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#421 LFC

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Posted 24 October 2019 - 05:01 PM

Trump handed a big fat tax break to a high dollar supporter and billionaire buddy. It was meant for poor people.

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Billionaire Dan Gilbert has spent the last decade buying up buildings in downtown Detroit, amassing nearly 100 properties and so completely dominating the area, it’s known as Gilbertville. In the last few years, Gilbert, the 57-year-old founder of Quicken Loans and owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, has also grown close to the Trump family.

Quicken gave $750,000 to Trump’s inaugural fund. Gilbert has built a relationship with Ivanka Trump, who appeared at one of his Detroit buildings in 2017 for a panel discussion with him. And, last year, he watched the midterm election returns at the White House with President Donald Trump himself, who has called Gilbert “a great friend.”

Gilbert’s cultivation of the Trump family appears to have paid off: Three swaths of downtown Detroit were selected as opportunity zones under the Trump tax law, extending a valuable tax break to Gilbert’s real estate empire.

Gilbert’s relationship with the White House helped him win his desired tax break, an email obtained by ProPublica suggests. In February 2018, as the selection process was underway, a top Michigan economic development official asked her colleague to call Quicken’s executive vice president for government affairs about opportunity zones.

“They worked with the White House on it and want to be sure we are coordinated,” wrote the official, Christine Roeder, in an email with the subject line “Quicken.”

The exact role of the White House is not clear. But less than two weeks after the email was written, the Trump administration revised its list of census tracts that were eligible for the tax break. New to the list? One of the downtown Detroit tracts dominated by Gilbert that had not previously been included. And the area made the cut even though it did not meet the poverty requirements of the program. The Gilbert opportunity zone is one of a handful around the country that were included despite not meeting the eligibility criteria, according to an analysis by ProPublica.

Several weeks later, the Michigan governor selected all three of the downtown Gilbert tracts for the program.

Gilbert influenced the local selection process, as well, other emails obtained by ProPublica show: Quicken’s top lobbyist was so enmeshed in the process, his name appears on an opportunity zone map made by the city economic development organization, recommending part of downtown be included in the tax break. No other non-city officials are named on the document.

The result has likely already been a boon to Gilbert: Multiplestudies have found that property values in opportunity zones increased because of the tax break. Gilbert has put an estimated $3 billion into buying and renovating properties in Detroit, the vast majority now in opportunity zones.

In addition, even though the law was designed to incentivize new investment, Gilbert has several already-planned developments in the area that could benefit from the tax break, experts said.

The upside for an investor such as Gilbert “could be huge,” said Steve Wamhoff, director of federal tax policy at the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a liberal-leaning think tank. “This seems to be a situation where someone is going to get tax breaks for something they were going to do anyway.”

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#422 LFC

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Posted 28 October 2019 - 04:47 PM

Nice f***-up. Remember that this is the ultimate responsibility of Paul Ryan, Republican "budget wonk." What a f***ing tool.

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CNN’s Brianna Keilar on Monday sat down with a Gold Star widow who says that changes to the tax law made by the Republican Party’s signature 2017 tax cut will force her to sell her house unless real changes are made.

Malia Fry, whose Marine husband was killed in 2006 by an improvised explosive device in Iraq, told Keilar that she now pays nearly ten times as much per child on their life insurance benefit than what she paid before the tax bill passed.

“Normally we paid around $100 to $150 each child,” she said. “And then this last tax season we paid close to $1,000 each child.”

According to Keilar, Fry and other Gold Star widows have been caught up in a provision of the tax law that was supposed to collect taxes on trust funds and inheritances.

“This all stems from what is known as the ‘Widows Tax,'” she said. “I think a lot of Americans realize that Gold Star spouses get a monthly payment to compensate for the loss of your spouse’s income. I think a lot of them don’t realize that if the service member paid into this benefit, it’s cancelled out dollar for dollar. And for a lot of Gold Star families such as yours, this can really create a lot of financial hardship.”

Keilar then asked Fry what would happen if Congress didn’t fix the law to reduce her tax burden.

“I will have to sell my house, the house I bought when he died,” she said. “I will have to sell it and move because I will not be able to afford to stay here.”

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#423 D. C. Sessions

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Posted 28 October 2019 - 05:47 PM

View PostLFC, on 28 October 2019 - 04:47 PM, said:

Nice f***-up. Remember that this is the ultimate responsibility of Paul Ryan, Republican "budget wonk." What a f***ing tool.

It looks almost perfect.
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#424 LFC

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Posted 01 November 2019 - 03:13 PM

More payoff to big business i.e. big donors.

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Sen. Ron Wyden warned the Treasury Department’s plan “provides an opening for corporations to again dodge their taxes.”

President Donald Trump’s Treasury Department on Thursday took the first step toward eliminating remaining regulations designed to prevent corporations from avoiding U.S. taxes by storing profits overseas, a move critics decried as yet another harmful giveaway to big business.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs executive, said in a statement that the 2017 GOP tax law—which disproportionately benefited the rich—rendered Obama-era rules against offshore tax avoidance “obsolete” by significantly reducing the corporate tax rate.

Quote

“The corporations that got a massive taxpayer handout are getting another gift from Donald Trump.”
—Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, disagreed with Mnuchin’s assessment, warning in a statement that the Treasury Department’s plan “only provides an opening for corporations to again dodge their taxes.”

“The corporations that got a massive taxpayer handout are getting another gift from Donald Trump,” said Wyden. “The Obama administration had essentially shut down inversion—transactions whose only purpose is to help big multinational corporations move overseas to avoid paying taxes.”

According to Bloomberg, the Treasury Department’s proposal, detailed in a policy guidance (pdf) released Thursday, “could make it easier for firms to use accounting tactics to minimize their U.S. earnings and inflate their foreign profits, which are frequently taxed at rates lower than the current 21 percent domestic corporate levy.”

“The existing regulations were aimed at stopping American companies from moving their headquarters to a lower-tax country, a process known as a corporate inversion,” noted Bloomberg.

Contrary to Mnuchin’s claim that the GOP’s 2017 tax law eliminated incentives for corporations to shift profits overseas, advocacy groups and Democratic lawmakers have argued the law made it easier for businesses to avoid U.S. taxes.

“The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) will allow companies to avoid taxes on $235 billion in profits each year going forward,” a coalition of more than 50 progressive organizations led by Americans for Tax Fairness wrote in a letter (pdf) to Congress last May.

“Moreover, the law created new incentives for multinational corporations to move their real operations offshore,” the groups said. “The law guarantees that U.S. multinational corporations will pay at most one-half the domestic tax rate on their offshore earnings, with many companies paying little or nothing in taxes on these earnings.”

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#425 Traveler

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Posted 04 November 2019 - 08:19 AM

Isn't this sort of interpretation supposed to be established by Congress?
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#426 D. C. Sessions

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Posted 04 November 2019 - 02:01 PM

View PostTraveler, on 04 November 2019 - 08:19 AM, said:

Isn't this sort of interpretation supposed to be established by Congress?

Only if the Administration is Democratic and the Congress is Republican.
The way a lot of catastrophes happen is that X doesn't occur because there are safeguards in place, therefore people assume X isn't a worry and they remove the safeguards. Then X happens.
— Nate Silver
"Robots aren't the problem. Capitalism is." -- Last words of Stephen Hawking.
These days, "libertarian" is just a euphemism for a Nazi who's afraid to commit.
"If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention." -- Heather Heyer
"I'd rather have my child, but by golly, if I gotta give her up, we're gonna make it count." -- Her mother
"Your purpose, then, plainly stated, is that you will destroy the Government, unless you be allowed to construe and enforce the Constitution as you please, on all points in dispute between you and us. You will rule or ruin in all events." -- some RINO

#427 LFC

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Posted 07 November 2019 - 03:42 PM

I'm going to call this a tax on seniors.

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A proposal submitted last month by the "Made in America" Outdoor Recreation Advisory Committee to the U.S. Interior Department would eliminate discounts for seniors during the peak summer camping season. Seniors would have to pay full price to access National Park Service campgrounds like California's Yosemite National Park or Big Bend in Texas.

The idea has drawn fire from advocates for seniors, who say access to national parks for older Americans has been constrained under the Trump administration. In 2017, the Interior Department increased the cost of a lifetime senior pass from $10 to $80. It was the first price hike for senior passes since 1994.

"What's most troubling with this proposal is that seniors have already paid for this senior pass and they would have to pay twice during the blackout period," said Bill Sweeney, senior vice president of government affairs at AARP. "We think that if someone paid they should get what they paid for and be able to enjoy a national park just as much as anyone else."

After forming in 2017, the recreation advisory panel unnerved conservation advocates after it included concessions-industry executives among its lineup, including representatives from Aramark Leisure and Delaware North. Conservation experts are concerned that business interests are seeking to privatize public services just as the Trump administration is proposing to slash the National Park Service's budget by about $495 million to about $3.5 billion next year.


Oh, yeah. They also want to turn our National Parks into privately run stores.

Quote

The federal agency already introduced electric bikes in federal parks in August. But the proposal also wants to evaluate other services like food trucks, broadband internet service and overnight tent rentals in campsites. In a comment to the Los Angeles Times, Derrick Crandall, vice chairman of the committee and a counselor with the National Park Hospitality Association, also wants camp goers to opt in for services like Amazon deliveries to their campsites:

"Our recommendations would allow people to opt for additional costs if they want, for example, Amazon deliveries at a particular campsite," Crandall told the LA Times. "We want to let Americans make their own decisions in the marketplace."

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#428 pnwguy

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Posted 08 November 2019 - 11:34 AM

View PostLFC, on 07 November 2019 - 03:42 PM, said:

I'm going to call this a tax on seniors.
Oh, yeah. They also want to turn our National Parks into privately run stores.
I'm a year and 3 months away from being able to buy my lifetime pass (I got the annual this year), and I'm hoping Dumpster doesn't F this up before I hit 62.

If you want to see things about the history of the National Parks and their preservation to retard rampant commercial exploitation, go watch the excellent Ken Burns documentary.
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#429 LFC

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Posted 07 December 2019 - 03:10 PM

The impact of the Republican tax cuts is pretty big.

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U.S. tax revenue as a proportion of GDP dropped the most out of any country in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in 2018, according to a report released Thursday.

That’s largely due to the $1.5 trillion GOP tax cut President Donald Trump signed into law in 2017.

The tax cuts dramatically altered the U.S. tax landscape for the first time in decades by permanently slashing the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%, temporarily cutting individual tax rates and limiting state and local tax deductions, among other changes.

From 2017 to 2018, the U.S. tax-to-GDP ratio fell from 26.8% to 24.3%, the OECD found, while corporate tax revenues fell by .7% and personal income tax revenues dropped by .5%.

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" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#430 Practical Girl

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Posted 07 December 2019 - 03:29 PM

The fresh hell that may be in store for 2020 concerns me most. Either Trump thinks he's bulletproof or he simply becomes punitive, for spite and fun. This extends to anything that matters, including health care. Better place to discuss in-depth, but what happens if he really makes preexisting conditions retroactive. I can't think of a bigger tax on Americans.
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#431 D. C. Sessions

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Posted 07 December 2019 - 03:32 PM

Remember, Democrats are the party of wanton borrowing.
The way a lot of catastrophes happen is that X doesn't occur because there are safeguards in place, therefore people assume X isn't a worry and they remove the safeguards. Then X happens.
— Nate Silver
"Robots aren't the problem. Capitalism is." -- Last words of Stephen Hawking.
These days, "libertarian" is just a euphemism for a Nazi who's afraid to commit.
"If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention." -- Heather Heyer
"I'd rather have my child, but by golly, if I gotta give her up, we're gonna make it count." -- Her mother
"Your purpose, then, plainly stated, is that you will destroy the Government, unless you be allowed to construe and enforce the Constitution as you please, on all points in dispute between you and us. You will rule or ruin in all events." -- some RINO

#432 andydp

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Posted 07 December 2019 - 03:37 PM

View PostD. C. Sessions, on 07 December 2019 - 03:32 PM, said:

Remember, Democrats are the party of wanton borrowing.

I thought it was "tax and spend". Just like those Socialists to make sure they have the money to provide the services.
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If you've got public schools paid for by taxpayers, you're in a socialist nation. If you have public roads paid for by taxpayers, socialist nation. If you've got public defense (police, fire, military, coast guard) paid for by tax dollars, socialist nation. If you're in a nation that has nationalized or localized delivery of services that are not paid for by users alone, you're in a socialist nation- the only question is how socialist. As I see it, we pay the military pay to protect the shipping lanes for our fuel needs which makes us very socialist. In a capitalist nation, the people supplying the oil would pay for their own defense force.

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#433 AnBr

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Posted 07 December 2019 - 09:42 PM

View Postandydp, on 07 December 2019 - 03:37 PM, said:

I thought it was "tax and spend". Just like those Socialists to make sure they have the money to provide the services.

Yep. It is the Repugs that are the party of borrow and spend like drunken sailors.
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#434 LFC

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Posted 16 December 2019 - 04:08 PM

Big Business's purchase of the GOP is paying off handsomely.

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More than 90 large, profitable corporations on the Fortune 500 list effectively did not pay a penny in federal income taxes in 2018, according to a new report published Monday by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

“The key takeaway from this study is that the 2017 tax law is working out well for profitable corporations.”

“The 379 profitable corporations identified in this study paid an effective federal income tax rate of 11.3 percent on their 2018 income, slightly more than half the statutory 21 percent tax,” ITEP said. “The 11.3 percent effective tax rate found in this study is likely the lowest effective tax rate in the last 40 years.”
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ITEP found that 91 of the 379 companies analyzed took advantage of loopholes to effectively not pay federal income taxes in 2018 despite making a combined profit of $101 billion. That list of companies includes prominent corporate giants such as Amazon, Halliburton, Chevron, Starbucks, and Delta Air Lines.

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#435 LFC

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Posted 22 December 2019 - 07:37 PM

This year's Nobel Prize winner in economics also says conservative tax cuts for corporations are bullshit.

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By now we are all familiar with the usual economic talking points of right-wing politicians. They tell us, with the utmost confidence, that cutting taxes for the rich will incentivize investment and job creation. The lower the corporate tax rate the more people these benevolent corporations will employ. That, in a nutshell, is the mantra of conservative economics.

Abhijit Banerjee, this year’s winner of the Nobel prize for economics, begs to differ. His work suggests that not only does this strategy intensify economic inequality, it also doesn’t do much to induce economic growth.

As he puts it, “You don’t boost growth by cutting taxes, you do that by giving money to people.” Modest increases to the taxes paid by the wealthiest could fund welfare programs that put more money into the pockets of average folks. They, in turn, return this money into the economy in the form of consumption. It is their spending which increases demand for goods and services and boosts investment, jobs, and overall growth.

Banerjee’s advice flies in the face of right-wing economic policy. Conservatives, in Canada and abroad, are reducing taxes for corporations and wealthy elites in the hopes that they will invest some of the cash they are hoarding.

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#436 LFC

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Posted 23 December 2019 - 06:44 PM

More pieces covering the predictable and predicted near total failure of the Trump-Ryan tax cuts to boost the economy, hiring, and wages. We do, however, have records non-recession / non-war related deficits. Thanks, Republicans!

Quote

This month marks the two-year anniversary of President Trump's major legislative accomplishment: his rewrite of the tax code. As we head into the election year, you can bet that taxes and the economy will be topics of debate. President Trump will, no doubt, want voters to give him credit for his tax law, which he promised would lead to more investment, more jobs, higher wages and faster growth.

But none of those promises have been fulfilled. From a purely economic standpoint, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 has been an enormous flop.

Let's start with jobs. Has the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act created millions of new jobs, as was promised? In a word, no. In the four years prior to the passage of the GOP tax law, the economy added an average of 213,000 jobs each month, according to data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. In the nearly two years since the law passed, average job creation has actually declined by an average of 11,000 per month.

The White House promised that the tax cuts would result in an annual wage increase of $4,000 per household. Again, not even close. In the two years since the law passed, wage growth, after accounting for inflation, rose only slightly, from 1% to just under 1.4% per year for nonsupervisory workers, according to data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. That difference — even if it were fully attributable to the tax cuts — amounts to less than $400 for a full-time worker. So much for your $4,000 raise.

We have been told, over and over again, that tax cuts for the rich are good for the overall economy. However, there's not much solace to be found in gross domestic product either. In the four years before the law passed, real GDP grew by an annual average rate of about 2.4%, according to data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the nearly two years since, the GDP growth rate has inched only slightly higher to an annual average of 2.5%.

These lackluster results should not, in the end, be very surprising. The claim that a huge tax cut for the wealthy and corporations would trickle down to everyone else was based on an outdated and discredited set of ideas for how the economy works. In that old framework, the way to produce a better economy is to get out of the way of job creators and let the free market do the rest. A tax cut for corporations, then, should have reduced the cost of capital and induced them to invest more, which ultimately is supposed to create jobs and push up wages.

But even that very first step never happened. In the last two years, the growth rate of private direct investment has substantially declined. In the four years before the law passed, private direct investment grew by about 3.3% annually, according to data compiled by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. In the two years since the law was enacted, that rate is down to 2.5%.


This piece shows 7 charts of "meh" including this predictable and predicted one.

Posted Image
" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#437 LFC

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Posted 12 March 2020 - 04:01 PM

An author explains how Trump is attempting a replay of a previous big Republican tax break for the rich, this time using COVID-19 as the excuse.

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The Tax Cut Solution
While Trump gave no details, we can anticipate what Trump will propose—and Congressional Republicans will demand because of the payroll tax cut of 2011, which I analyzed extensively at the time.

A suspension of the Social Security wage tax and the Medicare tax is planned, Trump aides speaking on background told White House.

Crumbs for the Working Poor
Here’s my analysis, based on the most detailed wage data for 2018 from an annual federal report on every penny of wages earned by American workers:
  • A full-time worker making the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour would save $93 a month.
  • A worker paid $55,000 a year would save $350 a month. Only one in four workers earns that much or more.
  • Workers at the threshold of the top 5%, those paid $137,200, would each save more than $850 a month.
  • Most of the top 5% are two-income couples. That means many affluent households will save at least $1,700 a month. That’s more than the gross pay of a full-time minimum wage worker, who grosses just $1,220 a month.
Why ‘At Least’ Matters
The phrase “at least” in the previous paragraph is important because of a major difference in which wages are levied by the twin payroll taxes for pensions and medical care for the old and disabled plus widows and orphans.

The Social Security tax rate is 6.2% of wages. But it applies only to the first $137,200 of wages.

The 1.45% Medicare tax applies to all wages. In 2018 there were 8.5 million workers who made more than $140,000. The top 211 workers averaged $95.7 million that year.

If the Medicare tax is suspended, the top 5% of workers will save close to $3 billion a month. Those 211 workers at the very top will each save $115,700 per month.

What Happened Last Time
We’ve seen this game played before.

Barack Obama took office in 2009 as jobs were dying at the rate of 750,000 a month. The Democrats who controlled Congress approved Obama’s Making Work Pay Credit. It was limited to the bottom 97% of workers. It also applied to the disabled and retirees even if they had no wages.

Later research showed the tax credit was a smart move because people promptly spent it, helping increase the demand side of the economy which had collapsed in the Great Recession. Increasing demand stoked economic recovery.

But in 2011, when Republicans took control of Congress, they demanded that all workers benefit. They also cut the disabled and retired from the tax credit.

The switch from Obama’s Making Work Pay tax break to the Republican payroll tax reduction effectively raised taxes on 51 million households by an average of $134 each, the Tax Policy Center estimated at the time.

Highly Paid Workers Benefitted Most
At the same time, couples in well-paid jobs who had been denied Obama’s Make work Pay tax credit saved more than $8,000 over two years.

So, watch closely for the contours of the Trump payroll tax cut so you know just how heavily it tilts to favor the best-off Americans. Keep in mind that cutting payroll taxes won’t do anything for those who lose their jobs because of the coronavirus.

Then ask yourself whether saving the most highly paid American workers nearly $3 billion a month is fair, needed or smart.

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