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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

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#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

 LFC, 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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