Friday, November 17, 2017

McSally’s tweets and more - two answers to why more Republicans aren’t opposing the GOP tax plan

UPDATE - FLASH - BREAKING - READ NOW!!! The Arizona Daily Star’s columnist Tim Steller’s reports in his Friday Notebook how CD2 Rep., and now likely Senate candidate, Martha McSally pivots to pro-Trump position.

For some time, I’ve suspected that Rep. Martha McSally is angling for an endorsement from President Trump as she considers jumping into the U.S. Senate race — maybe even as a condition for running.

That would give her a big advantage over the top GOP candidate in the race now, Kelli Ward, who is a devoted fan of the president and was endorsed by former Trump strategist Steve Bannon.

I can’t say I’ve confirmed this is what McSally is doing, but on Thursday, she offered one more piece of evidence for the theory. McSally’s Twitter account put out a picture of her with Trump, each with an arm around the other, each giving a thumbs up.

Steller reports on McSally’s tweets:

McSally’s text said: “Great meeting with President @realDonaldTrump this a.m. to discuss our tax cuts that will bring relief to hard-working American families!”

This was the fourth tweet naming the president that McSally has posted since Nov. 8; her entire Twitter history shows only one Tweet naming Trump before that.

On Nov. 8, a day I think we may look back on as the day McSally actually began running for Senate, she posted a picture of herself with the president’s older daughter. The text of the tweet said, “Discussing our plan to cut taxes, create jobs & deliver relief to American families w/@IvankaTrump. Let’s get it to @realDonaldTrump’s desk.

“Relief to American Families”? McSally is really slinging some bullshit at her constituents. The proposed tax cuts do no such thing. Does she really believe her own BS? Or is she now a willing actor in the Koch brothers’ circus? Either way, her tweets offer an answer to the following question.

Why Isn’t There More Republican Opposition to the G.O.P. Tax Plan?. That’s the question posed by John Cassidy in The New Yorker. He observes that The Republican Party appears to be staking its future on a tax overhaul that represents the antithesis of the populist movement that helped elect Donald Trump.

Why indeed. Cassidy offers one answer.

On Wednesday night, Reuters held a panel discussion at its Times Square headquarters about the Republican tax plan. It turned out to be one-sided. None of the three economists up on the dais had anything positive to say about the bills being considered on Capitol Hill. Neither did the fourth panel member, Mark Cuban, the Texas entrepreneur who has said he is considering running for President in 2020 as a Republican.

Alan Blinder, the former vice-chairman of the Federal Reserve board, put up some charts showing that there isn’t much of a correlation between economic growth and low tax rates. On the contrary, growth in the U.S. has been strong at times when taxes have been high, such as in the nineteen-fifties, when marginal tax rates reached ninety per cent, and in the nineteen-nineties, when Bill Clinton raised taxes on high earners.

The second economist on the panel, Mark Zandi, the chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, was even more scathing about the Republican plan. According to his economic model, he said, the tax cuts that the G.O.P is proposing would have virtually no impact on G.D.P. growth over the next ten years, but would widen the budget deficit substantially and increase the debt-to-G.D.P. ratio by about six percentage points. Raising the question of why anybody would want to adopt such a plan, he said, “I don’t get it.”

The third economist, Dambisa Moyo, is an author and a public speaker who sits on the boards of three big companies—Chevron, Barclays, and Barrick Gold—all of which stand to benefit from the Republican proposal to cut the corporate tax rate from thirty-five per cent to twenty per cent. But, far from praising the G.O.P. plan, Moyo pointed out that the last time the corporate rate was reduced, in the nineteen-eighties, corporations used their tax savings to increase dividend payouts to shareholders rather than to invest in plant and capital equipment, or to raise wages.

Cuban was the other person on the panel. Was he any more positive on the tax plan? No. He described the effort to cut corporate taxes as a distraction from the real challenge facing businesses: the ongoing digital revolution. “Competition drives what I do in my businesses a whole lot more than tax rates,” Cuban said. “Amazon is going to affect a whole lot more companies and futures, as will Microsoft and Facebook and Google and other big companies, a lot more than a marginal tax rate.” Cuban also pointed out that if the goal of tax policy is to put more money into the pockets of ordinary Americans—which is what the Republicans and the White House claim—it would be more effective to cut payroll taxes, which everybody pays.

To provide a bit of variety, I sort of wished the organizers had invited someone from the Freedom Caucus or the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page to defend the G.O.P. plan. But the plain truth is that the panelists were all correct. The Republican tax plan is based on false premises; it won’t give the economy much of a boost; it will raise the deficit; it will primarily benefit corporate shareholders and C.E.O.s. And, as Cuban said, it is a distraction from the great policy question of the day, which is how to insure at least a modicum of shared prosperity in an economy being roiled by technological change, global competition, and demographic transformation.

[Then] On Thursday afternoon, the House of Representatives passed its version of the G.O.P. tax plan, with only thirteen Republicans voting against it. The political action now moves to the Senate, where Republican leaders are hoping to push through their version of the tax plan immediately after Thanksgiving. So far, only a single Republican, Wisconsin’s Ron Johnson, has come out against the current version of the Senate bill. But the bigger story is that there should be broad G.O.P. opposition to this tax plan—and there isn’t. After all, this is a political party that, at the Presidential level and in many localities, has recently undergone a hostile takeover by a populist insurgency. A year after the election, how can it be staking its future on a tax plan that represents the antithesis of populism?

Here, once again, it must be noted that, for all his rhetoric, Donald Trump is a sham populist. Ignoring the pleas of his former adviser Steve Bannon, who advocated a tax plan that did more for his core supporters, Trump is championing a set of proposals that only a corporate C.E.O., a deluded conservative economist, or a self-serving plutocrat could love. If Trump wanted to help out the working stiff, why didn’t he take Cuban’s advice and call for a cut in the payroll tax? To pay for the reduction, he could also have proposed abolishing, or substantially raising, the payroll tax’s upper-income threshold, which enables someone who earns a million dollars a year to escape the tax on about seven-eighths of his income. Such a policy package could have boosted take-home pay, financed itself, and also helped to reduce income inequality.

But in going down this route, of course, Trump would have had to take on Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, and other Republicans on Capitol Hill. Beholden to ultra-conservative individual donors like the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson, but also to large corporations, which have traditionally financed the party, the current G.O.P. leaders will fight to the last for corporate and upper-income tax cuts, which eventually will have to be paid for by cuts in programs that primarily benefit the middle class and the poor.

Well, that’s one answer. In other words, Washington is owned by plutocrats and people like Trump will reap millions or even billions of dollars from the GOPlins’ tax plan. Given the choice between doing what is right by the middle class and doing what benefits the wealthy, the GOP will always follow the orders of their fiscal masters.

Fellow New Yorker, writer and satirist Andy Borowitz has another answer in Trump Voters Celebrate Massive Tax Cut for Everyone But Them.

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Jubilant Trump voters on Thursday celebrated the prospect of a gigantic tax cut that will benefit everyone but them.

Across the country, Trump supporters were overjoyed that, after months of gridlock and wrangling, the man they voted for was about to make Americans other than them wildly richer.

“President Trump has taken a lot of hits from the fake-news media, but he stood his ground,” Carol Foyler, a Trump voter in Ohio, said. “Today he honored his pledge to the American people, except for me and anybody I know.”

Harland Dorrinson, a Trump supporter from Kentucky, agreed. “When I cast my vote last November, I said to myself, ‘I sure hope this means that people with a thousand times more money than I have get even more money,’ ” he said. “Promise kept.”

Tracy Klugian, a Trump voter from Minnesota, said that tax cuts for everyone but him are an important step toward making America great again. “Look at the stock market—it’s been going through the roof,” Klugian, who has no money in the stock market, said.

But some Trump supporters, like Calvin Denoit, of Texas, were more muted. “Tax cuts that completely exclude me and my family are a good start,” he said. “But, until President Trump eliminates all environmental and safety regulations for corporations that I have zero stake in, I won’t be satisfied.”

Scriber’s usually unreliable sources amplified this reasoning. They report on additional interviews with middle-class Arizonans who voted for Trump. Arizona voters are more supportive of Trump than the general population. That sample of Arizonans celebrate the fact that they will end up with less income and fewer benefits under the GOP tax plan. “If that’s what it takes to Make America Great Again,” said Dervin Olphammer, “I stand ready to do my part. I told my wife to start saving our nickels and dimes to pay our taxes. And not get sick.”

No comments:

Post a Comment