House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) got nine minutes on Fox yesterday to promote Republican “tax reform” as a “big win for families.” He just forgot to mention that the families who win big are the super rich.
The interview, on Your World, opened with Brady saying he was “thrilled” to have his first interview on the subject with host Neil Cavuto.
“We are flattered as well,” Cavuto responded.
After the lovefest, Brady bragged about “how fair and simple we make this tax code for families.” He called it “simplification coupled with keeping more of what you earn and, of course, because the job growth and paychecks increasing.” He continued, “Look, this is a big win for families... Their paychecks have been stagnant for way too long.”
Cavuto wondered if maybe there wasn’t enough in the bill for the wealthy. “The very rich, Congressman, are going to still be paying at that very high rate, the existing rate of 39.6%,” he said. “Some of them feel that since they pay most of the taxes, that is the very rich, they’re not getting bupkis from this. What do you tell them?”
“Those who are at the 39.6 [top rate] already enjoying a tax relief plus we eliminate the AMT and a number of those provisions that have been damaging,” Brady replied. Perhaps realizing he had just acknowledged that the tax cuts benefit the wealthy, he added, “You’ll see that there’s tax relief at every level.”
Cavuto “questioned” the disproportionate boon to the wealthy by suggesting it’s merely a matter of partisan debate. "[Democrats] still call this sort of a boon to the rich. Were you surprised at that?” was how he put it.
Brady responded in kind: “They’ve been saying it so long I’m not sure they can say anything else.” He asserted, “The Washington Post or one of the media called that claim, gave it four Pinocchio’s. It just isn’t true.”
Really? You have to wonder which fact check that was. This Washington Post analysis is titled, “9 ways Trump’s tax plan is a gift to the rich, including himself.” This one is called, “The Trump tax cuts would be the most insane giveaway to the rich ever.” This more nuanced one, “Winners and losers in the GOP tax plan” counts big corporations and the super rich among the winners and some small business owners, the working poor and charities among the losers.
Cavuto didn’t go into it. He was more concerned with how it all might be paid for.
“It still doesn’t seem clear to me how it is paid for. If someone comes back at you and says, no, no this is going to leave more than a $1.5 trillion hole in future deficits in the next 10 years, you say what?” he asked.
“Growth makes a difference,” Brady answered. “We eliminate dozens and dozens and dozens of provisions in the tax code, and use those dollars to lower the rates for families and for businesses.”
But not Cavuto. He closed with a big stamp of approval for Brady, albeit not for the tax plan: “You were doing this when it wasn’t even cool, Chairman, before Donald Trump was a candidate, before any of these guys got onto it. No one has worked harder for this day. So whether people agree or disagree what you came up with, no one I mean no one on Capitol Hill did the sweat equity you did.”
Watch the snow job below, from the November 2, 2017 Your World.
In reality, the Right Wing has three goals here, and they’re pushing hard to get them done. The first goal is to achieve a massive tax cut for the wealthy, particularly the Ultra Wealthy. They’ll accomplish this by removing the Alternative Minimum Tax and altering the Estate Tax and of course slashing the corporate tax rate since many wealthier people incorporate to reduce their tax bill, among other things. The result there would be a windfall for someone like Trump – on the order of millions of dollars in a single year. Right Wingers are literally salivating that they could pull this idea off. Getting this done would be a massive payback to their donors and, for the wealthier among them, a large gift of cash that would keep giving for decades. And by the way, that idea about corporations returning their offshore work to the USA is nonsense. We learned that the last time it was tried – what actually happens when you give them a way to bring the IGG home is that they pocket the money and buy back a chunk of their public stock, thus sending their stock prices higher and making them untold millions more. There is very little impact in terms of bringing actual jobs back – they have no intention of doing that – at least not unless American workers are willing to work for a lot closer to minimum wage for those jobs. So people shouldn’t be fooled into thinking that a massive job wave would result. (In the same way that people in coal company are hopefully realizing that coal really isn’t coming back, and that they really do need to look at job retraining, etc if they want to be able to continue working.)
The second goal is to punish the Dem states around the country for having the temerity to not vote for the Pence White House, as well as for refusing to keep their heads down and just take their beatings during this Year of The Bully. By removing most of the deductions and just going with a mildly expanded single deduction, the Pence White House would immediately be able to punch middle class taxpayers right in the stomach. Lower income voters will just use the standard deduction anyway, so none of this would really affect them other than in a nominal way. People earning more in the middle class normally deduct a larger amount for various purposes – including all kinds of expenses that total out a number much higher than the expanded standard Pence would now permit. So all of their taxes would go up, some quite sharply. And to put the cherry on the sundae, they now throw in this idea of getting rid of the State and Local deduction, which is a deliberate slap at people living in California, New York, Massachusetts, etc. The purpose there is to not only kick those voters in the stomach but to punch their teeth out at the same time. Right Wingers living in those states are hoping this will cause those local governments to suddenly cancel services and lower their taxes, which of course totally ignores that a state like California has higher taxes because it’s a huge state trying to cover services for a massive population. Going with the Texas model just means that you’d have what a state like Texas does – an ineffectual state government that leaves everything substantial to the federal government, meaning that all the Blue states have to pay for those services. In the simplest of terms, the new tax attack would target and cost Dems in Blue states in a collective order of hundreds of millions of dollars – all to be transferred to wealthier Right Wingers living in Red States. It’s a really vicious move, soured even more by the Right Wing’s smug moralizing about whether it’s fair to have a state or local tax deduction in the first place. A Right Winger I know in Los Angeles smugly told me that he’d like to see that deduction thrown out, even if it causes his own tax bill to go up – just because he hates the state government of California and would like to see this cause them some grief. And his tax bill will be balanced by the benefits he’ll get from the elimination of the Estate Tax and the AMT and the corporate reduction, so in the end, he’ll come out way ahead anyway.
The third goal is to ram this attack through the Congress as fast as possible, and get it done without any Dem votes, by the end of the year. So that the Pence White House can declare a legislative victory and kick all the Dems in the face right before the midterm campaigns. There is no intention of bringing any Dems on board for this, although the Right Wing is gloating that they think they can bully some Dems into supporting this monstrosity if they are running in Red states. (They haven’t acknowledged that the Dems will almost certainly refuse to have anything to do with this bill). Even Bill O’Reilly is now saying that passing this bill and getting it to Pence’s desk for Trump’s signature is “everything” to the Pence White House now. He’s saying that he thinks it will get through the House, then get narrowly through the Senate by 51 votes, and then quickly be signed by Trump in a triumphant flourish at the end of the year as a big win. If O’Reilly is correct, it will certainly be a demoralizing blow for most of the country, and a signal of how much worse things will get before 2020.
We can only hope at this point that the GOP continues to demonstrate the dysfunction they’ve been perfecting over the past year. If just 3 GOP Senators have issues of various kinds with this measure and allow it to go down like the legislative ACA repeal did, then that will do it – and this time, Pence will not have any options of Executive Orders that would change the tax code. In that event, expect Trump to once again publicly blame the Dems.