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Tax bill's details shift, but overall it's a colossal tax break for corporations and the wealthy

Rep. Keith Ellison
REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
Rep. Keith Ellison speaking during a rally against the Republican tax bill on Capitol Hill on Nov. 15.

Our Congress is pretty dysfunctional, in a lot of ways. We, collectively, must take a share of the blame, since we elect its members. I don’t have too many great ideas for making it better, but I would, in a flash, support a pretty tough congressional rule that would prohibit either house of Congress from voting on a bill without the benefit of a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis of its likely fiscal impact.

I haven’t written about the Republican tax bills currently making their way through Congress. It’s a very big deal, of course, if any of these versions become law. But, in addition to there being a House and a Senate version, with significant differences, each of the drafts has gone through significant changes, on the fly and mostly in the dark, as the Republican leadership makes backroom deals to secure support from waffling members while going to impressive lengths to keep Americans from being able to figure how the changes will affect them.

So it’s hard to get an up-to-date, neutral, expert analysis of who gets tax relief and how much (and for how long since many of the provisions are scheduled to disappear after a few years) from the big tax bills.

But the big impact is pretty obvious.

In the long run, the overhaul, if it resembles remotely the basic design in either the House or the Senate version, will be a colossal tax break for corporations and the millionaire/billionaire classes.

That’s what’s going on, and the backers of all versions of this bill (the bill is supported by no Democrats and the overwhelming majority of Republicans in both houses) would like to rush it though before the general public fully understands how great this bill is for corporations, the owners of those corporations and the relative few richest individuals, and how bad it is for the majority of American families and for the long-term debt and deficit picture.

I suspect you’ve heard and read this point before, but many provisions in the bill that do the most good for poor and middle-class Americans are set to disappear after a few years, while most provisions that benefit corporations and the wealthiest families are permanent.

If someone were trying to sell you something that would benefit you in the short term but would benefit him for the short, medium and long and forever terms, I hope you would know how to feel about it. But, of course, the salesman won’t tell you that up front, or ever. You might need someone who doesn’t stand to make a commission on the deal help you figure that out.

Honest, credible, nonpartisan analysis

In federal fiscal matters affected by proposed legislation, that someone would be the Congressional Budget Office. The fact that the CBO works for the Congress might understandably make you a bit nervous. But during its more than 40 years of existence the CBO has established a reputation for honest, credible, nonpartisan expert analysis so Congress and the public can have an informed debate on bills before they become law.

So you may be shocked, shocked (that’s a “Casablanca” reference) to learn that one version of the big tax bill has already passed the House of Representatives (over the opposition of all House Democrats, including all five Minnesota Democrats, and with the support of almost all House Republicans, including all three Minnesota Republicans) and another version is being rushed through the Senate (over the opposition of all Senate Democrats and with the support of almost all Republicans) without either version having been “scored” by the Congressional Budget Office.

The CBO is the highly regarded, nonpartisan agency whose job it is to help Congress figure out the likely impact of complicated fiscal matters when a bill like these tax bills is making its way through Congress.

So, as I said at the top: If I had my way, and if Congress cared about letting the country know what it's up to before it’s too late, there should be a rule (with some kind of reasonable exception for national emergencies) requiring a published CBO analysis before a final vote in either house.

But, if members of Congress want to ram through bills without the benefit of that analysis, I would say they lose their right to complain about the analysis of others that fill that void by publishing their own efforts to project the likely impact of complicated fiscal bills.

A telling graphic

So, what set me off on this particular subject was a graphic in a piece by New York Times columnist Dave Leonhardt. Piggybacking on an analysis of the current Senate version of the tax bill by the Tax Policy Institute (a joint operation of the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute) the graphic estimates who will end up with an actual decrease in their federal taxes in 10 years, when the provisions have been fully phased in, and then when the ones that are set to expire will have been phased out.

You can guess where this is going. The wealthier you are, the more likely you are to end up benefiting. The poorer you are, the less likely. The slope of the bar graphic is staggering.

If you are among the top 0.1 of one percent wealthiest Americans, the chance that you will still be benefitting from the bill in 10 years is 98.1 percent.

If you are only in the richest 1 percent, there is an 83 percent likelihood that you are benefitting in year 10 of the phase-in/phase-out of provisions in the bill.

As you move toward those with lower incomes, and you move into income regions in which most Americans live, the likelihood that you will get any benefit continues to decline.

If your family is in the middle fifth – we’re not talking about poor people, we’re talking about the millions of families in the middle of the income scales – the chance that you are paying less in taxes in 2027 falls to 27.5 percent. Just to emphasize: That’s not the size of the tax cut families in that group get. That’s the chance that a family in that most middling quintile gets any benefit at all from the big cut. That likelihood drops to 27.5, which means 72.5 get no benefit from this once-in-a-generation tax overhaul that candidate Donald Trump said would not help him nor his fellow billionaires at all, but would do wonders for the struggling middle and working classes.

The slope continues

The slope continues all the way to the end. Of course, families in the lowest quintiles pay relatively little in federal taxes now, conservatives will be happy to point out.  But they are also the ones who need help the most with paying their bills, liberals will point out. Anyway, in case you don’t click through to see the graph, 11.8 percent of those in the bottom quintile will get some benefit in year 10, compared to 98.1 percent of those in the top 0.1 percent, and 83 percent of those in the top 1 percent.

In case that analysis is wrong and/or liberally biased, let’s wait for the CBO analysis before rushing anything through. Deal?

Here’s the graphic as published by the Times.

And here’s the original study by the Tax Policy Center on which it’s based.

Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving to all MinnPost readers.

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Comments (57)

Like a plague of locusts

…in farm country, a radical right-wing perversion of what used to be a fiscally-responsible Republican Party has taken control of the national government, and like locusts, means to consume its food supply, in the form of money, to its exclusive benefit, and to the detriment of everyone else. In almost every context except that of the corporate, by which I mean multistate and multinational companies, they could reasonably be accused not just of breaking campaign promises, a political sin so common that it hardly merits mention any more, but of a betrayal of the American public that elected them which verges, I would argue, on treason. The beneficiaries of this tax "overhaul" are an exceedingly tiny slice of the tax-paying public, while those of us not fortunate enough to have inherited (or even earned) millions, will be penalized in order to pass our modest wealth on to those who are already plutocrats.

If Congressional Republicans were capable of shame, and I see little evidence of that trait in Mr. Ryan or Mr. McConnell, I'd say they should be ashamed. That term being one with which they're unfamiliar, I'll just say that, from my modest home, it appears that Republicans are violating their constitutional oath by willfully failing to work in the public interest, instead prostituting themselves in service of the wealthy few.

Rush it though before the general public fully understands

Funny. Thought you were talking about the ACA with Pelosi stating it best in passing the bill first to see what is actually in it.

And let's not talk about the 'telling graphic' is that of course those that pay taxes benefit the most. We have nearly half of the country that pays no federal income tax. No matter how much you add or subtract from zero, they will still remain at zero.

Still, in the end, this is not a zero sum game that liberals like to think. Do things that bring the hordes of money back to the US and largely grow the economy (not like the worst recovery ever as we had under 8 years of Obama), and the cash addicted government will actually get more than the records of revenues they get now.

The parallel

…with the ACA is a point well-taken, though the object in that case was a benefit for the general public, millions of whom had no access to health care at all, while the object in this case is a benefit for a vanishingly small portion of the public, a few thousand already very wealthy families and individuals, and a few hundred already very large corporations.

Nonetheless, I'm curious. “…Do things that bring the hordes of money back to the US and largely grow the economy…, and the cash addicted government will actually get more than the records of revenues they get now.” What “things” would you suggest be done?

First, the number of

First, the number of hearings, the time spent discussing and debating, and the amendments considered for the ACA was an order of magnitude greater than for the tax bill, even assuming the tax bill is thoroughly debated every day Congress is in session between now and the end of the year. So your "Funny" comment is "fake news".

As to not paying taxes, do you mean some guy/gal working 2 part time jobs at minimum wage or profitable companies like GE, International Paper, Priceline.com (and many others)? Show me the business loopholes being eliminated that will avoid this in the future.

True, hordes of money back. But to do what? Last time it was stock buybacks and special dividends. Recently, when Cohn asked CEOs is the tax plan would cause them to grow investment, he was met with silence. And all the CEOs had to do was raise their hand - no commitment.

Worst recovery ever? After the worst recession ever. With Republicans doing all they could to impede. Duh!!

"Funny. Thought you were talking about the ACA . . ."

You folks need some new material. That gag has been done to death.

You should also tell your writers to indulge in something resembling accuracy. The ACA had hearings in five committees (three House, two Senate), and was fully reviewed by the CBO (which released its findings, even if Republicans found it too daunting to read). The full Senate debated the bill for 25 days.

"Do things that bring the hordes of money back to the US and largely grow the economy (not like the worst recovery ever as we had under 8 years of Obama), and the cash addicted government will actually get more than the records of revenues they get now." Okay, that one's really funny. The idea that tax cuts will improve either the economy or government revenues is a real rib-tickler by itself, but claiming that overseas revenues will be repatriated is shown by past experience to be a real howler. Bringing in more overseas money will make the dollar stronger, so US investments will be less attractive and the trade deficit will increase.

Tell us how that's going to help the American worker. Just warn us first, so there are no spit-takes on our screens.

Time to be honest with criticism

First off, the truth is that before the ACA was finalized, there were numerous hearings along with changes to the bill based on republican input. This is an easily verifiable fact. You can point to one quote, but that doesn't change the eventual truth of the matter. Also, two wrongs don't make a right. So if you claim not having bipartisan input then was wrong, then you should feel the same now. This idea that we should do something because it was done to us is why our country is going down the toilet. Heck, we elected Trump largely because white people were tired of having a black guy in charge. The fact that "undoing Obama's Legacy" is the rallying cry should clue you in to that. They are repealing common sense things that were passed under Obama just because it has his name on it.

Now, onto your second point. I agree, we should benefit the people that pay the most taxes. Right now, the middle class and upper middle class that get their income through salary/wages, pay the highest percentage of their income in taxes. These millionaires and billionaires that get money through dividends, other investments, s-corps and what not have been paying a lower percentage of taxes for years. Trump paid taxes in ONE of the last ten years that we know of, it was a lower percentage than I pay (and I make much less money than him) and it was due to a provision that he is getting rid of. Are you honestly going to tell me that the working poor should be paying a higher percentage in taxes then a billionaire?

Lastly, trickle down has repeatedly been shown not to work. Profits are at all time highs for many companies, yet they haven't passed that on to workers in the last few decades. The Papa John's guy cut his workers hours to avoid health care because it would have cost him $0.13 per pizza. That is greed pure and simple. No amount of tax cuts for those people is going to help the middle class. We need a massive restructuring of the tax code with benefits for corporations that provide health care and a livable wage and penalties for those that underpay and have huge discrepancies between worker and executive pay. Until that happens, nothing will change.

I don't understand how these rich elites have brainwashed the middle class to point to the poor as the enemy. You can't get blood from a turnip people. The reason for the loss in the middle class is not welfare. Corporate greed, moving of jobs overseas, wall street, and runaway executive salaries are the reasons for the decline in manufacturing jobs and worker compensation. That is exclusively on the rich. The middle class republican voters need to wake up and realize that the GOP doesn't care about you.

“we elected Trump largely

“we elected Trump largely because white people were tired of having a black guy in charge. The fact that "undoing Obama's Legacy" is the rallying cry should clue you in to that. They are repealing common sense things that were passed under Obama just because it has his name on it.” How do you know that we elected Trump because the white people were tired of black president? And what common sense things did Trump repeal?

“Trump paid taxes in ONE of the last ten years that we know of.” No, we saw just one year of his tax return and there is no reasonable basis for making a conclusion about other years.

“Why should they get the biggest benefit when they already have the lightest tax burden on a percentage of income basis?” So let’s say family A earns ten million dollars a year and pays a million in taxes because they itemize deductions and write off local and state taxes and real estate interest and business expenses. Family B earns $100,000 and pays $12,000 with standard deductions because they chose to live in a nice apartment. Are you saying Family B should pay less but family A should not? On the other hand, this law eliminates local and state tax deductions which mostly help rich families – do you support this change?

“I don't understand how these rich elites have brainwashed the middle class to point to the poor as the enemy.” So are the rich the enemy?

I see it has already been swept it under the rug

See if George W. Bush rings any bells for you. Remember how he almost tanked the world economy. Millions of people were losing their jobs monthly. Remember President Obama brought the economy back without the help of any Republicans. Republican anger is focused on the wrong party.

So if it was wrong how the ACA went through congress and now you are using that same logic as your justification for running the tax bill through, most people would call that hypocrisy, but that pretty much defines the current Republicans Party.

I suppose you are including corporations in your group of those who don't pay any taxes. Many corporations, through many convenient loop holes, a fleet of accountants, and lawyers pay little to no taxes too. Corporations are sitting on tons of cash right now, but they need more free handouts from congress. Lets just let middle America pay for more than they already do.

A year in total control and the Republicans don't have a thing to show for it. What have the Republicans done for the current economy? Answer, NOTHING. They are laying claim to an economy President Obama put in place.

“See if George W. Bush rings

“See if George W. Bush rings any bells for you. Remember how he almost tanked the world economy. Millions of people were losing their jobs monthly. Remember President Obama brought the economy back without the help of any Republicans.” Presidents have very little effect on the economy which, in capitalist societies, is cyclical and goes up and down. And it was actually Bush who started “bail-outs” which Obama continued and which maybe improved economy but added to national debt.

“A year in total control and the Republicans don't have a thing to show for it. What have the Republicans done for the current economy? Answer, NOTHING. They are laying claim to an economy President Obama put in place” https://finance.yahoo.com/news/trump-economy-improves-164926081.html so maybe there is something Trump did.

Soory I can't view Trump through rose colored glasses

George W. Bush sure did have an impact on the economy. If Bush had not put his fabricated war on a credit card, things might not have been so bad for President Obama. With the economy on the verge of collapse, how could President Obama have handled it any differently than he did and not add to the deficit? I have noticed that with the new tax bill proposals the GOP deficit hawks have gone silent. I guess that mantra is only needed when a Democrat is in the White House. Your own link said that Trump inherited an improving economy and to some extent he is a beneficiary of lucky timing. It is only lucky timing. Trump can't go in the same direction for more than 15 minutes, so there is minimal chance he has done anything to help anyone but himself.

I do not see him rose colored

I do not see him rose colored glasses - I am just providing the facts.

“If Bush had not put his fabricated war on a credit card, things might not have been so bad for President Obama.” First, this war was overwhelmingly approved by most Democrats. And second, winning wars is usually more important than money. On the other hand, the main reason for that recession was the housing bubble which wasn’t created by Bush and had no connection to Iraq war. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Recession#Housing_bubbles, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causes_of_the_United_States_housing_bubble, https://www.uvu.edu/woodbury/docs/summaryoftheprimarycauseofthehousingbu....

And of course, Obama did not change the economy that much either https://www.cnbc.com/2016/07/15/grading-the-obama-economy-by-the-numbers....

“Your own link said that Trump inherited an improving economy and to some extent he is a beneficiary of lucky timing. It is only lucky timing.” Sure, luck always plays the role but my link would not have given a good grade to Trump if it were just luck…

As for deficit, I said in my other post that we should not be adding to it…

Tax Cuts...

I think tax cuts should be given to those who Pay taxes.

What About . . .

Who should get a tax increase?

So who should that be?

So who should that be?

Agreed

So, the middle class and upper middle class then? The rich already pay less percentage wise than an average american worker. Why should they get the biggest benefit when they already have the lightest tax burden on a percentage of income basis?

so True

no benefit means you aren't paying taxes anyway, right? Funny how the alt left explains things in such a perverse big gov narrative way.

Seems convenient

How the Right Wing consistently forgets how corrupt the existing tax code is! The simple example
Jane entrepreneur taking in say $55K : Pays 12.4% FICA and 2.9% Medicare total 15.3% (Before any other income tax)
Joe Gazillionaire, makes all his money on long term capital gains, 15% total or less after all taxes!
Strange how the alt right likes to twist the conversation to such a perverseness suggesting the Gazillionaires are the folks shouldering the load. No matter how little you make on a wage or salary, you get nailed with payroll tax! Yes, even the folks not paying income tax are still paying payroll taxes, sales taxes etc. etc. Facts, not fantasy. But I guess kick-m while they are down is the "Right" way of treating our less advantaged citizens.

My Benefit

I am not a corporation.

I have minimal passive income from investments.

The Vikings will win a Super Bowl before I have to pay any estate tax.

I live in a relatively high-tax state.

I pay federal individual income tax.

I am paying student loan interest.

I am getting bupkes out of this bill. I realize you are not making a serious argument but just looking for an opportunity to snark about the "left;" nevertheless, I feel you should inform yourself about what this bill really does.

Your income tax will almost

Your income tax will almost for sure go down… And if this tax bill benefits the entire economy, that will be your other bonus.

My Income Tax

"Your income tax will almost for sure go down… " Even though I'm losing deductions? Even though the lower rates are scheduled to expire? Even though any decrease in my taxes will be so small as to be statistically meaningless?

"And if this tax bill benefits the entire economy, that will be your other bonus." Why on earth would I think that? What will be my bonus if this tax bill makes the economy tank?

It's time to retire the fantasy that tax cuts are a boon to the economy. Really, that line isn't even funny anymore. The fact that a few political hacks have gotten some laypeople to believe that (contrary to all historical evidence) is just sad.

Without knowing you

Without knowing you particular situation, I cannot guarantee it but practically all estimates I saw from all sides show that at least in the beginning practically all will get a tax cut. On the other hand, if some wealthy people will not because they will lose some dedication, isn’t it good?

“It's time to retire the fantasy that tax cuts are a boon to the economy. Really, that line isn't even funny anymore. The fact that a few political hacks have gotten some laypeople to believe that (contrary to all historical evidence) is just sad.” Ok, if the government takes 100% of income as taxes, would you agree that reducing taxes would help? Now, since taking 0 taxes is not an option, there should be an optimal tax level somewhere in between which would be, of course, dependent on time and situation. Otherwise, why is the State of New York reducing taxes? Why do some European countries do the same?

In the Beginning . . .

"[P]ractically all estimates I saw from all sides show that at least in the beginning practically all will get a tax cut." According to the Congressional Budget Office, taxpayers who earn less than $30,000 will see an immediate adverse effect from the legislation. Individual income tax cuts are set to expire.

"Ok, if the government takes 100% of income as taxes . . ." No one is suggesting that, but I think I can see where this is going.

"Now, since taking 0 taxes is not an option, there should be an optimal tax level somewhere in between which would be, of course, dependent on time and situation." There it is--the Laffer Curve! Public policy designed on the back of a napkin! Few, if any, real economists still believe in that old idea (if any ever did).

"Otherwise, why is the State of New York reducing taxes?" Two possible reasons: 1. It was determined that current tax rates are not necessary to bring in the revenue the state needs; or 2. They are making an incredibly foolish mistake for half-baked ideological reasons. Having lived in New York and seeing first-hand what comes out of Albany, I refuse to rule out possibility number 2.

Let's look at what really happens when taxes are cut to the bone. How are things going in Kansas? The state's economy is pretty much a shambles, and businesses have relocated out of the state rather than deal with it. How are things in California, which increased income taxes? One of the biggest economic problems there is finding affordable housing.

“According to the

“According to the Congressional Budget Office, taxpayers who earn less than $30,000 will see an immediate adverse effect from the legislation.” Let’s be precise here: Still in a couple years and only by the Senate bill and really not tax hikes but reduction in services. Now, I am not saying it’s good (or bad) but I would still guess that you would benefit.

“There it is--the Laffer Curve” Thank you for the info – I didn’t know about that. But I looked it up and yes, that is what I meant. So, from Wikipedia: “A 2010 study performed by the Obama administration's chief economic advisor, Christina Romer, showed that the maximum amount of revenue is achieved with a 33% tax rate. The study, "The Macroeconomic Effects of Tax Changes," was published in the American Economic Review and demonstrated that increasing rates beyond this level reduce GDP, reduce tax compliance, and yield less revenue.”

“They are making an incredibly foolish mistake for half-baked ideological reasons.” I thought NY is a liberal state governed by Democrats.

“How are things in California, which increased income taxes? One of the biggest economic problems there is finding affordable housing.” Oh California! Debt and deficit. And of course the ones suffering from lack of affordable housing are the poor not the Hollywood elite and Silicon Valley executives….

The Empire State

Republicans control the NY Senate, and Democrats control the Assembly (a pattern that has, with a few interruptions, been consistent for years). Andrew Cuomo is a Democrat, but he is no liberal.

"And of course the ones suffering from lack of affordable housing are the poor not the Hollywood elite and Silicon Valley executives…." I thought thee argument against higher taxes, at least in Minnesota, was that rich snowflakes, I mean, upper income job creators, would flee the state in droves?

Republicans control the NY

Republicans control the NY Senate” No, they control it with the help of Democrats who support Republicans. And Cuomo is liberal enough to be elected in the state of New York.

“I thought thee argument against higher taxes, at least in Minnesota, was that rich snowflakes, I mean, upper income job creators, would flee the state in droves?” I thought the argument for higher taxes is that it will help the poor…

People ought to check the record more often

While the internet is proving to be a multi-edged sword, one of the genuinely fantastic things about it is how (relatively) easy, or possible, it makes it for "average people" to look for, dig into and draw conclusions from large amounts of apolitical, creditable information related to specific "topics of interest."

I don't know how valuable you think it is to . . .

A) look at the historical record to

B) see what has worked best and not worked well at all

. . . but if you think doing that kind of thing can be a practical, beneficial approach to (major) decision making, you might want to:

A) take a look at the time periods in which the overall American economy has worked best and worst for the greatest number of Americans; and, when it comes to tax rates,

B) take a look at what the tax rates were (for everyone) during those time periods (and, in the cases of things being at their worst, what the tax rates were just prior to those periods).

And I'm not talking about short periods of time, but periods that span a minimum of a decade and, in the most telling cases, as long as 40 or 50 years (or 20 percent of the time the United States has existed which, when a person thinks about it, would probably qualify as a "substantial test period").

I'm not sure, but I suspect if you (or anyone) would go to the trouble of doing that (which the internet makes much less troublesome) you MAY see a couple of things that would more fully inform your opinion on what the "ideal tax rates" would be than anything available at places like Wikipedia or many other sources that tend to overlook, disregard, or undervalue things like "historical empirical evidence."

I agree and usually I try to

I agree and usually I try to do it. Unfortunately, it takes a lot of time to do all that research. However, in comments for this piece I was not trying to justify any particular tax rate or tax cuts. My point was that blank statements that reducing taxes is always bad and benefits only the wealthy (a common topic among Democrats) is wrong, and wrong not only on this historical basis (I have not done enough research to claim it) but on math and logical level.

So!

Why is this "Tax Cut" also inclusive for corporations that don't pay any taxes? And, it may also very well be for guys like "T" that probably don't pay any taxes!
Can we assume you are against it then? We wouldn't want quasi non income taxpayers, like poor people, getting anything, we sure wouldn't want mega billionaire corporations and billionaires like "T" getting an advantage either. Fair enough? Or is this as a lot of folks see it, a reverse robin hood scheme in Republican clothing.
Reminds me of a quote, a little personal twist to it: "Morality is doing right, no matter what you are told." conservatism "is doing what you are told, no matter what is right." H.L. Mencken.

“Why is this "Tax Cut" also

“Why is this "Tax Cut" also inclusive for corporations that don't pay any taxes? And, it may also very well be for guys like "T" that probably don't pay any taxes!” How do we know this for sure?

“Reminds me of a quote, a little personal twist to it: "Morality is doing right, no matter what you are told." conservatism "is doing what you are told, no matter what is right." H.L. Mencken.” The actual quote is actually about religion, not conservatism. Second, I could not find any attribution of this quote to Mr. Mencken. And according to this research https://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeremy-frimer/liberals-conservatives-conf... , there is no difference between liberals and conservatives in following authorities…

The Republican tax proposals

The Republican tax proposals raise taxes on those Americans who earn less than $30,000 (gross, before FICA tax). At one point, even Donald Trump complained about the House raising their tax rate from 10% to 12%, but he's no longer saying anything. It's hard for any family to live in this country on $27,500 a year; the poverty rate is just under that amount!

To those ultra-right-wingers who complain about "half of Americans" not paying any tax: it's that they're not earning much income, and between the personal exemption and standard deduction, what tiny income they have disappears for tax purposes. They're effectively poor. How much in taxes do you want them to pay, Bob?

Despite his denials, Trump benefits from a number of central elements of this tax cut for the rich: his family will reap about $1 billion (if we believe Trump's wild statement about his net worth) by not having to pay any estate tax when he dies; he himself will benefit approximately $30 million or more annually from not having to pay any Alternative Minimum Tax--assessed so that the wealthy at least pay SOMETHING; many of Trump's businesses are pass-through entities legally, so tax benefits to those pass-throughs (15% tax rate instead of individual rates) will hugely benefit Trump. And that's just for starters. The reason he has refused to reveal his tax returns is because he's playing lots of cute stuff to avoid taxes and doesn't want the unwashed masses to know that.

The man lies. Remember that. He'll say anything. So yes, Trump definitely does benefit from this tax cut stuff.

The big thing on this Congressional effort to cut taxes for huge international corporations and the ultra-rich, is that they are attacking a non-problem: there is no need for federal income tax cuts for anybody at the very top of the income scale. No need.

In any intellectual field, you begin a process by asking: What is the problem? There isn't one, except that Big Money donors to the GOP want a huge tax cut. (And all Trump's presidency has to show for itself is a bunch of reversals of Obama's Executive Orders, and a Supreme).

It's not that the wealthy or corporations are taxed too heavily (corporations, while their tax rate is in the 30%s, pay an effective tax rate of just more than an average of 18%. Big Whoop). American businesses are drowning in cash, which they are neither investing nor devoting to increased worker wages, so big corporations don't need a tax cut. Neither do the ultra-rich, who don't spend tax money not paid.

And the economy is booming. Has been, for about eight years, so we aren't in any growth dip anymore. The tax code's progressivity (the seven or so different tax rates) is no problem for the average taxpayer. But a "flattening" of those rates is a regressive step, by definition, and ultimately hurts those at the bottom and middle incomes. Families will hurt, with the elimination of the Personal Exemption on the 1040: If you're taking care of your elderly Mom at home and she's a dependent, you no longer will be able to take a small tax credit for her, or for any children you may have living at home. Teachers will no longer be able to deduct the $250 of what they spend to provide classroom supplies for their students. Grad students will have to pay taxes on the tuition benefit they get for being TAs or RAs (that could be $60,000 a year, if they're going to Stanford or Harvard), and there will no longer be a tax deduction for anyone for repaid student loans. Nor for mortgage interest, or state income tax, or local property taxes. You can't deduct medical expenses (my annual medical expenses alone are more than the doubled personal deduction to be set, and I'm neither real sick nor in a nursing home yet!).

Et cetera, folks! They're milking the poor, the near-poor, and the middle classes, to pay for the Koch brothers and the Trumps and large multi-national corporations to have unnecessary lower taxes.

The GOP are attacking a non-problem and trying to flash their ever-morphing plans briefly before our eyes so we won't see the con game.

A family of three earning

A family of three earning $27,000 will have to pay about $1,200 before earned income credit and child credit which will most likely take it down to practically zero if not to tax refund. Do you think they should pay less?

“there is no need for federal income tax cuts for anybody at the very top of the income scale.” Is this statement supported by science?

“And the economy is booming. Has been, for about eight years” You mean that Obama make it booming in a year?

“The tax code's progressivity (the seven or so different tax rates) is no problem for the average taxpayer” There are just two brackets in Denmark.

Others have ...

do well making the argument for the rank hideousness of this tax bill. However what has not been said that some degree of justice existed for only a blink of an eye of the citizens of this lesser nation. And I do not even want to hear or read comparatives to the rest of the world. With a global economy that is the argument that has lost an validity. The figure to look at is the small number of people who control all of wealth of the world, The trickle up is occurring world wide. The resistance is minimal. The citizenry is disposable. Hate is being used as the motivator to turn one against the other as the power brokers laugh. Here is a read on shrinking income sharing .....https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/11/17/upshot/income-inequality-united-states.html?referer=http%3A%2F%2Fm.facebook.com%2F

Same as it ever was

The mid 20th century was really the only break in the aristocracy's (make no mistake conservatives, about whom you serve) campaign to grind the commoners into the mud. The war has been waged since the first of our ancestors decided they must be better and more special than their fellows, and will most likely be continued until we exterminate ourselves from this rock. A pity, since all that would end it is the most basic of knowledge, learned when we are young, "nice people share".

I actually just read the

I actually just read the piece referenced in the post… By the way, it seems that that income inequality really grew during Obama’s years…

According to the referenced

According to the referenced article, the share of top 1% rose from 11% to 20% which is about 80% increase… and which is about the same as in Finland, Norway, and Australia and less than in Sweden and Britain. The point is that it is growing almost everywhere… which doesn’t seem to be a barrier to rising living standards everywhere else in the world where poverty and hunger are going down. The main question is why do we care how much Gates has if we have enough for comfortable living? Is it just envy? Taking from the wealthy is not a solution for helping the poor.

Facts

Suggest you are trying to sell the same old bombast!
https://inequality.org/facts/wealth-inequality/

And...

Let’s not forget that Paul Ryan sat around the fire at college keggars dreaming about eliminating basic civic entitlements like SS and Medicare. And that is the agenda behind the tax cut: deficits sky rocket, driving the debt to new levels, and the answer will not be a tax cut repeal. It will be the justification for Ryan’s entitlement cut fantasies.

Furthermore . . .

Paul Ryan paid for the privilege of attending college keggers by saving the Social Security survivor's benefits he received after his father's death.

Speaker Ryan has lived off of public money for most of his life. Since leaving college in 1992, he has spent a grand total of three years in the private sector, working for political advocacy groups. Before that, the family construction company did a lot of work on government-funded highway projects.

Ryan

He did have two private sector jobs: McDonald's, and working for Oscar Meyer...driving the weinermobile.

The American Dream dies with this tax bill

It is intended to push the burden of supporting our free society onto the working class and keep them indentured to the banks, corporations and wealthy masters. They bought our elections for this very purpose.

John Maynard Keynes once wrote, "We have become slaves, in thought as in action, of the system created to serve us." In Borg terms: You have been assimilated.

Keep working folks --that is your function in today's America.

It is very politically

It is very politically advantageous to accuse Republicans of giving money back to the wealthy and not doing anything for the poor and Democrats are doing it as much as they can, but it is sad to see Mr. Black going the same path – in the past he was more objective.

So, without expressing any judgment about this particular bill since I have not read it and don’t have enough knowledge (and in general I don’t think we should increase the national debt on one hand, and flat tax and progressive VAT is the way to go on the other hand), I will just make a common sense observation which, I think, some have already made here: When almost 50% of the taxes are paid by 1% of the people, any tax reduction will inevitably benefit that 1% more than others (the rest will presumably benefit from more jobs and higher wages which will be the result of the wealthy having more money to invest – and that may or may not be included in the CBO’s analysis). As an analogy, I can offer climate change: America is the major contributor to pollution so it is always said that it should contribute the lion’s share to emission reduction; same logic applies to tax reform: those who pay the most will get back the most.

Also, let me share the information from the sources that Mr. Black referenced. So, first, the NYT: “In brief, 98 percent of households making at least $5 million (roughly the top 1/1,000th of the income distribution) receive a tax cut by the time the bill is fully implemented. Only about 26 percent of those making less than $150,000 a year (roughly the bottom 4/5ths of the distribution) get a tax cut.” OK, now that doesn’t look good but what does it mean “when the bill is fully implemented?” Well, it actually means 2027 which the NYT failed to mention. On the other hand, the actual analysis states that “the bill would reduce taxes on average for all income groups in both 2019 and 2025. In general, higher income households receive larger average tax cuts as a percentage of after-tax income, with the largest cuts as a share of income going to taxpayers in the 95th to 99th percentiles of the income distribution. On average in 2027, taxes would rise modestly for the lowest-income group, change little for middle-income groups, and decrease for higher-income groups. Compared to current law, 9 percent of taxpayers would pay more in 2019, 12 percent in 2025, and 50 percent in 2027” Of course, that doesn’t sound so bad (everyone indeed get a tax cut now while those who pay more get more which, as I explained above, makes sense). Facts vs. propaganda.

This isn't a Tax Cut!

This is a deficit growing Republican give away to the well to do, funded by our kids and their kids.
Robbing the future of our children, those are great conservative values, got to screw someone, how about our kids? .

We can only hope that his one trick pony's made it's last jump

Way back in the 50s Leon Festinger studied a group of magical thinkers who were following a guy who predicted that a UFO would land on earth and take them away to the stars. The name of the book is: "When Prophecy Fails" and it should be required reading.

Basically Festinger documented how pernicious magical thinking really is, and how impervious it can be to reason, evidence, and logic.

What we see here with Republicans and their tax plans is exactly the same phenomena. The only "plan" Republicans EVER have is a tax-cut plan, and even that barely qualifies as an actual "plan" of any kind. Despite basic economics, history, logical inconsistency (Are Republican worried about debt and deficits TODAY or not?) and basic arithmetic, magic tax cuts are all Republicans can ever manage to organize around. So just print this out and stick on your fridge for future reference:

1) There's no such thing as "magic".
2) Lower taxes to NOT guarantee: more efficient government, economic prosperity, or more "freedom". If low taxes guaranteed any of these things Somalia would be the most "free" and prosperous country on the planet.
3) Tax cuts ALWAYS benefit the wealthy and corporations FAR more than anyone else. The promise of middle class tax cuts is always a lie. Despite decades of tax cuts and promises of more tax cuts the middle class has never seen those promised tax cuts.
4) The reason the poor and the middle never get Republican tax cuts is because Republicans believe in trickle-down magic. The wealthier you make the wealthy, the more wealthy EVERYONE is. By this logic it literally makes no sense to cut taxes for anyone BUT the wealthy. This is magical thinking because thousands of years of human experience have taught us that the wealthier the wealthy are, the poorer everyone else is, and you can't "grow" your way out of wealth disparity as long as all the new wealth goes to those who are already wealthy.
5) There is absolutely no correlation between "low" taxes and high GDP, quality of life, economic prosperity, economic growth, etc. etc. On the contrary, the wealthiest and most prosperous counties in the world with the highest standards of living are those that collect higher taxes... again, think: Norway vs. Somalia.

To the extent that this bill

To the extent that this bill has any credibility at all, it's due to widespread ignorance about how companies and wealthy people are taxed, so that the uninformed are likely to believe the lie that lowering a company's taxes gives it more resources for hiring people and that rich people will invest more if they have lower taxes.

First of all, rich people hire very few people with their own personal incomes. They may hire household help and use the services of attorneys, accountants, and financial advisors, but they aren't going to hire factory workers or store clerks with their personal income. If they are rich enough not to work but to live off investments, they are taxed at a lower rate than ordinary working stiff, and by clever buying and selling of their assets, they can reduce their taxes even further.

Second, companies and individuals are taxed differently. Working individuals are taxed on their entire income minus a few deductions, but businesses have a whole laundry list of costs of doing business that they can deduct from their taxable income: leasing or buying business premises, buying or upgrading equipment, utilities, research and development programs, advertising, cost of goods sold, and business travel. It's as if individuals could deduct all their living expenses and be taxed only on what is left over.

One of these costs of doing business is employee wages and benefits. Yes, companies can already reduce their taxes by hiring more employees and/or paying the existing ones more, as well as training new employees for existing jobs or existing employees for new jobs.

If a company goes out of business, it's usually because of lack of customers or poor management. Income taxes are normally not a factor, since a company that is doing poorly makes little or no profit and accordingly pays lower taxes.

For example, if a company takes in $1 million in sales and spends $900,000 on costs of doing business, it pays taxes on $100,000, not on the whole $1 million. However, if a company has $1 million in sales and spends $1.1 million on costs of doing business, it posts a loss and pays no income tax.

Major corporations manipulate these costs in order to reduce their taxable income.

I find that most people don't know these facts about taxes unless they themselves have run a business.

Businesses do not hire people just because they have the money to do so. No business is going to pay people to make products that no one wants to buy or to serve retail outlets where no one is shopping. They take on new employees when there is increased demand for their products and services.

Reagan's tax cuts gave shareholders a major windfall, and of course, they liked that. It was the beginning of the era when company's began focusing on enriching the shareholders by any means necessary, no matter who got hurt. Businesses shed employees, moved production overseas, decreased the quality of their products, and in other ways, tried to raise the payouts to shareholders. This was the era of what Robert Reich called "paper entrepreneurism," making money not by producing products and services but by buying and cannibalizing other companies.

If these tax cut proposals go through, I predict that they will trigger another round of cost cutting, pointless mergers and acquisitions, and higher unemployment.

“rich people hire very few

“rich people hire very few people with their own personal incomes.” They can start a new business or contribute to the existing business if there are some problems there or to expand it, too. Or they can donate more to charity or build a library or a museum… Or, they may buy a better car for their kids or build another cabin. Or they can buy more shares of other companies… All of the above contribute to economy.

“but businesses have a whole laundry list of costs of doing business that they can deduct from their taxable income…” Right, it is their profit which is taxed, not total income. And their expenses create jobs and more business. And in your example, with $100,000 profit, it will be taxed at 30% so they will pay $30,000 which actually may be invested back into business.

And finally, if an individual’s expenses exceed the income, that person most likely will be considered poor and will pay no income tax.

That's how rich people think

That's how rich people think in right-wing fantasyland. In real life, they take a different approach.

A low tax rate reduces the incentive to invest or contribute to charity. Rich people usually itemize their personal deductions on Schedule A, and if their tax rate is say, 50%, then each dollar of charitable contributions costs them 50 cents. If the tax rate is 39% percent, then each dollar of charitable contributions costs them 61 cents.

When you get into the stratosphere of wealth, such as the level where the heirs to WalMart live, they could already buy all the cars on any sales lot or all the cabins on any lake with what they have. Giving them a tax break will not make a difference.

That 47% tax free

That 47% tax free population.

It actually worse than simply not paying any income taxes. Many of these people get a return on taxes never paid. I don't care what your excuse is, this situation is simply not sustainable.

The wealthy pay a smaller percentage of their incomes, but still account for most of the taxes paid in. That's an indisputable fact.

It is critically important for everyone that has a vote to pay something in to the pot. Anything is better than nothing.

Everyone pays taxes

There's no such thing as a 47% or any other percent tax free-population the United State, with the possible of exception of corporations which have been widely publicized. The bottom deciles (i.e. 80% or lower) get a basic income tax deduction, that for many yield a refund, but total taxes paid for purchases and other payroll deductions far exceeds those refunds. We know for a fact that the bottom decile pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes than the top 10%, 5%, and 1%.

It's always funny, we've had these Republicans who don't actually know anything about... pretty much anything i.e. Climate Science, Economics, Biology, morality, health care, transportation, education, history, the US Constitution, and on and on for decades always claiming to be some kinds of experts and always implementing or trying to implement the same failed policies over and over again. They never even try to learn. For instance the Trumpian currently in charge of Health and Welfare just said that the "new" food stamp goal is to get people back to work... 80% of the people collecting food assistance are ALREADY working! They live in a universe of their own stereotypes.

The question is when (or if) will American voters finally finally finally figure this out?

Your Calculator is broke!

Folk pay a combined 15.3 % on every nickle they make (wages and salaries), not to mention sales tax, property tax etc & no you don't get any of it back until you retire or become disabled. Gazillionaires, with L/T capital gains pay 15% or less, on income tax. .
We agree: It is critically important for everyone that has a vote to pay something in to the pot. Anything is better than nothing.

Do you think "T" put anything in the pot?

Yeah...

And the fact that their guy in the White House has never released his tax returns goes quietly unmentioned while they attack working families, students, and children.

One of his returns were

One of his returns were released....IIRC, he paid millions in taxes. I have no reason to believe that is not true every year, and neither do you.

One of His Returns

Note that Trump did not release any of his own tax returns. Some of the top pages from his 2005 returns were provided to reporters, and the White House screamed like a man with bone spurs going to an induction physical.

"I have no reason to believe that is not true every year, and neither do you," Considering that he loses money about as easily as he tells lies, that gives reason to suspect that it is not accurate.

Tax Cut?

I re-ran my 2016 income taxes twice, once based on the House version, once based on the Senate version. In both cases my taxes increase. My CPA said that many of her customers will see an increase. It will be interesting to see how Emmer (my representative), Davis, and Paulson, spin this to their constituents. This tax bill will be a lump of coal for anyone in Mn that itemizes their deductions.

Repealing estate tax has to come with eliminating step-up basis

The provision to eliminate the estate tax coupled with the step-up basis in capital gains ensures that much of the income of the wealthy created from capital gains will never be taxed. This will lead to more manipulation to ensure wealthy people are paid in equity, not wages, so they can avoid any taxation at all.

Income from capital gains should not be preferred in the tax code to income from wages. This is a guaranteed way to make sure wealth grows for people with capital faster than it does for people who make income from wages.

More information on how capital gains are favored over wages

Well...

Taxes are legally collected through a system created by our duly elected representatives: There are no guys with masks and guns.

If we amend the system to eliminate the estate tax (because of some one's concept of fairness) and the deficit soars does anyone (ANYONE!!) actually believe that the estate tax will return?

Not a chance, and the reaction to ballooning deficits will be on the spending side and the only place where enough money to make a difference will be found will be in "EARNED" entitlements like SS and MediCare.

And that is the ultimate objective of the GOP and Paulsen, Lewis and Emmer : provide a tax cut to the wealthiest .2% of the population and eventually finance it by hitting almost every normal, working citizen in their retirement years.

As cruel and sinister a plan as ever devised: Paulsen, Lewis and Emmer must go.

So to sum up

Corporations are getting a huge tax break even though they really don't pay much in taxes.
The national debt will rise 1.5 trillion over the next ten years because of this bill (which won't pass by the way) which would be great since it rose over 10 trillion in the last eight years.
The standard deduction will rise which benefits most people since maybe 30% itemize, but the bill still sucks because all the itemizers will miss out on some (dubious) deductions or "loopholes" as they're called when other people or corporations do it.
CBO forecasts for ten years are probably quite accurate as long as Congress and the Presidency stay the same and no laws ever change from this point on.
And "over the opposition of all House Democrats, including all five Minnesota Democrats" is redundant don't you think?