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REFORM OR GIVEAWAY?

November 5, 2017

REFORM OR GIVEAWAY?

Today, November 4, 2017, I had occasion to answer a blog seeking comment on the Republican tax bill now before the House that was unveiled just 48 hours before by Speaker Ryan, an Ayn Rand devotee. I thought what I had to say might deserve larger circulation since I owe it to children both born and unborn not to add another 1.5 trillion dollars to the already monstrous debt they will be paying to further enrich today’s plutocrats in a world where there is already so much cash around that capitalists have begun to run out of places other than tech to invest. Following is such effort, slightly edited from my original commentary.

I agree that we need “tax reform” but that is not descriptive of the “tax giveaway” bill Ryan and his fellow Randists are trying to poke down our throats, made even worse with a generous sprinkling of social proposals designed to get social conservatives to support the “tax reform” bill, like, what the heck are abortion and churches and other such social engineering clauses doing in a tax bill? Let’s let them stand alone on their own merits, as should a “clean” tax bill. I would even agree with ridding ourselves of the AMT (alternative minimum tax) if such atrocities as “carried interest” and all other such gifts to the rich (see hedge and equity funds exemptions and redefinitions of ordinary income and corporate buybacks of stock etc) were removed or regulated pursuant to the public interest. I want tax reform, too, but not the Rand variety.

The noise we hear in ads on TV from “committees” bought and paid for by libertarians like the Kochs and Mercers? about reduction of corporate taxes is phony – the average effective rate paid by corporations is far beneath the present topper of some 39 percent and many Subchapter S corporations pay no tax at all with their pass through provisions. At base, and truth be told, the superrich are essentially trying to sell us on the old and discredited “trickledown” theory, you know, give the rich more money and the poor will prosper. Arithmetic and history, anyone?

I could write on the horrid details of this bill forever but will end it here for lack of space and time. Paul Krugman and Sheila (a professor whose blog I answered) are correct in their criticism of this monstrosity in the making, and it occurs to me that Ryan and his Randists have deliberately overshot the mark to leave themselves room to go for amendments, like, O.K., we will agree to take carried interest out of the bill in exchange for a reduction of the corporate tax rate, or fetuses to term or churches free to make political statements while maintaining their tax-free status or whatever Ryan & Co. may judge to keep their social conservatives in tow as a blow to Roe or tax-supported political rants from the pulpit or whatever. I note in passing that it is easy to give up carried interest, which never should have been in the bill in the first place and thus amounts to no more than amendment bait in political give and take.

As for Trump the clueless wonder, he doesn’t know or care what is in the bill – he just wants “a win” to sate his narcissistic need for adulation, especially if such a “win” would add to his coffers, as this bill would. Parenthetically, he is going to the Orient as I write this, and as I have noted elsewhere, I hope that in case he is indicted while gone that he is in a country with whom we have an extradition treaty so that he can be arrested and extradited back here for his bond hearing lest he holes up in some Russian or other embassy somewhere, as others have done in order to beat the extradition rap. Far out thinking,  Gerald? Negative – how can you get too far out with this Trumpnut on the loose?        GERALD        E

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