April 26, 2017

During today's rollout of the Trump "tax reform" proposals, Gary Cohn and Steven Mnuchin explained with broad strokes how the middle class and poor would be screwed so billionaires and corporations can pay less in federal taxes.

Cohn, in a rare moment of honesty, admitted that the proposal will be universally hated by the right and the left but that Magic Trumpism would get tax reform through.

"We will be attacked from the left and we will be attacked from the right but one thing is certain: I would never, ever bet against this president. he will get this done for the American people," he declared.

Let's be clear here: This would not be FOR the American people. This would be FOR the American billionaires, who are currently running our country.

If you missed the briefing, I will summarize some of the highlights of what is not by any stretch of the imagination an actual tax reform bill, but is instead a one-page list of bullet points.

  1. Double the standard deductions for individuals. For 2016, the standard individual deduction was $6,300. This would double it to $12,000 per person
  2. Eliminate deductions for everything but charitable donations and mortgage interest. This has terrible implications for working families, who are currently eligible to deduct their property taxes, medical expenses over a certain percentage of income, certain employee-related expenses, and more.

    On the one hand, they want to gut the ACA and leave people with pre-existing conditions to their own devices, but they also want to kill the deduction for excess medical expenses. How generous of them!

  3. Some form of child care credit (IvankaCare) would also be included.
  4. Full repeal of the Alternative Minimum Tax and Estate Tax, which is a huge tax break for the wealthy.

Cohn also said they would preserve deductions for retirement (401k and IRA, presumably), but it is not mentioned in the one-pager they released and rumors have been rampant that one of their pay-fors would be the elimination of the 401k deduction. At this point, assume that's on the table, because retirement is one of the biggest areas of taxpayer savings right now.

On the corporate side, they're giddy about the idea of reducing the corporate tax rate to 15% overall, not only for standard corporations but also for pass-through corporations. Between the estate tax, the alternative minimum tax, and this tax rate on pass-through entities, Trump would stand to pay almost nothing in taxes at all.

So yes, it's guaranteed that the left will hate it. And those Trump voters who thought he was such a populist will hate it too, because it does nothing significant for them, but they seem to be content with being lied to on a daily basis, so who knows if they'll attack it.

Cohn may have been the only one to say a true thing during that briefing. The rest of it can be summarized as "screw you, poor and middle class voters!" Twice, even. First through healthcare and then with "tax reform."

Oligarchy is real.

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