April 12, 2019

Introducing John Avlon's Reality Check segment, John Berman said, "As the old saying goes, only two things are certain in life, death and taxes.

"You can add a third certainty to that list: Blue states that largely did not vote for President Trump, people there feel like they're paying a whole lot more in taxes. John Avlon with the Reality Check," he said.

"Monday is Tax Day, a date that strikes fear in the heart of most Americans. George Washington said no taxes can be devised which are not more or less inconvenient and unpleasant. He set the bar, but we can expect the tax code to be fair. This year, not so much. whether you see your taxes go up or down will depend on whether you live in a red state or blue state and that's by design," Avlon explained.

"First a little history. December 22nd, 2017, that's when President Trump's tax plan was signed into law. Kind of a Christmas gift to corporations and red state residents. Passed entirely along party lines. It cut taxes sharply for most Americans, raising the standard deduction, but in return it eliminated all personal exemptions, cut itemized deductions and here is the key part, it slashed the amount of state and local taxes you could deduct to $10,000, it limited the mortgage interest deduction and that's where the representation of the tax code became evident.

"Now, according to data from H&R Block, among states where refunds went up this year, the top ten are all red states. Among states where tax refunds went down, you guessed it, the top ten are all blue states. Notice a pattern? Let's dig a little deeper. Alabama's average SALT deduction was around $6,000 in 2016, the average deduction in New York nearly $22,000. How about Mississippi? That's about 6,400, California nearly 19,000. If you look at the entire map the story is the same, bright blue states are playing vastly more under trump's tax plan than ruby red states.

"With population density, it's no surprise in areas where most Americans live it costs more to buy a house, and guess who is more likely to need a mortgage? Again, red states deduct while new states are stuck. this has become known as the blue state triple whammy because Trump's tax code has made it more expensive to buy a home, more expensive to own a home and harder to sell your home.

"New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who is suing Trump along with three blue states, put it this way: 'If your political goal is to help Republican states and hurt Democratic states, this is exactly the way they do it.'

"But guess who does even better under Trump's tax code? The same industry in which Jared Kushner's company bought a white elephant of a building at a record price right before the market crashed, almost defaulted on a billion-dollar loan, and is still worth around $3 million and paid little or no federal income taxes in at least seven years.

"The loopholes are wider and sheltering income easier than ever before. As for the rest of us, only 17% of taxpayers say they expect to see a tax cut this year. President Nixon said never make taxation popular, but we can make it fair. With the politically weaponized tax code that punishes blue states, President Trump has failed at both.

"And that's your reality check."

He didn't get into it, but retail businesses normally get a big bump after the tax refunds come in. This year, it's not there, and it's just another sign that we'll be headed into a possible recession, thanks to Trump's insane economic policies. Yay!

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