Tuesday, December 26, 2017

A Big “Christmas” Hoax

Mid-day on December 20, DJT tweeted, “We are delivering HISTORIC TAX RELIEF for the American people!” That was followed by a GIF showing a present opening with the words “Tax Cuts for Christmas!” bursting out of a box. This, I contend, is all a big “Christmas” hoax.
An Early Celebration
DJT and the Republicans in Congress celebrated “Christmas” five days early, after passing the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.” Then on Dec. 22, DJT signed the massive bill into law.
The vote on the tax reform bill was 51-48 in the Senate—all the Republicans against all the Democrats. In the House, the vote was 224 to 201 with all the Yes votes being by Republicans and the No votes being by all the Democrats and 12 Republicans.
How in the world could there be 249 Congresspeople opposed to what is touted as a wonderful Christmas gift to the USAmerican people? And why do most polls show that more Americans oppose the newly enacted bill than approve of it?
Yes, the “tax cuts for Christmas” were celebrated by DJT and the GOP days before Christmas this year. But one wonders how much celebration there will be by most USAmericans by next Christmas or in the years following.
Who Celebrates?
It is evident that there are reasons for some to celebrate this new tax bill. Corporations are jubilant over the reduction of their tax rate from 35% to 21%, a huge drop—although many corporations already pay around 21%, or far less (see this report).
The wealthiest people in the land also celebrate the passing of the tax bill for several reasons. “Final Tax Bill Includes Huge Estate Tax Win For The Rich” is the title of a Dec. 21 article on Forbes.com.
Among other super-rich people in the country, DJT and the Trump family are, no doubt, celebrating their personal gain as well as their political gain from this bill. “Trump stands to save millions under new tax measure, experts say,” is a recent article in the Washington Post worth noting.
Last Wednesday DJT said, ““I promised the American people a big, beautiful tax cut for Christmas. With final passage of this legislation, that is exactly what they are getting.” Well, that’s at least true for Donald, Jr., Ivanka, and others of the Trump clan. They certainly have reason to celebrate. But many do not.
Who Won’t Celebrate?
There are many serious problems with the newly-passed tax bill, including (1) most likely a large increase in the national debt, (2) an increase in taxes for the poorest 1/3 of U.S. taxpayers, and (3) a large decrease in the number of people who have health insurance and a large increase in the cost for many who do have insurance.
While the numbers for the final bill are likely slightly different, the CBO Report of Nov. 26 indicated that the Senate version of the bill would show an increase in taxes for people (units) with income of less than $30,000—more than 1/3 of the taxpaying units.
By contrast, those with incomes of more than $100,000 –fewer than1/4 of filers—would get tax reductions of from 10.6% to 27.5%.
Those figures are for 2019. They get much worse for the poor and much better for the wealthy by 2025. (Here is the link to the PBS NewsHour article consulted.) 
So, yes, the new tax bill seems to be a “hoax” as a Christmas present, especially for the poor. But the wealthy will fare well, as is cleverly depicted by this cartoon by Pulitzer Prize winning editorial cartoonist Jack Ohman:  


  1. Here are the first comments received; they are from local Thinking Friend Sue Wright, who have me permission to post them here:

    "I agree! Totally! My feelings volley between throwing up my hands and saying anyone who falls for the promises of this tax bill deserves what they get — precious little — and wanting to save those same folks from themselves and Trump and his buddies in Congress.

    "Hey, my husband and I and our heirs will grow personally richer from this bill, but what’s the point if the quality of life of most of the rest of the country drops even lower. And it will. And will our fellows’ standards of living eventually affect all of us, rich and poor? You betcha! And it could get violent."

  2. And I just received from Chicago the following comments from Thinking Friend Eric Dollard:

    "Thanks, Leroy, for your succinct and accurate comments about the tax 'reform' measure just enacted.

    "It is indeed a hoax as its ultimate intent is to cut taxes, not for the lower and middle classes, but for the wealthy. To make it politically palatable, the bill provides some very modest tax relief for the middle class and an increase in taxes for some of the poor, who of course need to be punished for being poor. Although Judy and I are upper middle class, we will actually see a tax increase of a few hundred dollars.

    "Large families may also pay more in taxes because of the elimination of the personal exemption.

    "The special tax rate for 'pass-through' businesses, such as partnerships and Subchapter S corporations, is a giveaway; it will be extensively abused.

    "The cynicism of our Congress is appalling and this tax bill is certainly evidence of it."

  3. Thinking Friend Bill Locke writes strong words from Colorado:

    "Now that the greedy pious Republicans have increased their wealth and assured continued contributions from their wealthy base and increased the deficit by 1-2 trillion dollars, the fiscally conservative small government pious Republicans will start working to help reduce their self-serving deficit increase by reducing programs that help us old people—social security, Medicare and Medicaid.

    "Criminals in action!"

  4. So enjoyed the cartoon re: the Tax Scam hoax, but I'm still trying to find any hint of "wise men" in the photo! Any suggestions? Thanks, Leroy. George M.

    1. George, if you lived in the mansion to which they are headed, you would probably consider the men on the camels to be wise men. But I get your point: how can they be so designated for the other 99% of us.

  5. Local Thinking Friend Don Wideman shares this brief comment:

    "I agree totally! Americans have been duped!"

  6. I wasn`t going to comment, but thought I would and probably go against the grain.
    I get tired of hearing people complain that All the benefits go to the big corporations and the rich-How can you Give Everyone benefits and it Not benefit Everyone?
    I am Not a big corporation or rich, but the big corporations and the rich are always going to get ahead regardless of what benefits go us us poorer folks; but let`s don`t throw out the baby with the bath water.
    Why can`t we just be appreciative of whatever we get in benefits and through our vote try and get the right people into politics?

    1. John Tim, according to the CBO (and these figures may not be for the final version of the tax reform bill, but they are close), in 2018 those whose income is less than $10,000 stand to pay $80 more in taxes than for this year but those whose income is more than $1,000,000 will reportedly get a tax reduction of around $59,000. All those withl less income will get some reduction on their taxes, except for those who earn less than $30,000.

      Why does the government need to do so much to help the rich get ahead while taking away benefits from the poorest people in the country?

      I am not concerned about (or appreciative of) the benefits I will get or won't get. However, I am concerned about how this tax bill is going to affect the poorest people in the country now--and how it is likely to affect all of us (or the next generation) in the future because of the increase in the national debt.

      And then, in order to keep the national debt from rising so high, I look for Congress next year to make changes in Social, Medicaid, and Medicare -- things that will hurt the poorest people in the country the most.

  7. Here are comments from local Thinking Friend Ed Kail, who had trouble posting directly here (as others also seem to have from time to time):

    "Here’s an idea for life-changing Tax Reform:

    "1) Strengthen the Estate/Inheritance Tax. Make it progressive so that estates of $10 million are taxed at 10%, with increments structured up to 90% for estates of $100 million or more.

    "2) Designate all revenues from Estate/Inheritance taxes exclusively to funding national, state, and local infrastructure projects: highways/roads/streets, bridges; water and sewer systems; an efficient electrical grid; airports, hospitals, school buildings; public transportation, recreation and cultural institutions, etc.

    "3) Administration can be provided through existing federal/state/local grant and partnership programs, with the requirement that efficiency, accountability and transparency be part of every project contract.

    "Talk about job creation! Or stimulating the economy on every level! National security could be strengthened in every place, even as the quality of life in local communities is enhanced. The ultra-wealthy would be rescued from the wealth hoarding that is threatening the fiber of our democracy, while gaining the satisfaction of real contributions to the good of all the people.

    "As someone who has lived well on less than $70,000 a year, it makes sense to me!"

    1. Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments, Ed. I hope you are sharing your ideas with more people than with just those who will read them here.

  8. Your analysis, linked to analyses that are widely disseminated and widely received with appreciation, reflect what seems sure to happen several years from now, results very hurtful to the poor and middle class, only long-range beneficial to corporations and the upper percent of the U S population, not to mention the enormous increase to the nation deficit likely to occur.

    “Hoax” seems like too nice a work. Not much trickery here. Fraudulent? Not in the sense that duly elected officials of this country voted in the majority for this tax cut bil;. Maybe morally and civically “corrupt” seems closer. What does it say about our country, or the moral and civic fix we are in with the election of these representatives and this president?

    1. Thanks for your comments, Larry. I didn't think about "hoax" being "too nice a word," but perhaps you are right--and I am afraid you are also correct in calling the tax bill morally and civically corrupt.

  9. Being no tax expert I'm not sure how many people will be impacted positively by the doubling of the standard deduction for those who do not itemize. The elimination of the personal exemption hits close to home. I suppose what bothers me most is the cost to our country and especially domestic programs with the anticipated increase in the national debt. I've seen enough of that over the last eight to twelve years. In looking over the statistics I discovered government agencies can also develop debt and that amounts to over eight trillion dollars above the current twenty-one trillion dollars publicized as our national debt. The Lord needs to return real soon!

    1. Tom, thanks for your comments.

      As I indicated in the article, the likely increase in the national debt is to me one of the worrisome parts of the new tax bill, as you also recognize.

      But I am not sure what you mean by the Lord needing "to return real soon." Would his return mean the destruction of the evil in the world (including that of the tax bill) or redemption of the evildoers--and if the latter, how?

  10. I'm from Missouri. We'll find out the reality soon enough. In the mean time, our son's health insurance rates just went up another 50% - no health issues, God save us from this fraud called the ACA. As it has been said about DC, the only thing worse than a Democrat is a Republican, and the only thing worse than a Republican is a Democrat. Amazing how DC (and probably all politicians around the world) seem to fit into most of Dante's rings. And yet we are called to submit and pray for them (and even love them).