On Snake Oil and Tax Reform …

“We won the evangelicals. We won with young. We won with old. We won with highly educated. We won with poorly educated. I love the poorly educated.” – Donald Trump, 24 February 2016

snake-oil-trumpOn Wednesday, Donald Trump took his tax proposal on the road … to Indiana.  The plan is no winner, but his lies about it underline the fact that either he cannot add 2+2 and come up with four, else he is a greedy bastard who will do anything to line his own pockets.  But the worst … the very worst … part of his proposal and his ‘explanation’ is that he makes it perfectly clear that he thinks We The People are stupid.  No person with a modicum of intelligence would believe the b.s. he fed the people of Indiana, yet he thinks we are lapping up his rhetoric like cats over spilt cream.

The general idea of the proposal, it would seem, is that rather than cut taxes to the majority of middle-income workers, it will give significant tax cuts to the wealthiest and corporations, and that the rest of us will somehow benefit.  Now, I wrote about all this a few weeks ago and as I said then, it is a fallacy that for some reason the republican party seems to love.  Money given to the wealthy, to large corporations, stays in their pocketbooks … it does not ‘trickle down’ into ours.  Reagan tried it, Bush tried it, and now Trump seems determined to try it.  There is absolutely no reason to believe that it will work any better this time than it has in the past.  What part of this do Trump & Co. find so difficult to understand?  Even his treasury secretary, Steve Mnuchin, claims to believe the lie, though surely he cannot be that stupid.

The proposal is woefully short on details, so much cannot be known as yet. A few points based on what is known …

  • He proposes to cut the overall corporate tax rate from 35% to 20%.  I have not seen any estimates of how much revenue this would cost the government, but no doubt it would be significant.  And no, folks, the corporate savings will not trickle down. Most companies will not give their employees significant increases, nor will they lower the prices of their products.  They will not contribute to community programs to beautify the neighborhood and feed the poor.  They will pay their CEOs and other officers more.

  • The proposal eliminates the estate tax, a tax on inherited property. However, only the wealthy typically pay any estate tax because it is only levied on the value of the property in excess of $5.49 million per person, or nearly $11 million for a married couple.  Now seriously, dear readers … is there anyone reading this who anticipates paying estate tax anytime soon?  This does not help the majority of the people in this nation.  It will, however, be a big help to Donald Trump’s children when he finally drops dead! He claims that it will “protect millions of small businesses and the American farmer.” However, recent analyses show that there are only 50-80 such businesses, not ‘millions’, in the nation that will owe estate tax this year.  Again … this helps us how?

  • The proposal also calls for the elimination of the alternative minimum tax, a tax designed to keep wealthy taxpayers from using loopholes to avoid paying taxes. Typically, only those whose earnings are in excess of $200,000 will even need to consider the alternative minimum tax.  Interestingly, Donald Trump’s tax was increased by $31,000 in 2005, the only year for which we, the people, have any information.  So, although Trump claims, “It’s not good for me, believe me,” it is likely to be very good for him and his family.

  • Trump claims his plan will drastically increase economic growth, but frankly I have doubts. There is not yet enough detail to be able to make reasonable predictions, but the U.S. consumer at this point would do well to be fiscally conservative, given the state of uncertainty in many areas. One example: if republicans continue with their effort to ‘repeal and replace’ ACA, we will all see higher healthcare costs.  I cannot imagine that with a few extra tax dollars in their pockets, most Americans will be running out to purchase more goods and services.  But then, I’ve been wrong before.

  • Common sense tells most of us that resources are finite and that when you remove revenue, as all these lovely tax cuts for the wealthy will inevitably do, then you must remove an equal amount of expense in order to maintain balance. However, Trump has illusions of grandeur and wishes to build a wall that is likely to cost as much as $70 billion (no, Mexico will not be paying for it), increase military spending, invest in infrastructure, and more.  Where is that money coming from?  Sorry, folks, but this tax plan, from my perspective, makes no sense whatsoever.

It will be up to Congress to hammer out details and attempt to come up with some plan that is reasonable and that will not dramatically increase the national debt. Let us hope that they have learned a few lessons from their health care debacle and will, this time, consult with experts in the field.  And let us hope that this time they manage to remember We The People.  I’m not holding my breath, and I suspect there will be just as much posturing, bullying and lying as there was over the multiple health care bills.

snake-oil-trump-2I end where I started.  Lying to the citizens, including the very ones who did vote for him, is a slap in the face.  It is Trump saying, “I think you people are too stupid to know anything, so I can lie and you will believe me.”  No wonder he likes the poorly educated. Personally, I am offended.

29 thoughts on “On Snake Oil and Tax Reform …

  1. Ok, let’s start by defining poorly educated. I have encountered folk who did not do so well through the education system who displayed great common sense, perception and ability. I have met folk with degrees who have such a limited and inflexible outlook that I expect they could only open a door if the instructions were framed as a quote from their favourite fashionable author. So read poorly educated as his idea of gullible.
    Andddd let’s do talk about tax cuts.
    Oh yes, let me 25+ years service in H.M Inspector of Taxes talk about tax cuts. Basically if your are earning little income, your ‘tax cut’ is buttons and might get you an extra loaf of bread on alternate weeks, meanwhile the very rich have even more money to swill around. And if you have only so much money that you are not liable to tax….. SFW! Meanwhile public services get sliced to feed the tax cuts.
    The other con played on the poor public is simplifying the tax system. This translates in more loopholes for those who can afford wangle them and a loss of opportunities for folk at the other end to claim complex but beneficial tax breaks.
    And finally we have the ultimate swindle…’Indirect Taxation’…So a person struggling to get buy pays the same amount of taxes as someone who has three houses, ten cars etc etc.
    Brothers and sisters! (leans dangerously forward on his pulpit) Let me tell you there are so many tricks and twists practiced in the name of taxation by those who are greedy that Satan must have a very special large corner of Hell for them (slams palm on pulpit, pulpit creaks and wobbles) where they are ever condemned to dine on thin stale, weevil ridden bread and cold gritty coffee with ‘things’ floating on the surface, while wearing itchy rags as they clean out eternal rubbish heaps with bear hands!! (wisely steps down from pulpit, pulpit follows)

    Liked by 1 person

    • In addition to a finely-honed mind and wit, you’ve got style, my friend! You da man!!! Now, what did you say your fee for speaking engagements is, and how soon can you get here?

      Seriously, though … your response is spot-on. Education and intelligence are not necessarily synonymous. Obviously, if one looks at Trump and most everybody in his administration. The lemmings, the blind followers, are the ones he loves, for he can control them. They hang on his every word and do as he tells them, even if that means going against values they once held.

      And the tax cuts? A joke. It is almost as if he sees his position as just another of his business ventures that he can manipulate for his own profit. Well, silly me, of course he does! I foresee an even bigger fiasco over his tax plan than we had over the health ‘care’ bills. Pop some popcorn and pull up a chair, friends, for the show is about to start!
      🍿🤡🎪

      Liked by 1 person

      • I always did have a secret hankering to be one of those wild-haired raw-boned hellfire preachers warning my congregation of the evils of those who call for low taxation.😤
        As for this next sojourn into wretched perfidy, I’m seeing one of those ensemble of circus clowns and a comic car 😠
        It would be funny if they were not supposed to be in charge of a nation

        Liked by 1 person

        • Ah yes, I can definitely see you as the fist-thumping, fire & brimstone type … only one who actually makes sense! And yeah, there will be clown cars, probably more than a few donkeys, a bunch of monkeys, and a two-headed man. A regular riot. Sigh. I have lost count of how many times I have started a sentence, “It would be funny if …”

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Jill, there are number of hyped up sales efforts going on. Just leaving the details behind for a second, let’s focus on two big questions that need to be asked and answered.

    Big question #1: How do you address a $2 Trillion debt increase when we have a $20 Trillion debt problem. To be frank, I hear the GOP say the care about the debt, then they proceed with stuff like this. Quite simply, we cannot cut our way out of our debt and we sure cannot with decreased revenue.

    Question #2: Please show the numbers as how this tax reduction will increase economic growth to pay for the cuts. At best, tax reductions may be able to pay for 1/4 of the cost with economic growth. People may want to check out what happened in Kansas with their experiment.

    Let me sneak in two details. Help me understand how eliminating the estate tax above $5 million in inheritance and eliminating the Alternative Minimum Tax help the middle class ?

    Just a few thoughts. Keith

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, it will be interesting to see how they present the math that shows this being a good thing for anybody other than the 1%. I am so offended when Trump says this isn’t good for him, and thinks we will believe that b.s. He assumes we are all completely ignorant. And isn’t it funny, as you mention, how Congress during Obama’s terms were so all-fired concerned about the national debt, but now it doesn’t seem quite as big of a deal? We must keep our eye on this ball …

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Jill,
    This is almost a repeat of what the republicans did with their plans to repeal & replace Obamacare which is lie, lie ans lie some more. Where we this stupid in the past when these leaders fed us BS?

    Well like you say, they are doing it again with their republican tax cut plans.
    This is what today’s WAPO article is detailing:

    “The top 1 percent would see their taxes drop by more than $200,000 on average, the analysis found.”

    “But nearly 30 percent of taxpayers with incomes between $50,000 and $150,000 would see a tax increase within a decade — despite Republican promises that the plan is designed to provide relief to middle-class Americans, according to the study.”

    “The majority of those making between $150,000 and $300,000 would also be hit with higher taxes.
    This is a developing story. It will be updated.”

    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t know if we were that stupid in the past, or if it is just that now, with this administration, everything is so “in-our-face”, so loud and blustery, buffoonish. I mean really, if somebody had played us a 15 minute clip of events from 2017 five years ago, we would have believed it was a sitcom … a really, really bad sitcom. As Congress works toward putting Trump’s tax plan into a viable bill, I look for more bombast from Trump, threats, bullying, ranting. It never ends, does it? Hugs!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This illegitimate excuse for a human being should be crawling on his stomach to apologise to all the people he’s made his remark about being poorly educated and then equating it with stupid. Nowhere anywhere has the trickle down plan of tax relief for the wealthy ever worked. Pressure should be kept on them to pay their share.
    xxx Cwtch xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with you, but I would be willing to bet that he has never in his life offered a sincere apology to anybody … EVER. He obviously sees most of the nation as being too stupid to see through his lies and therefore being pliable and easily manipulated. Unfortunately, some are fairly easily manipulated. I think this tax plan of his will follow a course similar to his health care bill, with lies, sneaky, underhanded tactics, ranting, bullying, and ultimately failure. I hope failure, at any rate.
      xxx Cwtch xxx

      Liked by 1 person

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