Tag Archives: tax cut

POTUS pitches tax cut before midterm election? Can’t happen

Donald Trump’s ignorance about the federal government was on full display at a campaign rally.

The president promised a 10 percent tax cut before the midterm election. Cheers erupted from the crowd.

Oh, but wait. Congress initiates tax measures. Congress isn’t meeting. The president cannot enact a tax cut by himself.

Cutting taxes is a complicated matter. It requires negotiation among lawmakers and with the White House.

So it is that Donald Trump has shown us yet again that he doesn’t know what the hell he’s doing. He can say things. He can elicit cheers from adoring crowds.

He cannot deliver anything by himself. None of this matters to his base. This is the “new normal” in Washington: A president doesn’t know what he’s talking about … and neither does the crowd that cheers him on.

Complain about a million bucks? Hardly!

I’ve been called out. Someone who reads this blog has scolded me for my continuing criticism of Donald John Trump.

This individual — who I don’t know personally or even through social media — said I’d still “bitch about it” if the president “gave every family one million dollars.”

Why, I never …

I wouldn’t “bitch” about it. I’d merely wonder where he’s getting the money. I would presume, for instance, that he’d pay us all with public money. Meaning tax money collected by the Internal Revenue Service from every taxpaying American.

Then I would question whether the U.S. Treasury could afford to part with the money, given that we already have rolled up this massive debt of $20 trillion, which figures to grow even more as the Trump-Congressional Republican tax cut kicks in.

That’s one option.

Then there’s the other one, which would be that Trump could hand out the money from his hu-u-u-u-u-ge fortune built through real estate wheeling and dealing. Didn’t he insist during the 2016 presidential campaign that he’s “really rich”? Of course he did!

If Trump were to dig deeply into his pockets for private money he’d like to distribute to the unwashed masses he governs, well … I wouldn’t complain one single bit.

I’d like to see the president’s tax returns, though, to ensure that he acquired the money legitimately.

Trump hogs credit he denied to his predecessor

Donald J. Trump was always oh, so quick to denigrate the economic successes of Barack H. Obama.

But … wait! Now it appears that with the nation’s economy continuing to rock along, he is seeking to take some — or most — of the credit for himself.

Politico reports that the president, faced with low poll ratings despite a brisk economic recovery, is staking more of his political fortune on the continuing spike in economic activity.

Thus, the success he refused to acknowledge during President Obama’s two terms in office is now becoming an opportunity for him to seize during his own time in the White House.

It’s almost laughable. No, actually it is laughable.

Trump derided the monthly jobs boost recorded virtually throughout Obama’s terms in office. He used to contend the job growth was phony; the Labor Department cooked up the numbers, he said, to make the president look good.

Now that he’s on the watch, the job numbers are like the Gospels, according to Trump. Which is it, Mr. President? Are they phony or are they holy?

Trump will deserve credit if his economic policies continue to produce healthy job and wage growth. He’ll deserve the credit in due course.

However, he shouldn’t try to scarf up the credit that rightfully belongs to the momentum built by his presidential predecessor and preceding Congresses long before he declared his presidential candidacy.

Hoping — yet again — for a turn for the better

I was so hoping that when 2016 disappeared that the next year might bring a brighter outlook.

It turned out that 2017 was no better than the previous year.

While it is true the world didn’t lose as many iconic figures in 2017 as it did in 2016, my hope was that a new president’s performance might not be as horrific as I feared.

I regret to say I was mistaken.

Donald J. Trump’s first year in office was worse than I feared.

He didn’t get anything done. He didn’t make America any greater than it already is. He didn’t unify the country. The president didn’t deliver on the vast bulk of his campaign promises — although he did make good on some of them; I’ll get back to that in a moment.

The president’s “America First” mantra has brought further isolation for the United States in an era that has produced a shrinking globe.

He pulled the nation out of a worldwide effort to curb carbon emissions; he scolded our NATO allies over whether they’re paying their fair share of defense against Russian threats; the president insulted key heads of state of allied nations; he has used his Twitter account to launch tirades against the media, pro football players, and to promote falsehoods on all manner of issues.

The tax cut? That’s a promise kept. The president is crowing about it and he has earned the right to boast. It remains an open question, though, about how it will succeed. Will millions of jobs be returned specifically because of the corporate tax cuts? Is the economy going to continue to accelerate as it has done during the year?

And will the tax cut explode the federal budget deficit, which used to be anathema to Republican politicians?

Yes, indeed, there’s also that “Russia thing.”

The investigation into alleged collusion with Russian agents seeking to influence the 2016 election outcome is getting hotter by the week. Trump calls it a phony story. Fine. Let it proceed and prove him correct, if that’s the outcome we get.

The year we are about to enter, I’m sad to say, doesn’t look any better than the one we’re about to set aside.


Federal government is broken

Take a look at this picture. It shows the president of the United States declaring victory in the effort to enact a significant tax cut.

The men and women behind him? They’re all Republican lawmakers. You won’t see a Democrat in the bunch. Congressional Democrats opposed the tax cut. They say it favors the rich and hurts the middle class. Republicans see the cuts as spurring business growth, creating more jobs, giving the economy a necessary kick in the rear end.

The picture also — to me, at least — depicts a government that does not work. We’re being governed by the party in power. They are shoving legislation down our throats. They are suggesting that since they can grip the gavel, there’s no need to heed the wishes of those Democrats who just are crybabies still bemoaning the loss of a presidential election they thought was in the bag for their candidate.

Fairness requires me to say this: Democrats did much the same thing in 2010 when they were in control of Congress and the White House. They passed the Affordable Care Act with zero Republican votes in either chamber of Congress.

My point is this: Good government requires both parties to search for common ground. I much prefer to see photo ops with presidents signing legislation into law with leaders of both parties surrounding them. The president hands out pens as he signs the bill to individuals who were instrumental in enacting the law. They go to members of both major parties who are sharing in the president’s reflected glory.

President Lyndon Johnson had many political allies among Republicans; President Richard Nixon could say the same about Democrats — until he got into serious political trouble; Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush could rely on pols from the opposing parties when the chips were down.

We didn’t see bipartisan joy when Barack H. Obama signed the ACA into law. We won’t see it when Donald J. Trump signs the tax cut bill.

This is not how government should work.


What? They haven’t read the tax cut bill? Shocking!

Congressional Republicans got all over congressional Democrats for their alleged failure to “read the Affordable Care Act” before enacting it into law in 2010.

So, what’s been the GOP response? They’ve done precisely the same thing with regard to the tax cut that’s about to become law.

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., who famously said he didn’t want to blow up the budget deficit with the tax cut, now says he favors it. He also admits to not yet reading the bill before changing his mind.

How is it that it’s OK for one side to do the thing they castigate the other side of doing?

Democrats, to be fair, need to be mindful of their criticism of Republicans’ failure to know the nitty-gritty details of the bill they’re about to approve.

Politics ain’t pretty, man. Neither is legislating. Someone once compared legislating to sausage-making. It’s messy, a bit grimy and greasy at times and it requires those we elect to legislate to do their homework.

Democrats and Republicans are afflicted with the same malady: laziness that gives way to political expediency.

Does the GOP serve the public … or itself?

First it was the Republican-led initiative to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with an unknown alternative.

Americans weren’t having any part of that cluster-flip. The ACA repeal/replace effort fizzled and failed.

Now the GOP leadership in Congress is trying to enact a massive tax cut. How is that plan faring in the world of public opinion? Not much better than the ACA repeal effort.

So now congressional Republicans are poised to send a tax cut to Donald J. Trump’s desk. The president will sign it. It’ll become law before the end of the year. Every Republican in Congress will declare victory.

But is this what Americans really want? Some critical analysis is reporting that middle-class Americans won’t get a permanent tax break, while corporations and gazillionaires will get longterm tax relief. It’s also going to add more than a trillion dollars to the budget deficit over the next decade. Aren’t Republicans supposed to be “deficit hawks”?

Thus, public opinion appears to be lined up against this tax overhaul.

So … why do the men and women in command of the legislative and executive branches of government insist that this tax cut is going to answer all our prayers?

I keep wondering if these political leaders represent the interests of all Americans or just those who have sway over the policies being enacted.

RINOs take over congressional GOP

Republican Party “purists,” whoever they may be, must be furious with what the GOP majority in Congress has done.

Republicans who control both congressional chambers have just rammed through two versions of a tax cut that by many economists’ view is going to explode the federal budget deficit.

Therefore, congressional Republicans — virtually to a person — comprise Republicans In Name Only. They are the dreaded RINOs that purists keep condemning as closet big-spenders masquerading as members of the party of fiscal responsibility.

One Republican — lame-duck U.S. Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee — managed to vote “no” on the Senate version of the tax cut. But he was the only one.

Now this monstrosity goes back to the House of Representatives, which will seek to reconcile its differences with the Senate version. Then they get to vote again on it.

After that? It goes to the Oval Office, where the president of the United States will sign it. He’ll boast about the “victory” he won. Donald Trump will take credit for enacting a bill about which he likely doesn’t know a thing.

Do you remember the time when Republicans used to blister Democrats for running up those huge deficits? As recently as the 2016 election, Republicans were pounding freely at Democratic President Barack Obama for overseeing a sharp growth in the national debt. But here’s the deal: Under the Obama presidency, the size of the annual deficit was decreasing almost every year; by the time President Obama left office, the annual budget deficit had been cut by about two-thirds from the amount he inherited when he took office in January 2009.

I guess those days are gone, along with any chance that Republicans and Democrats are going to find common ground on matters that affect all Americans.

As for the country’s budgetary future, it’s now in the hands of RINOs. When are the party purists going to start squawking?

Hello? Is there anyone out there?

Where have the deficit hawks gone?

I always have thought that congressional Republicans were deficit “hawks,” officials who hated federal budget deficits and certainly derided those spendthrift Democrats for piling up the national debt.

Why, then, are GOP senators so intent on pushing a tax cut bill that will explode the annual deficit and add hundreds of billions of dollars to the debt?

A new non-partisan analysis indicates that the GOP tax plan will spur some limited economic growth, but it’s going to add $1 trillion to the deficit.

Here is part of what CNN is reporting:

The Joint Committee on Taxation, the Congressional scorekeeper for tax bills, estimates that the Senate tax bill could generate enough growth to create nearly $408 billion in new revenue over a decade. But even with that additional revenue, the bill would still add an estimated $1 trillion to deficits.  

JCT’s macroeconomic analysis — also known as a dynamic score — falls far short of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin oft-made claim that the tax cuts will pay for themselves.

There also doubts about whether the wealthiest Americans are going to pay more or less under the GOP-railroaded tax overhaul. Donald Trump keeps insisting it will “cost me a fortune … believe me.” Actually, I’ve discovered that whenever the president says “believe me” I need to discount the veracity of any point he is trying to make.

But if Republicans are so damn hawkish on budget deficits when Democratic presidents are seeking to boost the economy, shouldn’t they remain that way when their political brethren seek to do the same thing?

GOP plans to read tax bill eventually

Let’s call it the same song, second verse … or just the same ol’ same ol’.

U.S. Senate and House Republican leaders have cobbled together a tax cut bill that the rest of their GOP colleagues haven’t yet read. They say they plan to examine the legislation before voting on it.

Gosh! What a concept!

The tax bill is drawing some independent analysis, however, from those who tell us it will jumpstart an economy that’s already moving along pretty well. Others say it helps the rich more than it helps the middle class.

Donald Trump calls it the biggest tax cut in U.S. history.

What I find most amazing/amusing/troubling is that the GOP plans to rush this bill through before Thanksgiving. I am not alone in wondering about the wisdom of such a fast-track effort. The most recent landmark tax reform package took months of debate and hearings before it went to President Reagan’s desk in 1986. How in the world does this version of GOP leadership plan to enact the nation’s most historic tax cut in such short order?

The idea that legislators haven’t read it, of course, isn’t new. Democrats said much the same thing before they brought the Affordable Care Act forward in 2009 and 2010. Yes, the ACA had some serious hiccups during its rollout, but it is working — despite what GOP leaders keep saying to the contrary.

Congressional Republicans are feeling the heat to do something of substance. They couldn’t repeal and replace the ACA; they haven’t secured money to build the president’s “beautiful wall” across the southern border. Now they’re hanging their fortunes on tax reform.

They haven’t read the bill. They aren’t commenting on its specifics.

I keep wondering the same thing that I asked about the ACA repeal/replace effort: Why can’t — or won’t — these majority congressional members work with Democrats to get their input in legislation that affects all Americans?