The GOP Tax Plan-A Wolf In Sheep's Clothing

The American taxpayer has become the unwitting pawn in the dangerous game called the GOP tax plan.

Former Treasury Secretary, Larry Summers, called the tax plan now passed by only House Republicans and pending before the Senate as a “serious policy error” and “madness” that Senate Republicans want to repeal Obamacare’s individual mandate ("Larry Summers: Republican tax plan is a 'serious policy error' "); and a fever dream of Republican donors ("Its crazy for a president to wrap himself in the stock market"). Even Bruce Bartlett, former domestic policy advisor to President Reagen (lower right in the video photo), has gone on record that the GOP tax cuts break Trump’s promises and will hurt his voters the most.

Being a former trial lawyer, I was weened on the K.I.S.S. method of advocacy. It means, “keep it simple stupid” (when trying to convince a jury to find in my client’s favor). So, let’s do the same here with the GOP tax cut plan.

1. HOMEOWNERS: For those that want to purchase a new home or even those in an existing home, the Senate wants to eliminate the property tax deduction, state and local taxes (SALT), and the mortgage interest deduction. Corporations, though, will still be able to deduct these taxes of whatever amount; ditto for any sales taxes they pay.

2. HEALTH CARE: The Senate plan calls for eliminating the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act (”Obamacare”). This will gut the ACA just as much as outright repealing it as the Senate tried earlier in the year, and failed. Eliminating this mandate will cause 13+ million taxpayers, many of them Trump supporters, to lose their health insurance. The savings of some $338 billion by doing this will be used to pay for the tax plan and those wealthy Americans that will see their taxes go down. Yet, voters that went to the polls in Virginia place health care as most important to them, and we have seen a 45% increase in sign-ups to the ACA over the same period of time than last year.

3. MEDICARE and MEDICAID: Here is one that has not received much attention, but all those 65 and older that are on Medicare, take note: as a result of what the Republicans wish to force down voters’ throats, $25 billion will be slashed from Medicare. This is due to a 2010 law, called PAYGO (”pay-as-you-go) that requires ensuring any new legislation enacted during a term of Congress does not collectively increase estimated deficits. If there is an increase in the deficit (again, the tax plan will increase the deficit by $1.5 trillion) OMB (Office of Management and Budget) is required to order a sequestration to eliminate the overage. Medicare would not be immune from this. This was made known in a November 13, 2017 letter from CBO Director, Keith Hall, to Rep. Steny Hoyer, House Democratic Whip. This letter is produced here.

Medicaid subsidies would also get axed by $179 billion ("Missouri's McCaskill gets fired up during GOP tax plan hearing"). Yet Medicaid expansion, made possible through the ACA, keeps gaining favor among voters, witness the expansion of it that Maine voters approved earlier this month.

4. TEACHERS and STUDENTS: Presently, teachers can deduct what they pay for their classrooms, like pens, paper, pencils. The GOP plan takes that away. And interest on student loans, forget that as a deduction too.

5. RELOCATION EXPENSES: Currently, expenses to relocate for a new job are deductible. Not any more if the GOP tax plan becomes law. A corporation that shuts down and relocates to say, China, will still be able to deduct these type expenses (The GOP Tax Plan: First The Dagger, Now The Scalpel, To The Middle Class" (exchange with Rep. Susan DelBene (D-Wash)).

6. MEDICAL EXPENSES: Those are scrapped too (”GOP tax bill would eliminate medical expense deductions").

7.TEMPORARY VS. PERMANENT TAX CUTS: for individuals they are temporary; for corporations, any tax cuts will be permanent.

8. TAX INCREASES: By the time the GOP plan is fully implemented, those earning less than $75,000.00 will see considerable increases in their tax bill. The corporate rate will be reduced from 35% to 20%. It has also been estimated that nearly 14 million Americans will see their taxes rise as a result of what is pending in both chambers of Congress.

9. ESTATE TAX, ALTERNATIVE MINIMUM TAX, PASS THROUGHS FOR LLCs: They are eliminated or kept, which means that the wealthiest, like Republican fat cat donors, will benefit greatly.

The above nine points are, as if in microcosm, the “K.I.S.S.” method to explain what Congressional Republicans want to do to the average taxpayer. From those in the Middle Class to the nation’s seniors, there exists nothing more than the tax plan being a wolf in sheep’s clothing, where nearly every American except those at the very top of the economic ladder stand to become the GOP’s meal ticket to satisfying only their donor class. And for Republicans to keep saying that more jobs will be created and wages will rise if the wealthiest and corporations get the most tax cuts is trickle down economics that has never worked.

Because the tax cut plan is still pending in the Senate, time remains, albeit within days after Thanksgiving, to unmask it for what it really is intended to become if enacted into law. Perhaps keeping in mind the key line from the movie, “Network”: “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore” (when it comes to what the GOP tax cut plan will do to most Americans) will help in the public outcry to change the minds of at least three senators...

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