The numbers are in and it’s clear: Trump’s “tax reform” benefits the very wealthy and screws the middle class

The tax reform “framework” proposed by the Trump administration and Republican leaders in Congress would give the largest benefits to the top 1 and top 0.1 percent of households, according to a new analysis by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. The poor and middle class would get comparatively little. And the whole thing would leave a $2.4 trillion hole in federal revenue in the first decade.

Distribution of the Big Six Framework Tax Policy Center

The richest 1 percent — households making at least $732,800 — would get an average tax cut of $129,030, the analysis finds. For the typical one-percenter (who earns much more than $732,800), that means 8.5 percent more income after taxes. The richest 0.1 percent, earning at least $3.4 million a year, would get $722,510 back on average, for a 10.2 percent average boost in after-tax income.

By contrast, the middle class (households earning $48,600 to $86,100 a year) would get $660 back, a 1.2 percent income boost. The poorest fifth of Americans, earning $25,000 or less, would only get $60, a 0.5 percent increase.

Both in raw dollar amounts, and percentage terms, the cuts are concentrated among the richest Americans.

About one in eight families, especially households earning low-to-mid six figures, would see taxes go up.

More than 40 percent of households earning between $216,800 and $307,900 (the 90th to 95th percentiles) would see a tax increase; the average tax hike would be nearly $3,000. That’s largely a consequence of the proposal’s decision to eliminate most itemized deductions and in particular the deduction for state and local taxes, which doesn’t help ultra-rich households much, but does help rich but not super-rich families (particularly in high-tax states like New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, or California) considerably.

While the issue is less pronounced for the middle class, 13.5 percent of middle class households would see a tax increase, of about $1,000 on average:

Distributional table for Big Six tax reform plan Tax Policy Center

The entire cost of the plan comes from its corporate tax provisions, TPC finds. Reducing the corporate tax rate from 35 to 20 percent costs about $2 trillion over 10 years, while capping the rate on “pass-through” companies — like those in the Trump Organization — to 25 percent (down from 39.6 percent today) costs about $770 billion.

While some individual tax provisions — like cutting the top rate for high earners, eliminating the Alternative Minimum Tax and estate tax, and increasing the standard deduction and child tax credit — cost considerable money, TPC finds that the plan’s individual tax changes as a whole actually raise a modest amount of money. The costly changes on the individual side are paired with eliminating personal exemptions (which currently give taxpayers a $4,050 deduction for every person in the household) and eliminating the state and local tax deduction, which more than pay for the individual cuts.

You can think of the plan, then, as a corporate tax cut financed (insufficiently) by raising individual taxes on a concentrated subset of middle and upper-class individuals:

Revenue effects of the GOP tax plan Tax Policy Center

Put together, the whole thing costs $2.4 trillion in revenue over 10 years, before you take into account interest the government would have to pay on all that debt.

There are a number of ways the GOP could try to plug that hole. One — alluded to in the tax plan but not modeled by TPC — would be to add a fourth tax bracket, with a tax rate above 35 percent, for individuals. That would raise a significant amount of money, but probably wouldn’t be enough to raise $2.4 trillion, especially if the rate is below the current top rate of 39.6 percent.

Another obvious option would be to cut the corporate tax rate slightly less — to 25 or 28 percent, say, rather than 20 percent. The provision cutting taxes for pass-through companies, which serves no economic purpose and would be a major incentive for tax evasion by rich individuals, could also be junked. But House Freedom Caucus Chair Mark Meadows (R-NC), a leader of House conservatives, has pledged to oppose any plan that includes a corporate rate higher than 20 percent or a pass-through rate above 25 percent. That indicates Republicans will face a ton of pressure to keep those cuts, even as they make the whole package quite costly.

Republicans have also indicated they want to score the plan “dynamically” — that is, assuming it will have a positive effect on economic growth that will offset some of the cost. It’s unlikely, however, that the Joint Committee on Taxation will judge the plan to cause a whopping $2.4 trillion in additional revenue from growth. Tax cuts don’t pay for themselves.

TPC emphasizes that their numbers are preliminary, and they had to make a number of assumptions about parts of the plan that the GOP framework left underspecified. The White House and congressional Republicans have declined to say where the new tax brackets for individuals in their plan kick in; TPC assumed the same thresholds as in a 2016 plan that House Republicans released. The framework also doesn’t say how much it’ll increase the child tax credit; TPC assumed it’d grow from $1,000 to $1,500, as it does in that 2016 House plan. And the framework specifies a few vague revenue-raisers, like a limit on deductibility of corporate debt payments, that TPC couldn’t model. If those get more specific, they could raise more revenue to pay for the plan.

Most contentiously, TPC assumes that corporate tax cuts overwhelmingly help the wealthy. While this is the prevailing view among economic modelers who think the tax is mostly paid by wealthy corporate shareholders, the White House strongly disagrees with it, and this week even rem

Trump supporters: “A Ship of Fools”

The author at the Stonekettle Station blog says it perfectly:

Ship of Fools

Only a fool tests the depth of the water with both feet
— African proverb

Trump was going to defeat ISIS in the first 30 days.

He was going to “win” in Afghanistan – after all, he knew more than the generals who had studied war for their entire lives and who had been fighting in Afghanistan for more than a decade. He knew more than the State Department. He knew more than the history professors. He scoffed at the experts, the “elites,” because he knew more than they did. Remember?

He was going to “repeal and replace” Obamacare “on Day One.” That’s what he promised. It seemed impossible, such a promise, but it would be easy, he said. He had a great plan. Great, Folks, you’ll see.

. . . more . . .

Go to the link to read the full article.

Trump turns the clock back to well before 1959

Sixty years before Colin Kaepernick took a knee, nine black teenagers in Little Rock, Arkansas, took a stand.

The pictures have since become iconic: Elizabeth Eckford stoically walking as a white mob jeers and shouts at her; Terrence Roberts and Carlotta Walls LaNier clutching textbooks under the cover of armed soldiers; Minnijean Brown arriving at Little Rock Central High School, escorted by the 101st Airborne Division.

Hundreds of people recently attended a ceremony at the high school to commemorate the 60th anniversary of its integration by the Little Rock Nine.

“I feel like I’m visiting a religious shrine,” said Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., speaking in the school’s auditorium Monday. “And if this is a shrine, ladies and gentlemen, these are the saints.”

The surviving members of the Little Rock Nine addressed the high school’s current students. By Sept. 25, 1957, they had withstood the mobs, a hostile governor and the Arkansas National Guard in one of the most iconic moments of the civil rights movement.

“The integration of Central High was so early in the civil rights movement, it was before many of the counter sit-ins. It was before the [Freedom] bus rides,” said Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson. “That fact gives us all an even greater appreciation for the lonely steps of the Little Rock Nine.”

But members of the Little Rock Nine say they see activists today taking steps just as lonely.

“Emmett Till turns to Heather Heyer in Charlottesville protesting Nazis,” said Ernest Green, one of the Little Rock Nine. “Muhammad Ali turns to Colin Kaepernick taking a knee for injustice. And the Little Rock Nine turns to the Charleston Nine, who gave the ultimate sacrifice for peaceably assembling in a church.”

Almost every member of the Little Rock Nine was quick to warn those in attendance at the ceremony that the march for justice is far from over.

“Today we have [president] number 45, who behind the scenes and through his Twitter account, we become as we were 60 years ago – anxious and worried and concerned about what lies ahead,” said LaNier.

Nor was she the only dignitary to reference President Trump. Former President Bill Clinton, an Arkansas native, acknowledged the disparity between the ceremony in Little Rock and Trump’s rally in Alabama, a rally where Trump referred to a hypothetical football player kneeling during the national anthem as a “son of a bitch.”

“I heard that rally down in Alabama, I thought, ‘Oh my God, I gotta come look at the Little Rock Nine,’” Clinton said. “They’re down there talking in ways you haven’t heard since George Corley Wallace, the governor of Alabama, and again — they’ve forgotten the history.”

Trump’s comments exposed a selective patriotism, one that allows him to vilify black athletes who have the temerity to protest, but see “very fine people” among the neo-Nazis and white supremacists who marched in Charlottesville.

“We don’t want to go back there. We don’t want to give in to hate,” Clinton said. “Are we really going to let the 200 years of our struggle to get over the idea that our differences are more important than our common humanity just be blown away?”

Clearly, 60 years after the Little Rock Nine overcame massive resistance to integrate an Arkansas high school, the country is reeling from the bigotry and hatred once again given a voice by President Trump.

Today, as in the 1960s, it is easy for some Americans to see any disruption of the status quo as going “too far.” Peaceful protestors have long been asked to silence their concerns and patiently wait for justice, but it has been through bravely pushing forward with such protest that justice has been won. As LaNier reminded those in attendance, “In the words of the old Negro spiritual, ‘We have come too far to turn back now.’”

Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump

Jared Kushner has lived a life of immense privilege and sloth. Daddy got him into Harvard by making a donation in the millions, and Daddy set him up in business by giving him a donation in the many many millions.  Now, little Jared is in debt to the tune of $1.2 BILLION and no one will bail him out.

There’s no evidence that Jared has ever excelled at anything, nor built anything, nor worked at anything, nor done anything other than make little white babies born to immense privilege who in turn will inherit many many millions.

Jared’s wife Ivanka hawks branded crap that is produced in sweatshops at 1$ / hr and she makes sure the women in her work force beg on all fours to be considered for paid family leave which she takes as a sign of weakness.

Jared and his wife are without talent, class and human decency: their only contribution to the planet will be their eventual conversion into edible treats for worms.

It’s known as selling your soul

As I tried over the last year or two to understand the world of Trump, one thing I tried hard to get my head around was the stark and often comical pattern of Trump Organization loyalists’ strict public subservience to Trump. They’re not just loyal. Dignity jettisoning protestations and affirmative declarations seem to be part of the deal. What I heard or read again and again is that there’s a pretty clear if perhaps unspoken deal in the Trump universe. If you work for Trump as one of his people – not the thousands who must work for various Trump businesses but the high level, visible retainers – you get to enjoy the lifestyle. But the price is total loyalty, total self-abnegation and whatever loss of dignity is required to serve Trump.

Many people seem to be happy with that bargain:  Sell your soul for a few dollars and a few minutes in the spotlight.

Trump lies about economic growth

Today Trump claimed that last quarter’s GDP growth was 3.1%.  He then claimed that this rate of growth has not been seen for “many, many years.”

BULLSHIT.

US GDP growth exceeded 3% EIGHT TIMES under President Obama.

Trump White House: Chaos, backstabbing, intrigue . . . .

West Wing officials were worried the White House Counsel Don McGahn might resign if President Donald Trump gives free reign to son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner.

“Mr. McGahn expressed concern that meetings between Mr. Kushner and Mr. Trump could be construed by investigators as an effort to coordinate their stories,” The Wall Street Journal reports. “Two senior White House officials—then-Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and former chief strategist Steve Bannon —urged Mr. McGahn not to resign, according to people familiar with the conversations.”

Kushner is a top link in special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of possible Trump campaign Russian collusion and/or Trump administration obstruction of justice.

“Mr. McGahn’s concerns from earlier in the summer illustrate the disruption and tension that special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe is causing in the West Wing and how the White House’s legal strategy has evolved to respond to the probe,” The Journal noted. “Some members of Mr. Trump’s legal team in June concluded Mr. Kushner should step down and aired their concerns to the president, The Wall Street Journal has reported. Their concern was that if Mr. Kushner were to speak to the president or White House colleagues about the Russia investigation, Mr. Mueller could seek testimony about what was said.”

John Kelly has also been frustrated by Kushner.

Meanwhile – – –

White House chief of staff John Kelly is reportedly considering modifying the role of President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner.

Politico reports Kelly was “livid” after learning that Kushner had been negotiating behind the then Secretary of Homeland Security’s back with Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

According to three sources, Politico reported Secretary Kelly, “called senior White House officials and demanded a meeting with Trump to deliver something of an ultimatum: If Kushner was going to freelance on DHS issues, the president would have to choose between his son-in-law and the four-star general serving in his Cabinet.”

Kelly is reported seeking “a formal organizational chart on top of Trump’s formerly chaotic West Wing” that has continued to be plagued by scandals and failure since the former Marine General took over as Chief of Staff.

Trump’s chief of staff isn’t the only one wondering about the roles of family members turned senior staff.

“Privately, Trump has asked some senior staffers their thoughts on how Kushner and Ivanka Trump can withstand the personal attacks, according to White House officials,” Politico noted.

Legal liability may eventually drive out Kushner, Politico notes, “the concerns voiced to Trump by staffers and lawyers has been more about the legal ramifications that Kushner could inflict on the president, related to the ongoing probes into Russia’s role in the 2016 election.”

How the Russian probes develop may decide Kushner’s future as a government employee.

“The media glare turned back on the couple earlier this week, when the chair and vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee expressed concern that Kushner had failed to disclose his use of a private email account for White House business and that he did not turn over documents from that account to the committee,” Politico noted. “Kushner has also come under scrutiny for attending a Trump Tower meeting with a Kremlin-connected lawyer offering dirt on Hillary Clinton during the campaign.”