December 21st, 2017

The tax bill propaganda

If you read Democratic reactions to the tax bill just passed by Congress, you’d think it orders that poor people and the middle class be shot at dawn. If you read Republican reactions, you get a spectrum of reactions from “pretty good although somewhat flawed” to “good.”

In other words, they’re analyzing the provisions of the bill and the effects of those provisions on the economy and segments of the population very very differently.

What are we, the American people supposed to think? How are we to evaluate the actual effects of the actual bill? After all, this may not be rocket science, but it certainly isn’t easy to look at something as complex as our tax code and as iffy as how it will actually play out in the real world and know the effects of this legislation. That’s one of the reasons I don’t do my own analysis and tend to rely on experts. I pick my experts carefully, though, based on previous track records of those experts and my own perceptions of their relative objectivity.

I’m not even going to link to most of the Democratic analysis, because unless you’ve been living under a rock recently, you’ve seen it. Here’s a roundup of those saying it’s “theft,” just as an example. And here’s one link about the “People will die!” folks. A counter to that appeared in the WaPo, of all places. And of course periodicals on the right have a host of articles that try to explain why the bill will be good (see this, for example).

But bills like this play out on two levels: their practical financial consequences and their political consequences. And right now the perception the majority of Americans have has been formed by the Democrats and they believe it will hurt them:

According to a recent CNN poll, only 33 percent of Americans support the GOP bill, while 55 percent oppose it, a figure that has grown by ten points since early last month. Several other major polls have put approval ratings for the tax plan in the same low ballpark.

One obvious reason for this unpopularity is our almost equally unpopular president. Donald Trump’s approval rating hovers around 37 percent, unprecedentedly low for a president just a year into his first term. And because the tax-reform bill is a GOP initiative, it is inextricably tied to our GOP president, which means that Americans who dislike Trump are automatically inclined to dislike the GOP tax-reform effort.

But another crucial component of the bill’s stunning lack of popularity surely stems from the amount of misinformation floating around about the substance of the bill, perpetuated by biased media outlets. Just this morning, for example, the New York Times opinion newsletter called the bill “a huge handout to corporate America,” completely ignoring the fact that the bill will lower taxes for a shocking 80.4 percent of Americans, according to the left-leaning Tax Policy Center.

Ah, but once the bill goes into effect, won’t people revise their opinions? Maybe. (That’s the sort of reasoning that those who passed Obamacare used, by the way.) It really depends on how positive the effects of the bill are, and how easily people can perceive those effects and connect them to the changes enacted by the bill. Perhaps (as Bill Clinton used to say) it all comes down to the economy, stupid. But I’ve been very impressed in recent years by how powerful propaganda is, and how it can shape perceptions even in the face of reality.

And of course it all depends on the effects of the bill actually being good for people in the real world. Another factor is when people might actually notice those effects. Some have taken place already; see this. Some are delayed, and some are very delayed—till after the 2018 election takes place. It’s complicated, like almost everything connected with our federal tax laws —and those complications make the entire topic especially ripe for propaganda.

46 Responses to “The tax bill propaganda”

  1. Sam L. Says:

    Yep! The Dems have gone bat-crap crazy…as expected.

  2. Harry the Extremist Says:

    Its exasperating hearing people like Elizabeth Warren spout off with something like this bill is theft from the middle class and handing it to the billionaires. Aside from the fact that the media dutifully repeats this stuff without question to an audience that doesnt examine anything they’re told, how to they justify saying that? In what way does people keeping more of what theyve earned back a give away for the rich?

  3. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    I’m not optimistic but would welcome being surprised.

    Given the MSM’s incessant campaign of slander, Trump’s 37% approval numbers are actually surprisingly high. Arguably, they are also a fairly good barometer of just what percentage of the American public have swallowed the Left’s lies.

    “No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.” H.L. Mencken

  4. blert Says:

    0-care has been killed through the back door.

    Getting corporate rates down is the predicate for getting manufacturing industries to stop off-shoring everything in sight.

    Robotics is going to bring manufacturing back to the USA, witness FoxConn’s Apple project. It’s a monster. It’s also massively robotic.

    The problem with cheap Red Chinese (slave) labor is that it’s not staying cheap. In many sectors, wages are moving up at 10% per year.

    This is to be expected — and expected to continue.

    The youth cohort that leaves the rice paddies to slave in air conditioned factories is falling rather drastically.

    This wage rate revolution is as stunning for the Red Chinese as was the $5 day to Americans a century ago.

    Red China has also reached total saturation WRT its export engine. It’s gotten to such an extreme that it hurts Red China’s counter-parties.

    In sum: the global trend of 1989-2016 is being broken.

    Something new will take its place.

    I’ll bet that Localism will replace Globalism.

  5. vanderleun Says:

    “What are we, the American people supposed to think? How are we to evaluate the actual effects of the actual bill?”

    Early in the coming year there will be an early in the year payday and working Americans will look at that check and see, SEE, that there is a bigger number there than there was on the previous check.

    That’s when the American public will know, KNOW, the reality of it.

    Game over.

  6. bof Says:

    Did Nancy Pelosi really call the tax bill “the worst bill in the history of the United States Congress”? Did anyone ask her to explain how it’s worse than the Fugitive Slave Act or the Indian Removal Act?

  7. parker Says:

    bof,

    Or obamacare?

    Vanderleun is correct, early on people will see more take home pay and come 4/15/18 a majority of tax payers will find their rate has decreased. Poor poor pitiful me, blue state wealthy filers will see their “fair share” increase, but hey, they are always telling us they want to pay more taxes and now their dreams will come true.

    The tax code will remain complicated without a doubt, but from what I can gather, most of us will benefit from these changes. And lowering the corporate rate is a good thing. (Personally I favor eliminating the corporate tax.)

  8. M J R Says:

    Harry the Extremist, 3:12 pm — “Its exasperating hearing people like Elizabeth Warren spout off with something like this bill is theft from the middle class and handing it to the billionaires.”

    It’s theft not from the middle class, which does get its share of goodies, Senator Fauxcahontas, but a case can in fact be made that it’s theft from your and my great(^N?)-grandchilden — unless one really believes the national debt will actually shrink as a result of the tax reform bill.

  9. Paul in Boston Says:

    “Did anyone ask her to explain how it’s worse than the Fugitive Slave Act or the Indian Removal Act?”. Those were both due to the Democratic Party, they can’t have been bad.

    A guy who works for Comcast called into Rush Limbaugh this afternoon and said that right after the bill was passed, it was announced that everyone got a $1000 bonus and all the hourly workers got a $1.50/hour raise. If you work it out, that’s a combined extra $4000 this coming year. Not bad if you’re making $50k. AT&T did something similar. You won’t read about it in the NYT, Wa Po, or from the alphabet networks anytime soon.

  10. Matt_SE Says:

    Democrats just received a major beatdown, especially with so many major companies handing out bonuses within hours of the bill’s passage.

    Dems look like fools.

  11. Barry Meislin Says:

    I wasn’t aware that Nancy Pelosi actually read any bills.

  12. Dave Says:

    I am not sure who appears on tv as Pelosi is actually Pelosi, she could be another random woman who had a ton of Botox.

  13. TommyJay Says:

    Matt_SE is right. I saw 7 major corps. promising direct kickback from the tax bill to employee’s pay, including Comcast. One wag snarked that Rachel Maddow will receive a big bonus from Comcast, for a tax effect that she claims doesn’t exist.

    Republicans are sooo bad at messaging. I wish they would hammer home the state of the economy and tax revenue as of a year ago. Corporations were leaving the U.S. via mergers and “inversions.” Tens of billions of tax revenue annually had been lost and the trend was accelerating. Ten or twenty years ago, there were a few large developed nations with worse corp. tax rates than us, but when Japan lowered their rates a couple years ago, we became the worst.

    IMO this tax bill is a corp. tax cut bill at its heart. The big exception to this notion is that Paul Ryan began the legislative work in earnest, and he wanted “comprehensive tax reform,” and so it became more of a grab bag.

    If I recall Republican commentary over the last few years correctly, there was a fairly widespread consensus in Congress (with many Dems.) that corp. rates had to be reduced. I’m guessing that on the Dem. side, this meant something like a reduction from 35% to 32%. But now, all such previous rational thinking on the left will be denied.

    So Republicans will harp on “the middle class tax cuts” because they fear they can’t successfully explain why the corp. rate was so very important. And there is a significant MCTC portion in the bill, except …

    The Republicans had the audacity to eliminate the State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction. So if you have a median or larger income and live in a tax hell-hole like NYC, NJ, IL, or CA, you could pay more in taxes. I kinda admire the chutzpah of the Reps. in sticking their necks out on this, but you know what tends to happen to extended necks. I hope they really calculated how many folks who don’t have a $1M+/year income will end up paying more.

    On the plus side, the Reps. are really playing demographic hard ball with SALT deduction elimination, just like Dems. always do. People WILL leave the tax hell-holes. Seats in the House will be transferred from high tax states to lower tax states. But the GOP will likely lose some previously safer seats located in high tax states.

  14. J.J. Says:

    A few weeks ago I sent this e-mail to my Senators and Representative. (All Dems who didn’t pay any attention. 🙁 )

    “I’m writing to encourage you to vote for the tax reduction measure now being developed in Congress. My reasons are many.
    1. Middle class Americans deserve a tax break after years of stagnant economic growth and stagnation of salaries.
    2. Corporate tax reduction will have multiple good effects. First, we have to remember that corporations don’t pay taxes, their customers pay them. The corporate tax burden is factored into the prices that customers pay. When corporations pay lower taxes they will do several things:
    a) Lower their prices to gain more sales and customers. This lowers the cost of goods and services to all customers.
    b) Build more plant or service capability to grow their earnings, which means more employees – more jobs.
    c) Buy back stock and/or pay more dividends – all good for the millions of people who hold the stocks in their retirement IRAs and 401ks.
    d) Increase employee wages, thus raising people’s standard of living.
    e) Raise management compensation. That sounds like a bad thing until you realize that those people cannot put their money under their mattresses. They will spend it, invest it, or save it – all economic activities that help grow the economy.
    All the above factors have the effect of growing the economic pie, which means more prosperity for the greatest number of people.

    3. Small businesses create even more new jobs than corporations do. That is why small business tax reduction is very, very important. More jobs means more prosperity for more people. I urge that you support lowering the top tax on small business to the 20% level as well.

    Please consider all these positive factors when evaluating this tax reduction legislation. We need to grow our economy. This bill will help do that in big and important ways.”
    ********

    The tax bill as passed isn’t perfect (There are still some loopholes, carve outs, and inequalities.) but it does encourage businesses both large and small to grow and expand and to stay here in the U.S.

    The individual tax reductions are small, but will especially help low income people who have children.

    My tax break is not much – maybe about the same as I was paying under the old system. I don’t care. The economic growth that I believe this will create should grow my investment nest egg with less risk.

    Dynamic scoring of the effects of the tax cuts show that growth above 3% per year (A growth rate that has occurred for the last two quarters without tax cuts.) will create more tax revenues to the government than the present system is providing. Going forward the deficit is more dependent on Congress getting some fiscal religion than it is on the tax bill. That probably isn’t going to happen. So, the debt will grow no matter what happens to the tax revenues.

  15. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    J.J.,

    IF the reps read past your first sentence, they stopped @ #2.

    They’re not in the least interested in facts, logic or reason.

    They’re only interested in arguments in support of their dogma.

  16. Liz Says:

    Paul in Boston – the impact of the Comcast bonus & hourly rate increase is important for several reasons. The bonus is an immediate impact right after Christmas holidays. The hourly increase is a slower way of getting a bonus. Work overtime and that 1.50 increase is $2.25 to $3.00 more, assuming double time on holidays. Future merit increases are now calculated on a higher base.

    Both increases will impact benefits if they are based on wages. If the company offers life insurance, it is usually a factor of the wages earned. Any matching contributions to a retirement plan could also be tied to the amount of wages.

    Both AT&T & Comcast are in similar fields, so they might be competing for similar techs and customer service people. Happier staff might mean better service and happier clients.

    Two banks also are raising base rates. So the competition for staffing begins. This type of competition is much better than the government forcing a higher minimum wage because if the employee can’t be a good employee, then they are a former employee, making a lower wage someplace else!

    J.J. – there is another use of the tax cut cash – reduction of debt which decreases the amount of interest paid and improves the credit rating of the company. That makes it easier to borrow again at a more favorable rate. This use of funds would impact the small business owner.

    If I was a small business owner, I think I would quickly analyze the impact of the tax cut, come up with an action plan (bonus, raise, hire, expand, capital purchases, debt reduction, etc) and be honest with employees about the plan. But, a lot of decisions will be based on the overall improvement of the economy and how it impacts the particular business.

  17. neo-neocon Says:

    I know that many people will receive positives they can see, either in the form of bonuses or lower payroll deductions. But when I wrote “It really depends on how positive the effects of the bill are, and how easily people can perceive those effects…I’ve been very impressed in recent years by how powerful propaganda is, and how it can shape perceptions even in the face of reality,” I was thinking that even when people see clear and immediate advantages for themselves, they might think that these are isolated instances, and that the bulk of people are experiencing all the negative effects the Democrats claim for the bill. That’s what I meant by the power of propaganda to shape perceptions in the face of reality.

  18. J.J. Says:

    Liz, good point about debt reduction. It reduces over all business risks and provides small business owners more access to loans when needed. Glad you mentioned that.

    Obama’s policies were so anti-business that many businesses have contracted or made plans to leave the U.S. I think we will be surprised by what happens over the next three years. The major problem I see is a lack of qualified workers to meet the demand. We might even see companies creating training programs for new employees as was the norm back in the 1950s/60s. With the computer and power point training aids that are available these days it should be a relatively easy and efficient thing to do. We’ll see.

  19. parker Says:

    Lower rates come April, 2018, more take home pay early in 2018 for the individual do not happen in a MSM propaganda vacuum. People talk around the office coffee pot, the local bar, at little league games, etc. IMO even a few hundred or a few thousand dollars in your pocket that DC doesn’t receive is a big deal for most people, regardless of their surface political identification.

    Still don’t get Cornflour’s comment, most likely because I’m a dullard. So please explain.

  20. neo-neocon Says:

    parker:

    Cornflour hasn’t commented here, but I’m assuming you mean his joke on the Al Franken (“Hmmm—we’ll see”) thread. It’s just that the leading Democrats lately have been so old—Hillary at 69 during the 2016 election, Sanders at 75, that Al Franken seems on the young side at 66. Although by 2020, he’ll be 69, Hillary’s age for the 2016 election.

  21. blert Says:

    Neo…

    It’s official.

    Al Franken is of the ME generation.

    Heck, he ‘owns’ the 80’s…

    You must know that.

  22. blert Says:

    He’s progressed…

    As any Progressive ought.

    Now he’s of the Meh Generation.

  23. Dave Says:

    Everything the left believes Obama was in reality is what Trump is, everything the left believes trump is in reality is what Obama was.

  24. Shepherd Says:

    Just as a friendly reminder, none of the companies that are paying bonuses or raising wages are doing that because the tax cuts enabled them. Wells Fargo is going to spend about $78 million to gives raises to $15 an hour. Wells Fargo is also going to save about $3.7 billion from this tax cut. Wells Fargo is also the company just caught stealing from its customers. That raise is something Wells Fargo could have done without the tax cut. It’s all messaging, throwing the Rs a propaganda bone to say thanks for the billions of dollars they csn now use to pay bonuses to the execs who robbed their customers.

    Don’t believe me? Fifth Third is raising its wages to $15 an hour too, which will cost them about 2% of their $2 billion profit THEY ALREADY MADE THIS YEAR. before the tax cuts. All these companies have been sitting on a trillion dollars in cash and could have been paying raises or hiring and they haven’t. Now they’ll get billions more that could have been spent on our military or the Wall. But instead they’ll go to rich celebs (people like Sean Penn) or corporate execs (Warren Buffet, George Soros, Harvey Weinstein), or Republican swamplords like Bob Corkee.

    Rs had a once in a lifetime chance to simplify the tax code and make it easier for Americans and instead they took a big dump on fiscal responsibility in order to play concierge to their rich donors and pay more money to Wall Street billionairs who already had enough money to make jobs and weren’t. Remember drain the swamp?? Something like half the registered lobbyists in DC worked on this bill. If this is drain the swamp, then Alabama will look like a cakewalks for the Ds next year.

  25. neo-neocon Says:

    Shepherd:

    You come along as though to demonstrate what I wrote: “It really depends on how positive the effects of the bill are, and how easily people can perceive those effects and connect them to the changes enacted by the bill.”

    As part of the propaganda war, here you—who’ve never commented at this blog before—suddenly appear. Voila! With a message that whatever positive effects people might already see, those effects are NOT connected to the bill, but are all “messaging.”

    I don’t think the readers here are especially susceptible to your “friendly reminder.” As I wrote in the post, the effects of this tax bill will emerge over time. Hopefully, whatever the truth of those effects may be, it will emerge over time and the American people will perceive that truth, rather than the spin either side gives it.

  26. Shepherd Says:

    I have posted here, a long time back. My basic message back then was: at least do your homework before you fall for something. I think that’s still true here. And this isn’t propaganda, it’s basic reasoning. If Wells Fargo, et al, needes billions of dollars in cash to pay raises and create jobs, then they should have done so already because they’re already sitting on billions of dollars in cash. This just gives them more and the Wells Fargo ceo is already on public record saying that they’ll spend this extra money on stock buy backs, not making jobs. Everything about this bill is such an obscene lie that I don’t know how anyone who cares about fiscal responsibility or basic honesty can support it. A bill that directly enriches the men who voted for it at the expense of charitable donations is as far from God and from civic responsibility as you can get.

    (I don’t know if it will personally enrich Trump, though I suspect it will, because he and he alone in modern history has refused to share his tax returns, a fundamentally basic level of disclosure and oversight that any self-respecting conservative should demand from the men he elects to govern, but we’ve abdicated that too.)

  27. Irene Says:

    Neo, I’m also very concerned about the anti-Trump propaganda effect. It’s pretty strong with my family and friends. Their local newspapers and evening news are about all they have time for and that’s over 90+% negative Trump reporting (or non-reporting if it’s good for Trump.).

    Scott Adams proposed today that a new metric be established to follow how correct our MSM prognosticators are over time. If their predictions are repeatedly incorrect, they need to step aside. Would love to see it happen, but shame seems to be in short supply these days and I doubt anything would get them to step aside.

  28. Irene Says:

    @Shepherd
    “A bill that directly enriches the men who voted for it at the expense of charitable donations is as far from God and from civic responsibility as you can get.”

    First off, with tax reform, if you itemize – and most wealthier people will – you can still deduct your charitable contributions. Secondly, for those who take the standard deduction, since it’s doubled now, I’m pretty sure most people will still donate to their favorite charities.

    But, since you brought up charity and God, maybe you should consider that charity pre-dates income tax deductions by thousands and thousands of years. Good people the world over have started and contributed to charities without ever having given any thought to a tax benefit for themselves.

  29. AesopFan Says:

    Barry Meislin Says:
    December 21st, 2017 at 6:04 pm
    I wasn’t aware that Nancy Pelosi actually read any bills.
    * *
    Zing!

  30. AesopFan Says:

    Irene Says:
    December 22nd, 2017 at 12:28 am
    @Shepherd
    “A bill that directly enriches the men who voted for it at the expense of charitable donations is as far from God and from civic responsibility as you can get.”

    First off, with tax reform, if you itemize – and most wealthier people will – you can still deduct your charitable contributions.
    * *
    Good catch.
    Shepherd is typical of the lying that occurs in the media as well as on blogs.

  31. AesopFan Says:

    Geoffrey Britain Says:
    December 21st, 2017 at 3:19 pm
    I’m not optimistic but would welcome being surprised.

    Given the MSM’s incessant campaign of slander, Trump’s 37% approval numbers are actually surprisingly high. Arguably, they are also a fairly good barometer of just what percentage of the American public have swallowed the Left’s lies.
    * *
    Interesting point. It should be applied to all polls that depend on the POV of LIVs.

  32. AesopFan Says:

    Paul in Boston Says:
    December 21st, 2017 at 5:34 pm
    …You won’t read about it in the NYT, Wa Po, or from the alphabet networks anytime soon.
    * * *
    A good companion observation to the point Geoffrey made. How can anyone have a credible opinion about things when they don’t get half (or more) of the story?

  33. AesopFan Says:

    neo-neocon Says:
    December 21st, 2017 at 9:09 pm
    … I was thinking that even when people see clear and immediate advantages for themselves, they might think that these are isolated instances, and that the bulk of people are experiencing all the negative effects the Democrats claim for the bill. That’s what I meant by the power of propaganda to shape perceptions in the face of reality.
    * * *
    This attitude can be seen in many different areas.
    “All lawyers are crooks” except the one guy that I hired and he was really nice.
    “All politicians are crooks” but I like my Rep and will keep voting for him.
    See also the Murray Gell-Mann effect (“I know the news reports in my field are terrible, but what they print on the next page about someone else’s field must be true”).
    Works in psychology: “everyone else is better than I am” and any subject where you only have personal anecdotal evidence to go on, and have to get reports about other people — and those reports may not even be true (Da, Comrade Stalin?).

  34. The Other Chuck Says:

    There was a bit of spite built into this tax reform bill by limiting the SALT deduction to $10,000. Combined with the elimination of personal exemptions, people who have high state taxes will most likely be hurt. There are also some hidden changes that could affect a lot of people. Those who have taken a cash-out home mortgage refi will no longer qualify for an interest deduction.

    These changes will be ripe targets for Democrats. I think they will be seen as unforced errors. Republicans didn’t need to play into their hands.

  35. Shepherd Says:

    AesopFan,

    Irene said you can still itemize and deduct your charitable donations IF YOU’RE RICH. How many of us are rich? One more example of DJT supercharging the swamp, not draining it. He sold everyone a lie that he would help little guys against Wall Street but everything he’s done has been to loot America for his billionaire friends and cabinet members. I’m tearing out my hair trying to figure out how any conservative can think a bill like this, which creates $1.5 trillion in unfunded liabilities so Bon Corker can get even richer, is anything but a slap in our faces.

  36. Shepherd Says:

    And you want to talk about lies? Every Republican in Congress said this bill was about tax cuts for the middle class. Paul Ryan said “The entire purpose of this is to lower middle class taxes.” But DJT, bless his heart, blurted out as soon as the bill was passed that the corporate cut was the main reason for the bill—a cut for corporate owners like him and his dynasytic heirs. And when Rubio asked for a 20.94 % corporate rate to pay for a higher child tax credit, the R leadership told him that would ruin the economy. But then those same Rs raised the corporate rate to 21% anyway to pay for a lower top rate, basically raising taxes on middle class moms and dads so Donald Trump can take home another few million (???) a year. It’s like the foxes got into the henhouse but they’re telling us not to worry because they brought eggs with them.

    What happened to conservative virtues like fiscal responsibility or skeptical oversight of our public servants? Are you all so eager for partisan advantage that you’re willing to unquestioningly welcome someone from the government, here to help? Conservatives are supposed to be suspicious of big promises masking obvious lies. We’re supposed to demand honesty and accountability from the people we choose to work for our common good. We don’t even have DJT’s tax returns. Unquestioning, fawning obedience to hero leaders is supposed to be a thing for the Ds, not us, but here we are debating whether we can even criticize our politicians without being called propagandists or liars. What’s conservative about that??

  37. BrianE Says:

    Shepherd,

    Do you agree that a strong manufacturing base is vital to the middle class?

    This tax bill is a good start for that by lowering the corporate tax rate, which at least will make COGS a little closer to foreign competitors.

    That will help the middle class, if more jobs stay in the country, and some companies bring manufacturing back to the states. The repatriation of profits from overseas operations being returned to the states can be a boon to expansion, which will be good for the middle class– good paying construction and manufacturing jobs.

    Lowering the corporate tax rate just brings us in line with most of the world.

    If you take the time, you’ll notice that other countries aren’t particularly happy with this new tax structure, since it will put pressure on their business investment– some of which will move here. Good for the middle class.

    “The final bill increases the standard deduction to $12,000 for single taxpayers and $24,000 for those married filing jointly.

    So, Who’s Happy?

    Low-income taxpayers. By doubling the standard deduction, the bill creates a larger “zero percent” bracket, effectively removing many from the tax rolls. To illustrate, under current law, a married couple with no children would be entitled to a $12,700 standard deduction and two personal exemptions of $4,100 each, for total deductions of $20,900. This means that the couple would have to earn more than $20,900 before it could conceivably generate a tax bill.

    Under the new law, however, that same couple would be entitled to a standard deduction of $24,000. Thus, despite the loss of personal exemptions (more on that next), the couple would now have to earn more than $24,000 before they can owe tax, an increase in their 0% bracket of $3,100.

    In addition, this is a move that undeniably adds simplicity to the law. By doubling the standard deduction, nearly 27 million more taxpayers will claim the standard rather than itemize in 2018, negating the need to keep records of things like charitable contributions or medical expenses.”

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/anthonynitti/2017/12/16/the-tax-bill-is-finalized-whos-happy-and-whos-not/#2634196c2288

    As to wealthier taxpayers, its a mixed bag. Higher income tax payers in blue states might see their taxes rise slightly. But not all high incomes will be disadvantaged. The highest marginal tax rate was lowered– but those are the folks that already pay the bulk of income taxes.

    It would be nice if legislation could be pristine in its effects– but that’s the process of legislative compromise.

    IF you think back to Obamacare, many middle class business people were hurt by it’s passage, as their health insurance bills rose sharply compared to the rest of Americans. It wasn’t fair, and I’m sure you were complaining about those inequalities at the time.

  38. BrianE Says:

    “And you want to talk about lies? Every Republican in Congress said this bill was about tax cuts for the middle class. Paul Ryan said “The entire purpose of this is to lower middle class taxes.” But DJT, bless his heart, blurted out as soon as the bill was passed that the corporate cut was the main reason for the bill—a cut for corporate owners like him and his dynasytic heirs.”- Shepherd

    Really, Shepherd. It was never a secret that the tax bill was about reducing the corporate tax rate to an amount closer to the rest of the world. IF you didn’t know that, you weren’t paying attention.

    While I’m not a fan of the increased potential debt, let’s talk in a couple of years. The increased economic activity will make up for the lowered tax rates– both corporate and individual. But as revenues to the government start to grow– the job will be preventing congress from spending that new found wealth, and then some.

    We need a balanced budget amendment.

  39. DNW Says:

    “What’s conservative about that??”

    Zeroing out the ObamaCare mandate penalty, is.

    Freedom first, chump.

    Only a partial a victory but worth every penny it might cost. This country is not worth preserving as a house of groveling slaves and ass sniffing bonobos, nor is a civil relationship with those willing accomplices within worth sustaining.

  40. neo-neocon Says:

    Shepherd:

    By the way—nope, no one with your identifying characteristics has ever posted a comment on this blog before. So if you are telling the truth and have commented here “a long time back,” as you say, it was as a different person coming from a different place and bearing different tracking identifiers.

    You also are coming from an area that makes me think you may (accent on the “may”) be an old and familiar troll from “way back.” Your style is a bit different from that old troll, so I’m not sure that you are he and he is you. It’s possible, however. He periodically makes appearances here in different guises.

  41. Eric J. Says:

    Get ready next year to read (or ignore) a constant stream of articles explaining how the booming economy is entirely due to long term effects of Obama-era policies that are now in danger.

  42. Frog Says:

    Most Americans don’t know shit about taxes or about the economy.
    We cannot fix that.
    The MSM, the hold-over Goebbels machine that cannot be killed, will surely not fix anything either.
    Despite Trump, our descent into some form of totalitarianism is inevitable. Unless Civil War II.
    Happy Holidays!

  43. Shepherd Says:

    Look, you can engage my arguments or you can obsess over whether I’m a troll, your call. But I only see anyone here making that accusation when someone disagrees with the R party talking points. Maybe you should look into whether some of your Bob Corker enrichment cheerleaders are trolls here to make conservatives look like toadies who will mindlessly defend any bill no matter how bad as long as it comes feom an R.

    I hope this bill boosts the economy, even if only as an accidental byproduct of further enriching DJT (who repeatedly lied and said the bill would be bad for him). I’m most excited about the corporate and passthrough cuts that will help entrepreneurs. If anyone is going to save this country, it’s small business owners. It’s definitely not going to be the big companies that were already sitting on almost $2 trillion in cash. If they were going to create jobs with extra money, THEY ALREADY HAD THE MONEY. They could have done it any time. And no, manufacturing jobs are never, ever coming back. Free trade with China gutted our manufacturing but automation killed it. Think the opioid crisis is bad now? Wait until Elon Musk’s robotrucks wipe out trucking jobs. The trucking industry employs something like one in eight Americans, at least those with jobs. Every new factory employs a fraction of what they used to because of automation. Robots are starting to do the jobs of radiologists. No jobs are safe. But profits sure are.

    I’d love to see Oacare go. Anything that requires me to pay my money to a private company by law is an atrocity. But this bill just gets rid of the tax that funded part of it. All the liabilities are still there, they’re just unfunded. Now we’ll pay for OCare 100% with borrowing. So conservative! R party leadership is a joke. They have all three branches of gov and couldn’t repeal OCare bc they never bothered to come up with their own plan. Lied for years about replacing it. Just like the corporate owners who lie and say they just need a few billion more $ to start hiring. Bon Corker only voted for the bill when they added something to enrich him personally. This makes me sick as an American. R leadership IS the swamp and we need to clean house or all of the map next year will look like Virginia just did.

  44. neo-neocon Says:

    Shepherd:

    I’m not obsessing over whether you are a troll. You clearly are a troll—and that includes your use of the word “obsessing” when our exchanges have been few and brief.

    I was merely curious about whether you actually had been here before, and whether you are in fact a particular troll I’ve had a lot of experience with before, an unusually tenacious troll from Canada. You may or may not be.

    Since you’re from Canada, however, I wonder why you write as though you’re an American. Of course, Americans sometimes live in Canada or visit for long or short times, and depending on their resident status they are sometimes covered under the Canadian system and sometimes not.

    As for your substantive arguments, people have responded. I’m actually planning a post on one of the topics you raised, the effect of the bill on charitable giving, because that topic interests me and because it’s a fairly complex one as opposed to the simplifications propagandists (from any side) offer.

  45. Shepherd Says:

    I am not a troll and I am NOT a Canadian, though I am partial to the Moose Milk introduced to me by the Canadian soldiers I served with. No idea why I’d be showing up as a Canadian. I’m from VA, just switched ISPs so maybe that’s it?

  46. jAY CEE Says:

    Are you quoting the same pollsters that predicted a Hilary win? Most pollsters are DNC shills and unreliable
    reality shows us.

About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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