Taxes may be boring. And Donald Trump has done a lot of bad things. But in the long run—despite what I admit is stiff competition—his tax plan may do more harm than anything else.
Inequality is America’s most fundamental problem. Most of our other problems are rooted in our awful inequalities of wealth and power. We should be attacking inequality relentlessly at the federal level. This tax plan is not just a failure to do that; it is actually a statement that our federal government will be doing everything in its power to make inequality worse.
I will offer only the caveat that though this tax plan will be branded as “Trump’s” tax plan, it would be more accurate to call it the Republican Inequality Promotion Plan—it is the culmination of goals that the entire Republican Party has held for decades. Namely, to funnel more wealth to the rich at all costs. What will these proposals mean?
- This plan lowers the tax rate on the highest earners and raises the lowest tax rate.
- This plan will add trillions of dollars to the U.S. deficit, despite the Republican insistence that they are the anti-deficit party.
- The entire premise of these huge tax cuts—that they will spur job creation and other economic activity by companies, which will benefit the vast middle class of workers—has been disproven in practice. It doesn’t work! What companies have been shown to do after huge tax cuts is to buy back their own stock, raising their stock price and giving a raise to their executives. What does this do for average workers? Less than nothing. But those executives will now have to pay even less taxes on the raises they are certain to give themselves, so that’s nice.
- This plan repeals the estate tax, which only applies to couples with estates worth more than $11 million—the top 0.2% of richest people in America. This repeal alone would save Donald Trump’s family and the family of several of his cabinet members hundreds of millions of dollars each.
- It will preserve the foolish (but beloved) mortgage interest tax break for homeowners—but changes will ensure that only “people with very large charitable contributions or million-dollar homes will benefit from it.”
- This plan will allow many rich business owners to lower their own tax rates from nearly 40% to 25%.
- This plan will funnel hundreds of billions of dollars into the pockets of the rich at a time of persistent and growing inequality. The richest 1% of Americans now control almost 39% of our nation’s wealth, up from 36% just four years ago. The Republican tax plan will make the concentration of wealth worse, not better.
- The president and his top officials are lying about the effects of this tax plan to the public. Lying. Telling stone cold lies. Provable untruths. Lies.
- Sorry to repeat this one but HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS THAT WOULD HAVE GONE INTO THE PUBLIC TREASURY WILL INSTEAD GO INTO THE POCKETS OF THE TRUMP FAMILY AND THE FAMILIES OF HIS CABINET MEMBERS.
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This is what the class war looks like. A bunch of percentages. Not as dramatic as we might wish. Instead of just seeing this as a tax plan, see this as a statement of direction. For at least four more years we will only be moving in one direction: deeper into the pit.