Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Big Tax Fraud

Stephen Crowley/The New York Times
The Biggest Tax Fraud in History
President Trump is billing his new tax plan as the biggest tax cut in history. Inspired by his hyperbole, I’d call it the biggest tax heist in history. My column explains why.
Reuters looked at recent Congressional and other investigations and how they were staffed. It found that the House committee investigating Benghazi devoted 46 staff to its investigation. The Iran-Contra investigation had 181 staffers on the case. The 2004 special commission investigating intelligence on WMD had 88 investigators. Meanwhile, the Senate Intelligence Committee has just seven staffers investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.
The United States is the global outlier in its failure to assure paid family leaves; only 12 percent of private sector workers get paid parental leave. This report notes that while maternal leaves are stagnant, paternal leaves are rising — and that in any case the beneficiaries of paid leave tend to be affluent, educated parents, not, say, low-income single moms.
I’m of course appalled by President Trump’s denunciations of the news media as enemies of the people, but I do think that we journalists have a credibility problem and that we’re not sufficiently diverse in all kinds of ways. This article notes that a majority of publishing jobs are now in counties that Hillary Clinton won by 30 percentage points or more. That makes it all the more important that journalists work hard to try to cover the rest of America.
And now here’s my column about Trump’s tax policy. We’ve sent this newsletter out early because although it’s nominally my Thursday column, we posted today since it’s tied to the news. Read!

This Isn’t Tax Policy; It’s a Trump-Led Heist

What do you do if you’re a historically unpopular new president, with a record low approval rating by 14 points, facing investigations into the way Russia helped you get elected, with the media judging your first 100 days in office as the weakest of any modern president?
Why, you announce a tax cut!
And in your self-absorbed way, you announce a tax cut that will hugely benefit yourself. Imagine those millions saved! You feel better already!
I’m deeply skeptical that President Trump will manage to get a tax reform package passed into law, and that’s just as well. Trump’s new tax “plan” (more like an extremely vague plan for a plan) is an irresponsible, shameless, budget-busting gift to zillionaires like himself.
This isn’t about “jobs,” as the White House claims. If it were, it might cut employment taxes, which genuinely do discourage hiring. Rather, it’s about huge payouts to the wealthiest Americans — and deficits be damned! If Republicans embrace this “plan” after all their hand-wringing about deficits and debt, we should build a Grand Monument to Hypocrisy in their honor.

No comments: