Jesse Baca / Flickr gary cohn walking...
Jesse Baca / Flickr

This is the big one. The cause for which Republicans are willing to overlook any number of racist incidents, Russian intrigues, and plain old incompetence. They may have flopped on health care, but that was merely a checkbox on their list of campaign promises. This one really counts.

President Donald Trump’s top aides and congressional leaders have made significant strides in shaping a tax overhaul, moving far beyond the six-paragraph framework pushed out in July that stoked fears about their ability to deliver on one of the GOP’s top priorities.

The plan starts with limiting people’s ability to deduct home mortgage interest, and no longer allowing state or local taxes to be deducted from federal taxes—both changes that would hit lower and middle class workers. Better still, Republican states often have low state and local taxes, making up the difference by getting more money from the federal government. So losing the state income tax deduction would most affect people in Democratic states like California and New York. That obviously makes it a winner for Republicans.

Plus, there’s this gem of an idea ,,,

One idea quietly being discussed would be taxing the money that workers place into their 401(k) savings plans up front: an idea that would raise billions of dollars in the short-term …

What does all this misery for working class tax payers buy? Cutting the rate for corporations to 20 percent or lower, and giving corporations a pass on money kept overseas—proposals that, even with the rob from the workers to give to the corporations plan, will run up a huge deficit.

While Republicans are absolute budget hawks when it comes to a single dollar of social spending, they’re willing to cut tax revenue by hundreds of billions.

“Yes, we will be open to losing tax revenues in these early years,” Kevin Brady, chairman of the Way and Means Committee, said at a tax event at Ronald Reagan’s California ranch. … 

The contention is that reducing taxes will actually cause such a boost in the economy that ultimately it will lead to increased revenues. It’s the same supply-side, trickle-down economics that has worked nowhere and never. It’s a federal version of the plan that devastated Kansas, but is somehow still being put forward as a serious plan for many other states.

Republicans are discussing softening the apparent impact of their monster cuts by making them “temporary,” a move that would allow Republicans to run in the future against anyone who suggested letting the cuts expire, by painting them as calling for the “biggest tax increase in history.” Because every tax increase is always the biggest tax increase in history — as long as you’re willing to make history long enough.

But there’s more to the “temporary” tax idea than just sticking it to future Democrats. By mixing in a pretense that some cuts are temporary while increases are permanent, Republicans might be able to develop estimates that show the cuts as not having an impact over a ten year period. That’s especially true if they do the scoring themselves rather than letting it go to the nonpartisan CBO, a move they threatened to make on the health care bill. Then, having declared themselves good, they could pass the bill through “reconciliation,” making it proof against Senate filibusters.

To put this plan together, the Trump campaign has been discussing taxes across the country.

The Trump administration has been marching toward tax reform for months, holding listening sessions with CEOs and conservative groups and doing much more outreach than it did leading up to the effort to repeal Obamacare.

CEOs. Conservative groups. Sounds like there’s no one else to engage.

The self-named “Big 6” (National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Finance Chair Orrin Hatch, and Ways & Means Committee Chair Kevin Brady) have been briefing conservative groups weekly on their progress toward tax reform, building up excitement and support. Though they haven’t shared their plans to cut state deductions and tax 401K plans with the general public.

The Republican plan, in which workers are punished so that corporations, already enjoyed the highest profits in history, can get enormous cuts, represents the ultimate expression of the Republican philosophy. Corporations don’t need employees. Corporations “create jobs” for people out of their benevolence. A benevolence that can only be gained through sacrifice.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


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