The Washington Post has a report citing ambiguous White House-linked sources who are claiming that “advisers” to Donald Trump are considering a proposal for a new “minimum tax on corporations” meant to patch one of the most glaring corporate giveaways in the 2017 Republican tax law, and it is not often you read a news story in a major newspaper that is so obviously and transparently fictional.
This much of it is true: The Post notes that the theoretical idea is being “floated” because Republicans are realizing that their massive corporate tax cuts, dropping the federal taxes of some of the nation’s companies to the awkward rate of zero, remains a huge liability with voters. Some election-year spin is necessary to convince voters that Actually, the party does give a damn about such things, even against decades of evidence to the contrary. The rest of the Republican-sourced Washington Post article consists of that very spin, provided by anonymous sources for transparently partisan reasons so that the spin can do its public work.
We are told, by some anonymous person “involved in” the discussions of a new tax cut package, that Donald J. Trump “wants this to be really targeted for people in the middle.” We have no actual evidence for this, and this White House lies aggressively, all the time, every single day, about Trump having motives at odds with his actions, so it seems nonsensical to publish such an anonymous claim.
We are told that this proposal of a new “minimum” corporate tax to counteract public ire is not even a proposal, but merely the suggestion of a possible proposal, in “preliminary” form, evidently not even close to being proposed to Trump directly, and that it may never actually see the light of day. Conveniently, however, the Republican spinners anonymously informing the Post of these theoretical White House concerns have managed to put claims of that concern into a paper of record, based solely on their extremely anonymous say-so, so that the public can read about it.
We are told that the historically and astonishingly incompetent Larry F-king Kudlow is the “economic adviser” leading the development of the new tax plan. If anything, that should only give evidence that whatever proposals are actually floating around White House halls will be deficit-busting, regulation-stripping, loophole-pockmarked, oligarchy-promoting, mini-monarchical, economy-punching atrocities. There is nothing about the past Kudlow oeuvre that suggests even passing concern for the equity-less yokels being left behind by past Republican tax glories.
All we know, then, is that (1.) Republicans in or around the Trump White House have been reading enough polls to know that the spin spun around the 2017 tax plan has fallen flat, and (2.) in response to this they are going to possibly roll out a version “2.0” that they will claim this time truly, for real, fixes the gross and intentional f-ckery of the last version.
There’s your news. Everything else is just spin-promotion.
As far as punditry goes, when analyzing these too-convenient bits of election year spin, the most trodden path is the safest here. We can estimate what is most likely to happen by what did happen when this same crowd tackled this same issue under the same pretenses and with the same advisers last time around. A proposal may be made: It will be made primarily as campaign fodder, with no chance of passing a non-insane House. It may indeed include would-be “toughening” of corporate rules; lo and behold, if implemented those parts will have their teeth removed, one by one, by administration regulatory fiat. There will be elements intended to “offset” the supposed new toughness of some bits by loosening corporate taxes elsewhere; those newly weakened provisions will, conveniently, be made far more robust.
We do not need to so gullibly believe everything the most dishonest, hoax-infused, conspiracy-premised, and aggressively gaslighting White House in our history puts out through squishy anonymous claims. It is not violating neutrality to point out that the whole premise of these “sources” coming forward is to push claims of White House concern for the rabble that has been, to date, completely absent, being pushed now because that concern may never rise any farther than a suggestion of a proposal of a maybe-plan that does not yet exist. We do not need to be gullible on purpose—please.