Just when I thought the GOP couldn’t screw things up more than they already have, lo and behold, they produce a tax relief/quasi-reform bill that Democrats would (if they were honest with themselves and the people) proudly promulgate and foist on the American people. Why can’t the GOP do anything right? When will we ever have another opportunity to stimulate growth in our economy as we could do right now? That is a rhetorical question. But for those of you who are not catching my drift, the answer is “We won’t; not in our lifetimes, at least, and if the history of all successful civilizations that have come before us is any barometer, not in any succeeding generations either.
How’s that for optimism? Look, all is not gloom and doom yet. If, by some miracle, 51 Republicans vote “Yea” on the Senate’s version for the tax bill, then the bill will go to conference with the House, and something will emerge for the President to sign. That something will most likely have provisions for phased in corporate tax relief. That is not as good as the mind-numbingly simple notion that the relief should come no later than 1 January, 2018, but something is better than nothing. For all those who do not understand that a rising tide lifts all boats, take some time to read Adam Smith and Milton Friedman. They didn’t write in innuendo. They wrote and spoke in terms backed by data and results. So let’s grant the GOP that there is still a possibility that some form of corporate tax relief is headed our way. Praise the Lord.
What about the people and the more direct impact on their wallets? The House and Senate plans are not totally dissimilar. Again, if the bills actually get to conference, a compromise will most likely be achieved. But what exactly have they done? Let me help you. Both Houses of Congress capitulated. They are so browbeaten by the Obama era populist 1% refrain that they are scared to even propose any legislation that actually helps the people who pay 80% of the federal taxes. They are proposing tax relief for the 20%! Don’t get me wrong. I am happy for any help we can provide to our middle class. But a tax relief bill that focuses solely on those who pay a small percentage of the taxes does not address the problem. It is a bandaid on a severed artery. The point is that the 80% pay anywhere from 35% to 43% of every dollar they make today in federal taxes-including the hidden Obama-care tax that will remain in place. Those numbers are simply not going to change in any material manner.
I haven’t dug deeply enough, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see that both bills have features that provide relief to those who don’t even pay any taxes now! What on earth has happened to common sense? That is another rhetorical question. The answer, for those who are refusing to follow along here, is that the GOP is scared to do the right thing. Our representatives know that doing the right thing exposes them to being accused of promoting a tax bill about which Democrats can accuse them of favoring the wealthy. God forbid! I mean, what benefit could be derived from a tax bill that cuts taxes for the people who pay all the taxes? That is simply not acceptable.
We are intellectually bereft. Our Democrat politicians talk in populist sound bites aimed solely at creating division and envy, and our Republican party (divided and fractured as it is) is now petrified of taking positions that are right for our economy but can easily be used as weapons of deceit by the Democrats.
The only hope I can see for meaningful tax relief/reform is is the GOP passes the compromise bill coming out of conference, and then somehow, someway, it introduces further relief and reform next year.
Then there is the death tax-known more formally as the estate tax. What a joke. First, the death tax is materially irrelevant. The revenue generated by the death tax is meaningless. Yet the notion of abolishing the death tax is to Democrats as luscious a talking point as a juicy steak left on the counter for dinner is to a labrador alone in the kitchen. Democrats have a field day with this red herring. Earlier today, I wrote “…what an amazing discussion. How have we arrived at a place where citizens of our great country think it is perfectly ok for the long arm of government to take money (money that has been earned and on which taxes have been paid) away from a family simply because the principal has died? It is preposterous. It is no one’s business what the family does with its money. Nowhere in our Constitution is it decreed that fellow citizens must decide how one’s hard earned money should be judiciously redistributed following one’s death. The entire conversation is preposterous. Yet that is where we find ourselves. Woe are we.”
A refutation was not long in coming from someone on the left. He replied, “The estate tax…(is) like other taxes helps fund your military, healthcare, highways, parks, welfare for farmers, your congress, president, etc. You won’t need it because your dead. Your kids won’t need more than 50% of it because you taught them to be self sufficient and you want them to have some semblance of success all on their own. If you got creative you donated it to charitable causes minimizing the estate tax. Remember nobody got rich on their own. And the constitution doesn’t preclude an estate tax…our kids and their kids don’t need huge trust funds that last several generations. It robs them of a life. They need to wait tables, bag groceries, mow lawns, go to college and get a job. This is what builds character and self esteem which will ultimately bring satisfaction. A 50% estate tax over 10 million won’t kill our country club pals. Indeed doing away with the estate tax will create more depression in our kiddos who have done little but rely on parents after spending summers at air conditioned camp, Traveling to Europe, and playing golf at (a country) club.”