Third Party & Independents Archives

Can Real Tax Reform Ever Get Done in America?

Do the math. If you do the math. When you do the math.

There’s a new tax plan from the administration, rather than Congress. What are people - especially on the Republican side of the aisle - saying? Do the math. What is this? An obsession with algebra? No, of course not. What they mean is that any tax cut or spending program has to be, or should be, revenue neutral. Congress has, understandably, placed itself in a straightjacket where you can get slightly fatter, But never thinner. You can raise spending. You can raise taxes. But you can’t raise the deficit.

Why? Do the math. Total outstanding debt obligations are around 20 trillion and will keep growing. Any exogenous shock to the system by any black swan event, or a policy change on the part of, say, Asian Sovereign Wealth Funds, and interest rates shoot up. Even in America. Over 20 trillion in debt in a rapidly rising interest-rate environment (it's already a modest rising interest rate environment) and your interest payments become overwhelming and absorb a huge slice of government spending. Do the math. So you can't ever ever again raise the deficit. By too much that is. Just a few dozen billion here and there. Pennies on the dollar in D.C. speak.

Theoretically, even given the Congressional legislative or rule-based budget constraints, you should be able to cut taxes, as long as you cut spending. As long as moderate GOP senators don't join with every Democrat senator and vote it down. Do the math. 52 is less than 60. So is 48, for example. Reconciliation? Maybe ... but do the math.

Could Reagan have ever got his tax cuts done in 1986 with current Congressional rules on spending and taxes? Where for every tax cut you need a tax raise? Likely no. Did Reagan's tax cuts drive up deficits? For which Bush 41 got blamed? And from which Clinton reaped enormous benefits as the creative energies unleashed by the tax cuts in the late 80's built the base for the boom in the 90's? Uh, yes!

Can Trump get this tax cut done? Mnuchin looks like a joyful but slightly evil Clark Kent. Cohn looks like a good-natured, athletic Daddy Warbucks. Never mind that they're basically New York Democrats. They will be reviled by what is now Sander's and NARAL's party as Wall Street plutocrats out to help their neighbors at the posh end of Long Island. Even if those tax cuts would unleash all sorts of investment in America, by American companies, that would be for American consumers. Although it would also benefit consumers around the world with new, better, and even cheaper products and services. And you bet, it would indeed make their Long Island neighbors even wealthier in the process.

But the tax proposal has a long way to go: through the halls of Congress, past lobbyists, around interest groups, and into that straightjacket that Congress depends on to keep deficits under some level of control. And there it will have to squirm and wiggle like an inmate in a mental institution in the 60's. Will it survive in some form? Paul Ryan won't even have to sneak in late at night and place a pillow over it's face and suffocate it. It's already in a straightjacket.

Can real tax reform ever get done in America with current Congressional rules? Would anyone ever dare to Undo the Math? Where's Superman??

Posted by AllardK at April 27, 2017 4:35 PM
Comments
Comment #415617

So that’s it? That’s the plan?

This administration has had months to come up with something. It is not like the idea of tax reform legislation was a total surprise sprung on them last week. Trump and his administration said they wanted to do this. No one forced them. This should be one of the three or four major pieces of legislation to be presented, the product of dozens of top flight minds coming up with a comprehensive proposal after months of deliberation.

Instead, two guys from Goldman Sachs wave around a single piece of paper which is little more than an outline, double spaced. The press peppers them with a couple off-the-cuff questions. They can’t answer them. It’s like they came up with this 10 minutes before the presentation. How will the plan affect 401k’s? Don’t know. The plan will do nothing for the poor or middle class, only corporations and the richest of the rich. They smile sheepishly. How will the tax cuts be paid for? They shrug and say the cuts will pay for themselves through growth. No one in the room believes them. They don’t even believe it themselves.

The sheer incompetence of this administration is mind boggling.

And that is what is it. Incompetence. We see a pattern. We see it with the Immigration EO’s and the Obamacare repeal and replace. No one knows what they are doing. No one does any preparation. There is no attempt to build coalitions and consensus. Someone rushes out an EO or piece of legislation and it blows up, either because it is flat out unconstitutional or it is so horrible, the majority party who voted over 60 times over the past 7 years won’t even vote on it.

Gross incompetence. I keep telling myself there is no way a majority party would shut down the government- shut itself down- by failing to pass a CR, if nothing else. Now I’m beginning to wonder.

Well, the fish rots from the head down.

Posted by: phx8 at April 28, 2017 12:59 AM
Comment #415698

Well, the fish rots from the head down.
Posted by: phx8 at April 28, 2017 12:59 AM

Being closer to the Democrat Party and its Socialist members I am certain the smell is stronger for you phx8.

The CR appears to contain some compromise which is how this stuff is supposed to work. Trump and the Right got increased defense spending, more border security money and more school choice money.

Frankly, I don’t really give a damn what the Democrats “claim” they got.

Posted by: Royal Flush at May 2, 2017 2:57 PM
Comment #415699

The GOP & Democrats compromised on the CR. They just didn’t bother to fulfill Trump’s campaign promises.

Trump is so pleased with the results, he says we need a “good shutdown” of the government in September. He even sent out his Budget Director, who said “we might need a shutdown at some point.” Yeah, nothing spells ‘success’ like threatening to shut down your own government! Sean Spicer celebrated by canceling the daily press briefing.

Posted by: phx8 at May 2, 2017 3:07 PM
Comment #415701

I watched the Budget Director take questions today phx8 and it is sad to read your interpretation of what he actually said.

The Left can’t handle the truth so it simply makes shit up.

Posted by: Royal Flush at May 2, 2017 3:13 PM
Comment #415709

Here is what Mulvaney said:

“I think the president is frustrated with the fact that he negotiated in good faith with the Democrats and they went out to try to spike the football and make him look bad.”

“We’ve got a lot to do between now and September. I don’t anticipate a shutdown in September, but if the Democrats aren’t going to behave any better than they have in the last couple of days, it may be inevitable.”

Reporter: “How would a shutdown clean up the mess?”

“Sooner or later, we’ll have to start doing something different. If we get to September and it is still business as usual, business as usual, business as usual and nothing changes, and takes a shutdown to change it, I have no problem with that.”

Let’s face it. Trump is not a good negotiator. He took office after losing the popular vote. That would seem to call for a moderate approach with lots of cooperation and coalition building. Instead of playing both sides against the middle, instead of using both sides to pass legislation, he tacked to the far right, disparaged Democrats at every opportunity, and now he can’t do anything at all.

Posted by: phx8 at May 2, 2017 4:00 PM
Comment #415711

phx8, Did you watch the Press Briefing?

Posted by: Rich KAPitan at May 2, 2017 4:22 PM
Comment #415714

The Left appears pleased that so far, the Republicans have not been able to agree on replacing Obamacare. I find that interesting. It’s like being pleased that your doctor has told you that you will die in one year; rather than next month.

Watching Obamacare twist in the wind and die slowly will not be pretty and could cost the Dems seats in 2018.

Posted by: Royal Flush at May 2, 2017 5:37 PM
Comment #415718

lol. Obamacare is fine. There are some fixes that would improve it, like including a public option on the exchange, or lowering the age for Medicare eligibility to 55, but left to itself, Obamacare will continue to do all right.

Personally, I think the deductibles and premiums are too high, so ultimately I would rather see single payer/Medicare for all/universal health care. But until someone comes along with something better, this is what we have, and it is better than nothing.

Posted by: phx8 at May 2, 2017 6:11 PM
Comment #415724

While I have backed up my claim of Obamacare’s coming demise with links to factual sources, phx8 just LOL’s in vain.

It is laughable to read him complain about “deductibles and premiums” being too high as he is subsidized by me and others.

Posted by: Royal Flush at May 2, 2017 6:44 PM
Comment #415728

RF,
I’m pretty sure it’s me subsidizing you.

Posted by: phx8 at May 2, 2017 9:09 PM
Comment #415731

Can a real anything get done in America anymore? I think we are seeing “small” moneygrubberment instead of governance, thanks to the one party that runs both houses of Congress and the administration. The master negotiator has fallen flat on his face each and every time out of the chutes. How long until our conservatives friends here on WB wake up to the facts?

Donald Trump is a clown and he is turning the swamp into a circus. If only he could stop the elephants from drooling all over themselves. The only bright spot in these best of all time first 100 days of the Trump administration, yeah what a joke, is Tillerson isn’t as dumb as the clown that appointed him. Wonder how long before he jumps ship?

Trump refuses to accept responsibility for his terrible political skills, his inability to produce anything worth passing into law and his inability to unite his own party in repealing a law they voted almost 50 tim…oh wait that isn’t the problem, it is replacing the ACA with something that works. Seems to me the joke is on the people of this country that actually believed Trump was telling the truth during the campaign. All those tea baggers fell for the “All hat no cattle” guy once again!

Posted by: j2t2 at May 2, 2017 10:14 PM
Comment #415734

I guess I may have been a bit to tough on clowns, what with likening them to Trump and such. SO to the good clowns of this country I apologize.

Posted by: j2t2 at May 2, 2017 10:55 PM
Comment #415741

“How long until our conservatives friends here on WB wake up to the facts?”

Probably about the same time our liberal friends here on WB stop name calling and yapping about hyperbole and conspiracy theory, and start dealing with actual facts.

This Maxine Waters BS is getting old.

Posted by: kctim at May 3, 2017 1:12 PM
Comment #415744

kctim, how many years, how many votes does it take for repubs to repeal and replace the ACA. They control both houses of Congress and the WH. Trump promised to do it within the first 100 days of his administration. Certainly after so many attempts, to repeal the ACA, repubs had a plan…right?

If Obama were this weak and ineffectual as a leader you guys would have crucified him. I point out Trumps inability to produce anything worth passing into law and you call it hyperbole despite the fact it isn’t.

If Obama would have had his cabinet come out with a folded piece of paper that was his tax plan….. I call out Trump for this by asking can America get anything done anymore and you dare call it conspiracy theory. If you want conspiracy theory you need to go to Trumps buddy Alex Jones not WB.


Threatening to shut down moneygrubberment, as if he would, because dems won’t support financing the building of the wall along the Mexico border is poor political skills, he can’t even convince his own party to fund it nor can he force the Mexican government to pay for it. I think it is an accurate reflection of the facts when I say “The master negotiator has fallen flat on his face each and every time out of the chutes”. SO I really don’t understand why you would use Walters name in such a way . It seems to me you need to stop spouting the alternative to facts used by Trumpsters everywhere and accept the truth.

Posted by: j2t2 at May 3, 2017 4:13 PM
Comment #415746

J2,

Discussing the Republicans failure to repeal the ACA would be a real issue to discuss. Instead, we get unsubstantiated hyperbole about Russia hacking our election, racism, bigotry, fascism etc…

It doesn’t bother me that President Trump and the Republicans haven’t cured all of our governments ills in the first 3 months. I criticized President Obama for haphazardly rushing through his disastrous ACA bill, so I’m not going to expect Republicans to do the same thing.

Obama was just as weak and ineffectual. Have you already forgotten how the left shouted racist to all who disagreed with him? Or how they shouted ‘most obstructionist ever?’

Trump’s tax plan would also be a real issue to discuss. Sure you guys would be going on and on with your ‘giving money to the rich’ BS, but at least it wouldn’t be the golden showers h**kers and Russian subliminal messages nonsense.

Oh my God! It’s been 3 whole months and Trump, who has faced nothing but opposition, hasn’t been able to get going on better border security. LOL! You guys are too much man.
IMO, Trump is a novice politician, but he knows he has no chance at winning re-election if he doesn’t at least attempt to keep his campaign promises, so we can expect things like ‘threatening to shut down’ govt. The ONLY people who care are the partisan nut-jobs who think it makes a difference.

I bring up Waters because she is a lying, racist nut-bag who talks about impeachment, the Klan and Nazi’s without anything to back it up. She is a dishonest race baiting agitator who does not deserve the position she holds.

I accept facts and truth, J2. The problem you seem to be having is that I won’t accept your opinions as some kind of fact or truth.

Posted by: kctim at May 3, 2017 5:03 PM
Comment #415747

I believe it took Obama and his cronies eighteen months to pass the ACA. One would think that with all the threats and bribes they used they could have done it in 100 days.

Posted by: Royal Flush at May 3, 2017 5:20 PM
Comment #415750

More good news for Liberals.

“Tens of thousands of Iowans could be left with no health insurance options next year, after the last carrier for most of the state announced Wednesday that it likely would stop selling individual health policies here.

Medica, a Minnesota-based health insurer, released a statement suggesting it was close to following two larger carriers in deciding not to sell such policies in Iowa for 2018, due to instability in the market.”

Aetna announced it was pulling out of the Virginia obamacare market.

Posted by: Royal Flush at May 3, 2017 5:47 PM
Comment #415753
Trump promised to do it within the first 100 days of his administration. Certainly after so many attempts, to repeal the ACA, repubs had a plan…right?

If Obama were this weak and ineffectual as a leader you guys would have crucified him.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-tvZvUE79Y

Whatever. You are going to want to open a window in that echo chamber you have soon, it must be getting pretty rank in there. Just be careful to cover it with some safe spaces first so you don’t get physically assaulted by people not saying the right made up pronouns…

Posted by: Rhinehold at May 3, 2017 6:13 PM
Comment #415754

Take that to the BANK

Posted by: Rhinehold at May 3, 2017 6:13 PM
Comment #415756
Instead, we get unsubstantiated hyperbole about Russia hacking our election, racism, bigotry, fascism etc…

unsubstantiated! We have neofascist elated over the Trump presidency “Skokie-ing” Berkeley, We have how many different agencies investigating Trumps ties to Russia, yet simply because the far right media doesn’t tell you about this it is unsubstantiated? Be patient lets let the agencies do their job before we exonerate Trump and his accomplices.

It doesn’t bother me that President Trump and the Republicans haven’t cured all of our governments ills in the first 3 months.

Wow speaking of hyperbole kctim, there you go. Who said anything about “cured all of our government ills”? Wow as I read the rest of your comment I shake my head and think “I will only respond to the non hyperbole parts”…. so it look like I’m done here.

So it seems to me Trump, despite his populist empty words and broken promises, is “the establishment” voters thought they were throwing out of office. A very new and inexperienced politician but still establishment none the less.

The tax plan diversion created by Trumps WH propagandist seems to me to be a plea for help. It seems despite the twitter bravado that he has tucked his tail and admitted his negotiation skills may need to be put into perspective. He over sold a bit. Here is my plan all 1 page of it. While a good idea to simplify, he has said to the country he has no clue on how to do his job let someone else figure it out.

Repubs control the country, how many states is it? The Congress and the WH are in repub control and they have to wait for marching orders from the Koch Bros and the NRA before they can propose anything to do with taxes. The establishment will tell Trump and the Congress how to proceed. We have been sold a false bill of goods by Trump.

Posted by: j2t2 at May 3, 2017 9:30 PM
Comment #415761
Be patient lets let the agencies do their job before we exonerate Trump and his accomplices.

Right, guilty until proven innocent, it’s the American Way.

BTW, I love how you say that Trump has to get his marching order from Koch Brothers when they did nothing to get him elected and oppose most of his policies… But in the eyes of a progressive, anyone who isn’t an authoritarian is bad, aren’t they?

Posted by: Rhinehold at May 4, 2017 2:04 AM
Comment #415781


Be patient lets let the agencies do their job before we exonerate Trump and his accomplices.

Right, guilty until proven innocent, it’s the American Way.

Not at all Rhinehold, just a response to kctim when he tells us “Probably about the same time our liberal friends here on WB stop name calling and yapping about hyperbole and conspiracy theory, and start dealing with actual facts.”


BTW, I love how you say that Trump has to get his marching order from Koch Brothers when they did nothing to get him elected and oppose most of his policies…

Rhinehold what I said was “Repubs control the country, how many states is it? The Congress and the WH are in repub control and they have to wait for marching orders from the Koch Bros and the NRA before they can propose anything to do with taxes.” Now are you gonna try and tell me the Koch Bros and ALEC don’t write legislation for the repubs? Are you suggesting the NRA and the Koch Bros don’t influence Congress?


But in the eyes of a progressive, anyone who isn’t an authoritarian is bad, aren’t they?

IMHO anyone who isn’t is an authoritarian is bad, I would think many progressives feel the same way.But lets cut to the chase with this line of nonsense Rhinehold. Conservatives favor the authoritarian much more than liberals. Just a fact Look at Trump inviting Duterte to the WH!


Posted by: j2t2 at May 4, 2017 7:34 PM
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