If you were wondering by Congressional Republicans kept details of their tax overhaul plan – the original House and Senate bills, and the conciliation bill – kept secret, it was probably because they didn’t want the media and public to see how awful their idea of a fair tax system ended up.
It’s like keeping a bad report card away from your parents: Eventually, the details will come out and there will be hell to pay.
The same can be said in this case.
One year after winning the presidency, President Donald J. Trump can’t be expected to give an impartial description of the tax plan that Congress is expected to vote on this week.
“It’ll be fantastic for the middle-income people and for jobs, most of all,” Trump said last Saturday morning on the White House lawn. “And I will say that because of what we’ve done with regulation and other things our economy is doing fantastically well, but it has another big step to go and it can’t take that step unless we do the tax bill.”
We’d rather believe a used car salesman extolling the virtues of a 1985 Yugo.
The economy and the stock market have roared back ever since President Barack Obama steered the country through the Great Recession. The rich and corporations have gotten richer, but the poor and middle class continue to struggle. Millennials will struggle to keep up with the financial security of their parents and grandparents.
To be fair, there are some winners in this tax bill, including some middle class folks. But the rich and corporations will make out like bandits as they keep more of their millions.
Thanks to the media, the real winners and losers are starting to become known. Public opinion polls show a majority of Americans are skeptical the tax bill will benefit the middle class.
Economists have criticized the tax plan, saying it will increase the deficit.
We are sure tax accountants and tax attorneys will see a surge in business in 2018 should the Senate and House approve the bill and put it on the president’s desk for his signature.
The tax bill is very complex, which is why there is disagreement about its impact over the next decade.
We do know, however, that the tax break for individuals will expire in 2025. The tax breaks for corporations does not expire.
We do know that the repeal of the individual mandate under the Affordable Care Act will create havoc with the health insurance markets and drive up costs for emergency room visits. The Congressional Budget Office projects that 13 million fewer Americans will have health coverage.
We do know that Medicare cuts are very possible as Congress looks for spending cuts to help make $1.5 trillion in tax cuts.
We do know the earned income tax credit – which pumped $890.9 million into Kings, Tulare, Fresno, Madera, Merced, Stanislaus and San Joaquín counties in 2013 (and $7.3 billion to California) – will hurt low-income families because of the way inflation is calculated.
We do know that U.S.-born children of undocumented parents who have used the earned income tax credit because the tax bill prohibits undocumented residents from claiming the credit. That means $23 billion will not go to those in need, even if a citizen child is harmed.
We do know that higher wage earners in California and other high-income, high-property tax states will suffer because there is a $10,000 cap on property and state income taxes they can deduct from their federal tax bill.
No wonder Republicans negotiated in secret and held zero hearings on the tax bill. They didn’t want Americans to realize they’d be getting a lump of coal for Christmas.