Republicans are selling their tax plan on a platform of lies

There are a few places where we can already see the gap between what Republicans are claiming their tax plan will do for you and what it will really do that should tell us all we need to know: if they need to lie and misdirect that much to sell the plan, voters definitely shouldn’t be buying. Take the claim that the plan would “lower the tax rate ‘for low– and middle-income Americans’ from 39.6 percent to 35 percent so ‘people can keep more of the money they earn’” … where the “low- and middle-income Americans” in question are earning $450,000 a year. Or take the $1,182 per year tax cut for a family making the median income of $59,000 a year. The reality behind that one gets complicated fast:

Under the current law, parents may claim personal exemptions on their tax forms for themselves, their spouses and their children. The

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Republicans again face defections on a top priority. This time, tax cuts.

Republicans are once again struggling to get the votes they need to pass one of their own top priorities—in this case, tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations. The House needs to pass the Senate’s budget resolution to allow Senate Republicans to use reconciliation to pass the tax cuts with 51 rather than 60 votes. But there’s a sticking point in the House: Republicans from higher-taxed states are worried about the elimination of a provision that currently allows people to deduct their state and local taxes from their federal taxes.

“I need to know what the endgame is going to look like if I’m going to vote on it,” said Rep. Tom MacArthur, R-N.J., a leader of the bloc of concerned Republicans. MacArthur attended a White House meeting on the issue Tuesday where he said he “didn’t make the progress I had hoped for.” […]

Three

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Can Trump quit hurling insults long enough to unite Republicans around tax cuts for the rich?

The White House is gearing up to make an all-out push for that package of tax cuts for rich people that is Republicans’ last chance to end 2017 looking like they have a clue what they’re doing. The problem is, Donald Trump is once again getting in his own way. With Trump about to head to Capitol Hill for lunch with Senate Republicans, he’s feuding with Sen. Bob Corker—again. Corker went on the Today show Tuesday morning and ever so politely told Trump to butt out of the tax bill-writing process, saying:

“What I hope is going to happen is the president will leave this effort, if you will, to the tax-writing committees, let them do their work and not begin taking things off the table that ought to be debated in these committees at the proper time.”

That was in response to Trump promising no changes to 401(k) accounts.

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White House selling tax plan through use of lies, damned lies, and statistics

Sarah Huckabee Sanders is mostly known for spewing BS in person from behind the podium of the White House press room, but look! She can do it on Twitter, too:

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A couple of things:

Lies, damn lies, and fake news

In his 2007 book The Assault on Reason, former Vice President Al Gore warned about what he saw as a dire threat to American democracy. “The ‘well-informed citizenry,’” Gore fretted, ”is in danger of becoming the ‘well-amused audience.’” In a presentation on Super Tuesday 2008 (“That’s Entertainment: Politics as Theater in Campaign ‘08”), I elaborated on Gore’s alert.

When politics is entertainment, the first thing that suffers is the truth.

More than nine years later, the American people have a professional entertainer in the Oval Office. And as recent headlines have shown, the truth is suffering indeed. Despite the unified assessment of the U.S. intelligence community that Vladimir Putin’s Russia interfered in the 2016 election, only one-third of Republicans polled believe it. Other surveys found that 72 percent of Trump voters said stories about Russia are “fake news,” with 32 percent even rejecting the claim that Donald

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Don’t be fooled if McConnell drops a tax cut for the rich in Trumpcare, he’s still killing Medicaid

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In all of Mitch McConnell’s horse-trading to get to 50 votes on Trumpcare, the most cynical might be the offer to get rid of the tax cut that looks the worst to voters in order to offer a pittance of relief to all the people getting kicked off of their health insurance. The version of the bill McConnell first released repealed an increase in the capital gains tax that was included in the Affordable Care Act.

Not only did McConnell get rid of that tax increase, he made it retroactive to the first of this year. After a public uproar over that, a handful of senators told him they just couldn’t vote for a bill that made them look that bad—taking insurance away from millions to pay for egregious tax cuts for the rich. McConnell is talking about taking that cut out, now, and putting that money back

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Don’t be fooled if McConnell drops a tax cut for the rich in Trumpcare, he’s still killing Medicaid

Campaign Action

In all of Mitch McConnell’s horse-trading to get to 50 votes on Trumpcare, the most cynical might be the offer to get rid of the tax cut that looks the worst to voters in order to offer a pittance of relief to all the people getting kicked off of their health insurance. The version of the bill McConnell first released repealed an increase in the capital gains tax that was included in the Affordable Care Act.

Not only did McConnell get rid of that tax increase, he made it retroactive to the first of this year. After a public uproar over that, a handful of senators told him they just couldn’t vote for a bill that made them look that bad—taking insurance away from millions to pay for egregious tax cuts for the rich. McConnell is talking about taking that cut out, now, and putting that money back

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Republicans discussing trading one high-income tax break for another in Trumpcare negotiations

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Among the bribes being offered by Senate Majority Leader to his recalcitrant conference in the Trumpcare negotiations is increased flexibility for health savings accounts (HSAs). Conservatives are completely enamored with HSAs because they’re not actually health policy tools. They’re tax shelters.

Republicans will couch this as a break for lower income people, they can use their health savings accounts to help pay their (much higher than Obamcare) Trumpcare premiums. Which would be fine, if lower income people actually could afford to have HSAs to begin with. This, they believe, would look better politically than the gratuitous capital gains tax cut they were giving to the very wealthy.

And it would, if HSAs weren’t just one more tax break for the well-off.

The accounts offer unprecedented tax-sheltering opportunities for high-income taxpayers because: (1) they can make tax-deductible contributions of up to $3,400 a year for individuals and $6,750 for

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Republican senators realize optics of blood money from Medicaid for tax cuts for rich aren’t good

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has a new problem in trying to come up with a Trumpcare revision by Friday. There’s opposition from some surprising corners to the idea that they’re giving that completely egregious retroactive capital gains tax cut to the rich and slashing Medicaid at the same time. One of those senators isn’t a surprise—Susan Collins (ME) has stated a slew of objections to the bill and is almost certainly a solid “no” to anything McConnell produces this week. It’s the others that are making life more complicated for him.

Susan Collins of Maine and Mike Rounds of South Dakota both criticized the draft bill released by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for repealing a surtax on net investment income imposed under Obamacare. […]
A third Republican, Bob Corker of Tennessee, expressed discomfort with the idea of cutting taxes on the rich while transferring burdens on

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Trumpcare tax cuts to nation’s 400 wealthiest families is Medicaid blood money

The tax cuts for the wealthy bill masquerading as an Obamacare “replacement” bill destroys Medicaid, the 52-year-old program that covers 1 in 5 Americans, providing coverage from conception to grave. Half of all births, two-thirds of nursing home residents, a third of all adults with disabilities, three-quarters of poor children—that’s who Medicaid covers. Eventually, almost every family in America will be touched with it.

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Almost every family but the richest. Those are the families that are really benefiting from Trumpcare, the tax cut bill masquerading as an Obamacare “replacement.” In fact, the tax cuts that the 400 wealthiest families will get from Trumpcare “roughly equal the federal cost of maintaining the expansion in Nevada, West Virginia, Arkansas, and Alaska combined.

That’s literally blood money.

Republicans betray their gray-haired base with Trumpcare

Ever since Donald Trump’s shocking victory on Election Day, press, pundits, and pollsters have engaged in a furious debate about which voters propelled him to the White House. Was Trump’s win the revenge of the “guns and bitter crowd” in the Rust Belt, the white working-class voters whose racism, xenophobia and/or “economic anxiety” led them to pull the lever in 2016 for the reality TV star? Or was the Republican’s core support throughout the primaries and the general election made up of more affluent and suburban backers? And as Trump’s approval ratings continue to spiral downward to levels not seen since George W. Bush ambled out of the Oval Office, can he continue to count on an unshakeable “floor” of 35 to 40 percent support?

While these are all interesting questions, one thing is certain. Donald Trump, like Republicans nationwide over the past decade, has enjoyed

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Guess what: We’re in for another debt ceiling battle, because Republicans

Now that the GOP is running the whole show in Washington, you’d think we might be able to avoid yet another manufactured debt ceiling crisis. Apparently not. Donald Trump and his aides are angling to raise the debt ceiling by the end of July, blindsiding GOP lawmakers. Politico writes:

Lawmakers in both parties thought they’d have until the fall to act, and they had planned to roll the always-difficult vote into a broader spending package that could be more easily swallowed. That strategy may now have to be tossed aside with the debt limit deadline approaching faster than expected.

The White House request raises the prospect of a bruising fight over the debt limit — not just between Republicans and Democrats but within both parties. The GOP is torn over whether to combine spending cuts with the debt ceiling lift, and Senate Democrats are already signaling they may push for

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CBO: Conservative Bulls**t Obliterator

This past week was a very big one for some very big promises from Republicans in Washington. It didn’t go well for them.

Three weeks after House Republicans voted to pass a new version of their “American Health Care Act,” the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) weighed in on high-profile pledges from President Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan. While Trump guaranteed “insurance for everybody” that is “much less expensive and much better,” Ryan insisted the revised AHCA “protects people with pre-existing conditions.” Not content to rest there, HHS Secretary Tom Price boasted that Trumpcare’s $880 billion in cuts to Medicaid will “absolutely not” result in millions losing coverage.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration also unveiled its fiscal year 2018 budget proposal. With its draconian spending cuts to the social safety net programs, the White House blueprint was proclaimed “dead on arrival” even by some Republicans. But more embarrassing

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A $2 trillion ‘math error’ or Paul Ryan-style unicorn poop and pixie dust?

Economists around the country are calling foul on a $2 trillion sleight of hand in the budget OMB Director Mick Mulvaney released while popular vote loser Donald Trump is away. It’s either a dose of the kind of magical budget thinking House Speaker Paul Ryan perfected while he was chairman of the House budget committee, or it’s a massive math error as Jonathon Chait suggests.

One of the ways Donald Trump’s budget claims to balance the budget over a decade, without cutting defense or retirement spending, is to assume a $2 trillion increase in revenue through economic growth. This is the magic of the still-to-be-designed Trump tax cuts. But wait—if you recall, the magic of the Trump tax cuts is also supposed to pay for the Trump tax cuts. So the $2 trillion is a double-counting error.

Trump has promised to enact “the biggest tax cut in

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Step aside Donald, this extremist budget shows it’s now President Mulvaney’s show

What happens when you put a Freedom Caucus maniac in charge of the spending priorities of the White House? The horror show of a budget that former Rep. Mick Mulvaney, now budget director, released Tuesday. This is the extreme expression of the new Republican party and its priorities—grift. Massive tax cuts and all the spending for cronies, pain for the people.

Of 13 major initiatives in the budget, nine are drastic spending cuts, mostly aimed at low-income Americans. The biggest of those, by far, is an $866 billion reduction over 10 years in health care spending, mostly from Medicaid. That would be achieved if the Senate approves the House bill to undo President Obama’s Affordable Care Act … It would deprive an estimated 10 million low-income Americans, many of them nursing home residents, of Medicaid benefits; it would also defund Planned Parenthood, reducing or ending health services to 2.5 million

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In praise of Donald Trump

From the moment Donald Trump won his surprising victory on Election Day, a new cottage industry sprung up to offer sympathetic profiles of the supposedly long-overlooked and long-suffering voters who rallied to him. The New York Times has been at the forefront, delivering on-the-ground stories from Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Michigan within days of the balloting. But as President Trump’s ever-growing cascade of calamities drove down his approval rating to just above Ebola and just below chlamydia, the Times responded with tales of his undeterred supporters for whom no sin could shake their faith in his ability to Make America Great Again. He is the enemy of their enemies; if liberals are angry, then Trump must be doing something right.

The nation’s paper of record wasn’t content to rest there. As if to codify the right-wing stereotype of effete coastal elites out of touch with salt-of-the-earth “heartland” Americans,

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Trump’s tax plan just another giveaway to the ultra-mega-hyper-rich

Hey, guess what. Donald Trump’s proposed tax plan, such as it is, is just the usual tax giveaway to ultra-rich bastards who already have all the money and don’t need more money but whatever, maybe they’ll all buy Moon Yachts or something and we’ll get a privatized space program out of it. Or, ya know, not:

Even accounting for his proposal to restrict most itemized deductions, the top 1 percent would still receive annual tax cuts averaging at least $250,000 per household. But the tax cuts at the very top would be far larger. The 400 highest-income taxpayers — whose incomes average more than $300 million a year — would get average tax cuts of at least $15 million a year each, we estimate from IRS data. Their annual tax cuts would be more than five times the typical college graduate’s lifetime earnings.

It works out to a $6 billion

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Cartoon: Taxcutiva

It seems like a lifetime ago that the House Republicans passed their awful American Health Care Act. While the Donald Trump/Russia debacle has been rapidly unfolding let’s not forget about legislation that could, um, kill people. That’s what happens when you provide health care “access” that could keep the old, poor and sick from affording actual care.

There are so many things wrong with the current Republican healthcare bill, let’s hope some sanity prevails in the Senate. I’m not holding my breath, since that counts as a pre-existing condition. Sure, Obamacare is flawed, but at least it isn’t truly cruel like AHCA. Oh wait, I forgot, the House Republican plan would protect 5% of people with pre-existing conditions. Gee, thanks, fellers!

This plan is nothing more than a huge redistribution of wealth from programs that actually help people to a big fat tax cut for the

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Trump makes it clear: Trumpcare is all about the tax cuts to the rich

There’s one part of that berserk interview popular vote loser Donald Trump had with The Economist in which he sounded perfectly sane. (It’s the part just before where he explains that he’s the guy that made up the phrase “prime the pump,” as unearthed by Jon Schwarz.) From the transcript:

Another part of your overall plan, the tax reform plan. Is it OK if that tax plan increases the deficit? Ronald Reagan’s tax reform didn’t.
 
Well, it actually did. But, but it’s called priming the pump. You know, if you don’t do that, you’re never going to bring your taxes down. Now, if we get the health-care [bill through Congress], this is why, you know a lot of people said, “Why isn’t he going with taxes first, that’s his wheelhouse?” Well, hey look, I convinced many people over the last two weeks, believe me, many

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Cartoon: Trump branded solutions

So it turns out Trump Branded Solutions work not only in the present but in the past, too! If only the supposedly-Trumpian Andrew Jackson had been around to get a better deal, the Civil War would’ve been averted. Since President Trump knows how to fix up the past, just think of all the good work his administration could do across history.

Why keep the noble and good Republican American Health Care Act in the present? Let’s send it to the past and have it work its magic on the great diseases of history. Now that we will all have “access” to health insurance, we just need to get our hands on that money to pay the insurance companies to keep us alive.

And why stop there? Let’s institute Trumpian free market principles to save the 146 workers who perished in the famed Triangle Shirtwaist Fire.

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