Saturday, December 16, 2017

Even with a few nice changes, tax bill still a POS

Now that the GOP bravely dumped their updated Piece of Shit tax bil on a Friday evening ahead of a vote next week, let's see where things stand.

First of all, the Congressional Budget Office does say the bill would only need 50 votes to pass (or 50% of those voting, a situation in play with 2 GOP Senators in the hospital), because it can be reconciled to the 2018 budget resolution which projects a deficit increase of $1.5 trillion in the next 10 years. Its overview of the bill starts as follows.
Title I would amend numerous provisions of U.S. tax law. Among other changes, the bill would reduce most income tax rates for individuals and modify the tax brackets for those taxpayers; increase the standard deduction and the child tax credit; repeal deductions for personal exemptions; repeal or limit certain itemized deductions; and increase the exemption amounts for the individual alternative minimum tax. Those changes would take effect on January 1, 2018, and would be scheduled to expire after December 31, 2025. The bill also would permanently repeal the penalties associated with the requirement that most people obtain health insurance coverage (also known as the individual mandate).

Title I would also permanently modify business taxation. Among other provisions, beginning in 2018, it would replace the structure of corporate income tax rates, which has a top rate of 35 percent under current law, with a single 21 percent rate. The legislation also would substantially alter the current system under which the worldwide income of U.S. corporations is subject to taxation. Title II would direct the Secretary of the Interior to implement an oil and gas leasing program for the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and would affect oil and gas leases and the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
Because oil drilling = tax reform, you know.

In addition to raising people's income taxes in 8 years, the CBO also says the other reason this Piece of Shit tax plan can fit under the $1.5 trillion deficit cap, is because it counts on less people being covered money being spent for Obamacare subsidies by removing the individual mandate
Effects on the Federal Budget

CBO and JCT estimate that enacting the legislation would reduce revenues by about $1,649 billion and decrease outlays by $194 billion over the 2018-2027 period. As a result, the bill is estimated to increase the deficit by $1,455 billion over the next 10 years, excluding effects from macroeconomic feedback. A portion of the changes in revenues would be from Social Security payroll taxes, which are off-budget. Excluding the estimated $27 billion increase in off-budget revenues over the next 10 years, the legislation would increase on-budget deficits by about $1,482 billion over the period from 2018 to 2027. Pay-as-you-go procedures apply because enacting the legislation would affect direct spending and revenues.
And those pay-go procedures will reportedly lead to a $25 billion cut in Medicare next year, and other programs are also facing required cuts if deficits end up higher as a result of this Piece of Shit bill (as they likely will, even if there's an increase in economic activity).

For more specifics, Bloomberg News has a good rundown of what is now in (and out of) the bill. Some of these include items we had heard about, including a major cut for pass-through income that is taxed so millionaires like Ron Johnson can keep even more money from their businesses, and a near-doubling of the standard deduction to $12,000 single/ $24,000 married, while removing the $4,150 personal deductions. . But here are some others.

In addition to the base corporate rate being cut from 35% to 21%, the Corporate Alternate Mininum Tax (AMT) is now repealed. This repairs a screw-up by the GOP Senate, who accidentally put the AMT back in when they were hand-writing their changes to the bill 2 weeks ago.

In addition to the temporary income tax rate changes over the next 8 years, and the income that is not subject to the AMT is also higher ($16,000 for single filers, about $25,000 for married couples). This makes the bill a "double tax break" for richer people, as they are the ones who overwhelmingly pay the AMT in the first place.

They have allowed for individuals to use both income and property taxes for the state and local tax (SALT) deduction. But it is still limited to $10,000 total, and unless married couples have major mortgage interest or donations to charity, they are not likely to be able to deduct anything, due to the higher standard deduction (as noted in the Trump Tax calculator). Which greatly reduces the incentives for couples to buy houses vs renting.

And here a couple of others from Bloomberg
Child Tax Credit
Current law: A $1,000 credit for each child under 17. The credit begins phasing out for couples earning more than $110,000. The credit is at least partially refundable to qualified taxpayers who earned more than $3,000.

Proposed: Double the credit to $2,000 and provide it for each child under 18 through 2024. Raise the phase-out amount to $400,000, and cap the refundable portion at $1,400 in 2018.

Estate Tax
Current law: Applies a 40 percent levy on estates worth more than $5.49 million for individuals and $10.98 million for couples.

Proposed: Double the thresholds (to $11 million individuals, $22 mil for couples) so the levy applies to fewer estates. The higher thresholds would sunset in 2026.
Also worth mentioning, it appears the potential tax hike on graduate students and people with student loans isn't going to happen.
Senate and House Republican leaders have agreed to abandon many of the controversial proposals that higher-education leaders and students had rallied to thwart, according to congressional aides. Under the agreement, tuition waivers received by graduate students remain tax-free, students can still deduct loan interest payments and bonds that colleges use for construction stay interest-free.
Well, I guess that means I probably won't need to send in an interest-only payment in 2 weeks, so that's not so bad. And since it's "above the line" instead of a Schedule A deduction, my state taxes also won't go up, since I'll still be writing off a similar amount that reduces my taxable income.

But it's still probably worthwhile for us (and lots of you) to pay your mortgage and property taxes before the end of the year, as it may be the last one for quite a while where it is worth it to write it off. And this thing is still a regressive Piece of Shit that will drive our already-awful levels of inequality even higher. And given the prospect of the deficit exploding in the next 5 years along with people losing their health care, this awful legislation still needs to be exposed and shot down before it's allowed to blow up our economy in the next few years.

No, you don't need the help

EDIT- Republicans aren't even trying to pretend this is good for anyone other than themselves and their donors at this point. And illustrates perfectly why I describe the bill as a Piece of Shit that keeps getting more garbage glommed onto it.


  1. I'm going to be laughing my ass off watching Public Sector Dumbasses like Jake stammer and fumble while trying to explain the economic growth rates that are going to result from this!! Should prove pretty entertaining.

    1. Someone hasn't paid much attention over the last 40 years, has he?

      Then again, Bradley Boy and other GOP hacks are not paid to be honest. They're paid to lie about smash-and-grabs like this Piece of Shit

  2. If factual history makes any difference to WCR, which apparently it doesn't, he would not lie about "economic growth rates that are going to result". Business has pushed supply-side and trickled-upon for 40 years, and economists have shown all that time that it doesn't produce what it promises. The people they depend on to buy their product (demand) simply don't have the money to buy the product, which when think of it, doesn't help business to expand... Lobbyists are cabin boys, but when the voter constituencies realize that that element is not promoting ideas to help them, politics then changes.

    When you're stuck on political ideology, it ignores the truth, which is why donors pay officeholders and lobbyists so much to fuck the rest of Americans. This tax bill will be the cause for voters to destroy the GOP; it's no wonder that Paul Ryan is now bailing out. It's reached the point that Ryan has to know that his neighbors in Janesville know what a piece of shit he really is.

  3. I see the potential for another bubble economy on the near horizon.