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“Everyone is entitled to his own opinion but not his own facts”
Daniel P. Moynihan

The above quote sums up the current administration and the Neer do well Congress. All other issues aside from the National and worldwide problems caused by this administration, they have and continue to lie and compound their lies with the straightest of faces. I am no longer surprised by what comes out of Washington and their supporters mouths. What surprises me is the people who follow or believe them. It appears that the public is so desperate for change that they have thrown their lot in with a consummate liar and bigot whose sole purpose is to serve himself. This along with a never honest Majority Congress led by two of the biggest hucksters since P.T. Barnum. This Congress had 8 plus years to assist in making America “great” as it were but instead they obstructed and denied. They had ample opportunity to improve the Tax system and  healthcare yet they chose to obstruct. Under the guise of what they stated was good for the “American People” , they have handed the reins of government over to a fast talking used car salesman. Under the cover of this administration’s outrageous comments, the Congressional leaders are pushing through legislation that will eventually harm all of us. All of the while other forces (big money donors) are working as if they have nothing to fear. We as voters have the ability to initiate a correction by voting in 2018 for other people who we feel will make a difference but only if WE get the facts on who is running. We must ignore the hyperbole and correct “sounding” statements. Campaign rhetoric is not the same as the truth. The truth is gathered by the diligent listening and reading of multiple sources of information. The campaign rhetoric of the past 10-15 years has folks believing information that at once suspect and true, this is called half truths or plausible truth. There appears to no honesty in politics but facts are always facts!

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Once again the TOTUS menagerie jumps through hoops.MA

12/11/17 12:57 PM—Updated 12/11/17 01:55 PM

By Steve Benen
As regular readers know, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin assured lawmakers and the public that he had dozens of officials working on creating a detailed analysis of the Republican tax plan he helped craft. The report, Mnuchin added, would be available before Congress voted.
None of that was true. The New York Times reported two weeks ago that officials inside the Treasury’s Office of Tax Policy claim to have been “largely shut out of the process” and haven’t “worked on the type of detailed analysis” that Mnuchin described.

The Rachel Maddow Show, 11/30/17, 9:17 PM ET
Treasury Secretary Mnuchin fails to deliver promised tax report
Two weeks later, the good news is that Donald Trump’s Treasury Department has prepared an analysis and made it available to the public. The bad news is, it’s so absurd, I almost feel sorry for the officials who work there. Politico reported:

The Treasury Department said Monday that the GOP tax plan currently before Congress would need an assist from other Trump administration priorities to pay for itself.
Tax cuts alone aren’t enough, Treasury said in a one-page analysis, citing welfare reform and infrastructure spending as additional boosts to the economy.
The entire document is online here (pdf).
There are three key angles to this, and let’s start with the substance of the Treasury’s document. Congressional Republicans and the Trump administration have sworn up and down that the GOP’s tax package would pay for itself, ignoring the conclusions of every independent analysis, including data from Congress’ own Joint Committee on Taxation.
The Treasury Department argued this morning that the Republican promise will prove to be true if (a) we assume that the regressive tax breaks supercharge the economy; and (b) policymakers also agree to pass Trump’s non-existent infrastructure plan, Trump’s non-existent welfare reform plan, and wait for Trump’s regulatory reform plan to work wonders.
In other words, the Trump administration is conceding that Republicans are wrong about one of the core promises of the party’s own tax plan. The Treasury effectively declared this morning, “The tax plan will pay for itself if everyone agrees to pass a bunch of other proposals, which haven’t been written, and which have nothing to do with the tax plan.”

Second, let’s not skip past that “welfare reform” tidbit too quickly. Trump’s Treasury Department is now saying, in writing, that Republicans can pay for tax breaks for the wealthy, not only by raising taxes on the middle class, but by cutting benefits to the nation’s most vulnerable. The document is describing class warfare at its most depraved – taking money from food-stamp beneficiaries, and giving it to millionaires.
And third, the entire Treasury Department analysis literally fits on one page. If we exclude the headline, the document isn’t quite 400 words (by comparison, the blog post you’re reading right now is 622 words).
What the Trump administration released this morning isn’t an analysis of tax legislation; it’s a joke. Treasury officials had plenty of time to do a thorough policy review, even massage the numbers in a favorable way, and produce something that wasn’t laughable, and all they ended up producing is a one-page document that further contradicts the Republican line about the GOP tax plan paying for itself.
Maybe Treasury did a real analysis and Mnuchin threw it away because it was a political disaster. Maybe qualified officials were told what to write, but they couldn’t defend the indefensible. Either way, today’s report is an embarrassment.
Postscript: I’m thinking about starting a new “one-page” franchise, counting the instances in which Trump World keeps important documents to a single page. The White House’s original tax “plan,” for example, was one page. Four months later, Republican officials released a revised tax blueprint, which was even shorter. Trump also reportedly likes to keep intelligence briefings to one page.
Policy depth isn’t exactly this gang’s top priority.

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The quote “Oh! What a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive” refers to how complicated life becomes when people start lying. It originally referred to a love triangle in the play “Marmion” by Sir Walter Scott. Currently this has been the practice of our Congress. This group of people have used every rosy sounding bit of tripe available to them to forward their agenda. They are no more than con men in nice suits. With the advent of TOTUS they have used his Tweet storm as a cover for their own nefarious deeds. His cabinet choices were at best poor but this Congress granted them access to push their personal agendas in healthcare, education, EPA (our air and water quality). Now the recent speedy crafting of Tax Reform and cuts will give us another gut punch while the lies keep flowing. All of this because they do not give a damn about the oft cited “American People”. Since they never asked or explained in plain words what this legislation was or would do gives rise to many questions. Several questions involving the actual effects of the cuts , why are the cuts for the middle and lower income folks saddled with an expiration date while the higher earners cuts continue?  The deceptive practices of this Congress should be a chargeable offence under the law but since this Body is untrustworthy, there will nothing done unless we the voters do and say something about it. Our course of action is call, write, tweet our representatives and let them know our feelings about this poor legislation.  Our own elected officials have apparently taken to scamming us about legislation and we have never as far as I know taken them to task for it. Looking back a few years: The lied about the ACA and would not support it, they ignored Trumps unfitness to serve (so they could get their own agenda moving), they obfuscated the truth about the economy (which is growing however slow) and they dislike the Dodd Frank act since it offers consumer (us) protection against the deceptive practices of financial institutions. Apparently these actions are more about appearing to be true to their word ( which we should already know is worthless). Given the current circumstances and potential harm to us, why do we want to keep these folks in office?

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Is Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin a fool or a knave?

Robert Reich, RobertReich.org12.03.20176:29 PM
This originally appeared on Robert Reich’s blog.

One of the most dangerous consequences of this awful period in American life is the denigration of the truth, and of institutions and people who tell it.

There are two kinds of liars — fools and knaves. Fools lie because they don’t know the truth. Knaves lie because they intend to mislead.

Trump is both, because he doesn’t even care enough about the truth to find out what it is. He’ll say whatever he thinks will get people to believe what he wants them to believe.

What about people like Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Trump’s point person on the Republican tax bills now making their way through Congress?

Mnuchin continues to insist that the legislation puts a higher tax burden on people earning more than $1 million a year, and reduce taxes on everyone else. “I can tell you that virtually everybody in the middle class will get a tax cut, and will get a significant tax cut,” Mnuchin says repeatedly.

But the prestigious Tax Policy Center concludes that by 2027, almost all of the benefits of both bills will have gone to the richest 1 percent, while upper-middle-class payers will pay higher taxes and those at the lower levels will receive only modest benefits.

So is Mnuchin a fool? His career before he became Treasury Secretary doesn’t suggest so. He graduated from Yale, and worked for seventeen years for investment bank Goldman Sachs.

Perhaps Mnuchin doesn’t find the Tax Policy Center credible. Maybe he agrees with Trump economic adviser Peter Navarro, who describes it as “a left-leaning center that produces analyses that favor Democratic tax-and-spend programs and disfavor Republican programs.”

In the age of Trump, even prestigious organizations once considered non-partisan are either “with us” or “against us.”

Problem is, virtually all other studies by every other source show the House and Senate tax bills overwhelmingly benefit the rich and, within a few years, harm the middle class.

Even Congress’s own Joint Committee on Taxation – the House and Senate’s official scorekeeper on tax issues – finds that the Senate’s version of the bill would increase taxes on all income groups making under $75,000 per year.

By 2027, it would give its biggest tax breaks to those making $1 million or more. The House bill would be even more generous to millionaires and billionaires.

Mnuchin’s response? He has none. He just keeps repeating the same lie.

Mnuchin also maintains that the Senate and House tax plans won’t cause the federal deficit to rise. “This isn’t about the deficit,” he said recently. “We’ll create economic growth to pay down the deficit.”

But even the Tax Foundation — a major proponent of the corporate tax cuts — estimates the House bill will cause a $1.08 trillion revenue loss over ten years and the Senate bill, a $516 billion loss.

Assuming Mnuchin isn’t a fool, he’s a knave. He intends to deceive the public.

By doing so he has abandoned his duty to the American people inherent in the oath of office taken by every cabinet official, in favor of advancing the goals of his boss and other Republicans in Washington who are desperate to pass their tax bill.

 He has also sacrificed his credibility and integrity.

Why? Because he’s Secretary of the Treasury in an administration that has no integrity. Merely by joining Trump, he made a Faustian bargain and lost whatever integrity he might have had.

Recall that after Trump equated white supremacists with protesters in Charlottesville, and several hundred of Mnuchin’s Yale classmates urged him to resign in protest, Mnuchin found it “hard to believe I should have to defend myself on this, or the president.”

After Trump demanded that NFL owners deal harshly with black athletes protesting police brutality, Mnuchin said the athletes should “do free speech on their own time. This is about respect for the military and first responders in the country.”

Apparently Mnuchin will say anything to retain his power and influence in the Trump administration.

He knows he’ll never have anything close to this power again.

Mnuchin probably figures: So what if he lies about the true consequences of the tax bills? Trump lies about them, too. So does the Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, and the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

He probably assumes most of the public will never know he lied. Even those who know will soon forget. In this era of Trumpian big lies, there are no consequences for lying.

But history may not be kind to Steve Mnuchin.

Over the last century, authoritarian and fascist regimes have intentionally and systematically denigrated the truth.

The knaves who helped them are remembered in ignominy

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Dino-Ray Ramos
Deadline December 3, 2017

Last week, Donald Trump said that it wasn’t his voice on the now-infamous “Grab ’em by the p*ssy” Access Hollywood tape. Now, Billy Bush has come forward to say “Of course he said it. And we laughed along…”
The former Today co-host and Access Hollywood reporter went on to say in a New York Times article, “Along with Donald Trump and me, there were seven other guys present on the bus at the time, and every single one of us assumed we were listening to a crass standup act. He was performing. Surely, we thought, none of this was real.”
Bush’s op-ed comes before his upcoming appearance on Monday night’s Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
Although Bush issued an apology for his part in the Access Hollywood tape, he lost his job at Today about a week later. In his article, Bush recalls reading about the women coming forward accusing Trump of harassment as he revisits the Access Hollywood tape aftermath. He says that this is a moment in American life that is “painful for many women” and how he knows “the anguish of being inexorably linked to Donald Trump.”
“President Trump is currently indulging in some revisionist history, reportedly telling allies, including at least one United States senator, that the voice on the tape is not his,” he writes. “This has hit a raw nerve in me.”
In regards to sexual misconduct and harassment, he goes on to say that he has faith of exposing injustices and hopes that “the current media drama of who did what to whom will give way to a constructive dialogue between mature men and women in the workplace and beyond.”
There is a regretful tone in his article as he says “Today is about reckoning and reawakening, and I hope it reaches all the guys on the bus.”
He ends by getting personal and calls this last year an “odyssey” for himself. “I know that I don’t need the accouterments of fame to know God and be happy, he said. “After everything over the last year, I think I’m a better man and father to my three teenage daughters — far from perfect, but better.”

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By Todd Gitlin | Nov 30, 2017
When Trump launched his n+1st vileness on Twitter yesterday, retweeting phony and incendiary videos (talk about “fake news”!) posted by a lunatic-fringe white Christian Muslim-hating British website, Britain First, the reaction from anti-racists was quickly and rightly outraged. Britain First traffics in demographic panic that can be summarized easily: The white Christians are vanishing! THEY are taking over.
Its chiefs, in particular deputy leader Jayda Fransen, roam Europe, not just Britain, crusading against Muslims and mosques. After being arrested at a Belfast rally, she popped back in a video to call her arrest evidence that “Britain has become Sharia compliant and our establishment has now instituted legislation that constitutes blasphemy laws here in the U.K.” This was way too much for Prime Minister Theresa May, whose spokesman declared after Trump’s retweets:
Britain First seeks to divide communities by their use of hateful narratives that peddle lies, … stoke tensions, … cause anxiety to law-abiding people. … [T]he prejudiced rhetoric of the far right … is the antithesis of the values this country represents, decency, tolerance and respect.
Nevertheless, May declined to lift her invitation for a Trump state visit.
Britain First is a fringe sect whose videos are slapped-up, scattershot, mislabeled, and concocted shouts of fire in crowded theaters. Ordinarily, though, they have limited reach. Even after a massive boost from Trump, their Twitter subscribers number 27.3 thousand. Trump’s blast away to 43.6 million. This is how the fringe migrates mainstream. This is how a trickle-down of vileness acquires a fire hose.
But the big story doesn’t stop with Trump’s globe-wide gift to the worst devils of human nature. It’s not even that Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended the tweets on the ground that, whether or not the videos are true to reality, “the threat” [of Islam] is real.” The big story is that Trump, or his trusted Ministers of Internet Intake, inhabits a bottom-barrel world in which Fox News and Infowars and Gateway Pundit and—sure—Britain First loom large. They’re picking this stuff up, combining through it, repurposing it all the time.
They’re picking it up selectively and combing it to weaponize it most efficiently. As The Guardian pointed out, “The Islamophobic videos were originally tweeted by Fransen on Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning before being picked up by Trump. They were not sequentially posted, meaning the president would have had to scroll through her timeline before picking out which videos to retweet.”
Martin Callanan, the Conservative Party’s Minister of State at the Department for Exiting the European Union, told the BBC: “I can only assume [Trump] has made a mistake and that he didn’t realize who Britain First were.” But no, Trump doesn’t make that sort of mistake. Along with the rest of what he is pleased to call his “movement,” he lives in an intellectual universe, if we can call it that, where race-hatred, Islamophobia, Jew-hatred, and refugee-hatred are the overpowering themes.
To anyone paying attention, this has been crystal-clear since at least early July 2016, when Trump retweeted a red Star of David shape slapped onto a bed of $100 bills—an image derived from the online white-supremacist movement. For at least the fifth time, Trump’s Twitter account was sharing a meme from the racist “alt-right” and offering no explanation why. (I wrote about his immersion in online loathsomeness then for billmoyers.com.)
Ben Kharakh and Dan Primack, at Fortune.com had more detail:
Throughout his campaign, Trump has been blithely recycling tweets from neo-Nazis and white supremacists who revel in the phrase “white Genocide.” They use those tweets, copy them and reuse them. Thus, consciously or not, they flash signals to the Make America White Again crowd—come on board. As one prominent neo-Nazi put it, Trump is “giving us the old wink-wink.”
Kharakh and Primack scrupulously tried to give Trump an out, writing:
It is possible that Trump―who, according to the campaign, does almost all of his own tweeting—is unfamiliar with the term “white genocide” and doesn’t do even basic vetting of those whose tweets he amplifies to his 7 million followers. But the reality is that there are dozens of tweets mentioning @realDonaldTrump each minute, and he has an uncanny ability to surface ones that come from accounts that proudly proclaim their white supremacist leanings.
Trump said then that he doesn’t pay attention to the source of his tweet material. He sees what he likes and retweets it. Asked by Kharakh and Primack for more detail about his Twitter practice, his spokesperson Hope Hicks “declined to explain how Trump searches through his Twitter feed. Hicks also declined (repeatedly) to answer Fortune’s question as to whether or not Trump believes that white genocide is a legitimate concern.”
Here’s the point: Trump’s Twitter pattern tells you a lot about the crowd he or his Twitter-reading staff hang out with. If you believe that Trump or his top lieutenants just happen to stumble on these racist tweets—singling them out from among the vast universe of possible source materials, perhaps because neo-Nazi design ideas are so “interesting”—then I’ll buy you a life membership at Mar-A-Lago and a lifetime supply of Pepto-Bismol to accompany it.
The great big story is not just that Trump lies and bullshits. It’s not only that Trump and his campaigners court Americans who want to make America white and Christian again. The problem is not only the vicious and lunatic legions who creep out from under the rocks at his signals. He lives in their world. He breathes their air. Tweets like those of Britain First don’t fly onto his screen at will. A slime-pit of race and religion hatred is the universe where Trump and his movement live.

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I am hoping that the American people are watching the progress of this awful tax reform/cut. The end result will be a slam to most American who are not in the upper middle-income brackets. This Congress has for years worked to convince us that they are on our side even to the point of decrying the ACA as being bad even in light of the fact that the ACA has benefitted millions of Americans especially those who previously has no coverage at all. Now under the guise of a benefit they are picking our pockets with a so called Tax reform that mirrors the “trickle down” reforms of the Reagan era. I suggest all who consider themselves conservative and Republican need to separate the two as they are not the same. We ALL are conservative (one definition: moderate, cautious) but according to our own perspective. The Republican version is quite different and not good for any of us. If we as voters do not rise up against this administration and the Congressional minions we are in for a long hard slog which will take many years to correct. We are already on the road to becoming pariahs on the world stage and allowing the advances made with our allies to become moot. The upcoming mid term elections will be our first opportunity to fight back but until then call and write your Congressional representative (now an oxymoron)  tell them that they are wrong and you demand they change their support for this abominable legislation.MA

MEGAN HUGHES

ABC News December 2, 2017

The massive tax overhaul passed by the Senate early Saturday morning will if enacted into law impact millions of Americans in different ways.

By and large, the most costly provision continues to be reducing the corporate tax rate to 20 percent. The Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) gives that a $1.4 trillion price tag. Republican claims the measure would pay for itself were also debunked this week by the JCT. Their analysis estimated the bill would grow the economy by .8 percent over a decade, still adding $1 trillion to the deficit.

When it comes to individual income taxes, the Senate measure also makes broad cuts across income levels. However, most of the individual income tax provisions will sunset after 2025 unless Congress acts. The bill also includes a change to inflation adjustments that would raise taxes slightly compared to what they would have been under current law.

By 2027, every income group under $75,000 is expected to see tax increases according to the Joint Committee on Taxation.

The corporate rate cut, from 35 percent to 20 percent, will be permanent.

The Senate bill is not the final word.

The Senate and House versions of tax reform have big differences including the treatment of the health insurance mandate penalties, as well as the number of tax brackets. The two will need to be reconciled before they get to President Trump’s desk.

Here’s how the Senate plan could affect you:

2017 rates versus your rate under the Senate bill

The Senate bill maintains seven brackets, the same number as exist under current law, but it also lowers most of the rates and raises many of the income thresholds. For example, a married couple making $200,000 in 2017 would have paid $42,884.50 in taxes. Under the Senate bill, they would move from the 28 percent to the 24 percent tax bracket, and their tax bill would drop to $37,079 — before deductions are considered.

 Standard deduction goes up, other deductions out

The Senate bill would nearly double the standard deduction.

For individuals, it would go from $6,350 to $12,000. For married joint filers, it raises that deduction from $12,700 to $24,000. This may result in fewer taxpayers itemizing their deductions, and the bill’s supporters hope that standard deduction increase will help offset the elimination of other deductions.

“Generally speaking, if you are a taxpayer that takes the standard deduction currently … good chances are you get a tax cut,” said Scott Greenberg, a senior analyst at the Tax Foundation. “Taxpayers with large amounts of itemized deductions, some of them could see a modest tax increase.”

 

“Lawmakers are trying to create a tax code where fewer taxpayers use deductions that are related to specific economic activities and more taxpayers use the standard deduction,” Greenberg said.

Who takes a hit? In the first eight years, Greenberg says the potential losers are generally people who make great use of tax preferences rather than taking the standard deduction. A few stand out.

People living in high-tax cities and states

People living in high-tax cities and states like New York and California will take a hit, though Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, lessened that blow in the final hours of negotiations by retaining some deductions for property taxes.

The original bill completely eliminated the deduction for state and local taxes (SALT), but Collins insisted on retaining a deduction on property taxes up to $10,000. According to the Tax Foundation, the property tax deduction accounts for just over one-third of all state and local taxes deducted in 2015, the most recent year for which data are available.

According to that group’s analysis, this deduction also benefits middle-income earners more than deductions on state and local income tax would. In Westchester County, New York, the property tax deduction alone is worth $5,548 per filer, according to the Tax Foundation.

The issue was expected to be a sticking point in the final negotiations reconciling the Senate and House versions.

“It would have been a point of disagreement that they’d have to sort out,” Greenberg said.

Upper-middle income households with a lot of children

Although the bill does expand the child tax credit from $1,000 to $2,000 it also does away with personal exemptions. If you’re in the 25 percent bracket or lower and you have children, Greenberg says “the Senate bill is a good or harmless trade.”

The personal exemption allows individuals to deduct more than $4,000 as a “personal exemption” for themselves, their spouses, and each dependent. Greenberg says this could hit upper-middle income families.

Health insurance consumers on the individual market

The Joint Committee on Taxation has estimated that federal budget deficits would be reduced by about $318 billion by eliminating the penalty associated with the individual mandate. Those effects would occur mainly because households are expected to make less use of things like premium tax credits and Medicaid.

Lower enrollment would mean fewer benefits coming from federal coffers. There is concern that eliminating the mandate’s penalties would lead to adverse selection, where young, healthy people choose not to enter the insurance market, and that would lead to higher premiums.

Wins for the wealthy

While in the first eight years after the bill’s passage, the losers are expected to be the people who make use of tax preferences, the measure includes some big wins for millionaires.

“The tax benefit for high-income households as a percentage of their income would be higher than the tax benefits for other income group households as a percentage of their income,” Greenberg said.

The top tax rate for the highest-income Americans drops from 39.6 percent to 38.5 percent. Also, because of the brackets being reorganized, married couples making between $500,000 to $1 million would see their tax rate drop from 39.6 percent to 35 percent.

Wealthy Americans would also see a benefit in the Senate bill’s changes to the alternative minimum tax (AMT). Senate Finance Committee documents say this was done to help simplify the tax code,

Finally, the richest Americans would see a boon in an expansion of exemptions from the estate tax, also called the “death tax”.

Currently, when a person passes away, his or her heirs can receive up to $5.5 million in property and assets tax-free. The Senate bill doubles that amount ($11 million for individuals, $22 million for married couples).

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With the recent “tax Reform” the Dupublicans are finally going after the middle, lower class and Seniors. To pay for their poor judgement in passing this horrendous tax bill, they are looking to reduce the benefits of Social security (which retirees paid for during their working lives), Medicare and Medicaid. Remember that none of these folks ever have to worry about healthcare and retirement since they are well taken care for in their retirement package and the government employees healthcare plan. 2018 is the time to make the change to Congress that will hopefully get us some people who actually work for the oft cited “American People”. It is well keep in mind that this finger pointing by politicians ultimately hits us (the American People) in the eye. Forget party loyalty and pay attention to the person and what they did or didn’t do during this session. You can be sure that whoever you vote for will lie to you again and again when seeking re-election. I will remind you that Adolph Hitler  (and TOTUS) uttered lies until they appeared believable. Do not fall into the pool of lies that come from the “undrained swamp” of Washington D.C.MA

Republicans Will Cut Social Security and Medicare After Tax Plan Passes, Says Marco Rubio
Nicole Goodkind
Newsweek- December 1, 2017

Florida Senator Marco Rubio admits that the Republican tax cut plan to aid corporations and the wealthy will require cuts to Social Security and Medicare to pay for it.
Rubio told reporters this week that in order to address the federal deficit, which will grow by at least $1 trillion if the tax plan passes, Congress will need to cut entitlement programs such as Social Security. Advocates for the elderly and the poor have warned that entitlement programs would be on the chopping block, but this is the first time a prominent Republican has backed their claims.
“We have to do two things. We have to generate economic growth which generates revenue, while reducing spending. That will mean instituting structural changes to Social Security and Medicare for the future,” Rubio told a crowd at a Politico conference. Rubio’s talk of structural change is vague, but will likely include changing the rate and age of Social Security and Medicare payouts.
Republicans have long said that the growth generated from slashing corporate tax rates from 35 percent to 20 percent would make their tax cuts “revenue neutral,” but there’s no evidence they’re right. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the Senate tax plan would increase the U.S. deficit by $1.4 trillion over the next decade, and the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation has said the plan will only boost economic growth by 0.8 percent over the next decade, leaving $1 billion in cuts unpaid for. So where does that money come from? The simple answer is Social Security and Medicare, which together comprise 38 percent of the total federal budget, second only to military spending.
“The driver of our debt is the structure of Social Security and Medicare for future beneficiaries,” said Rubio. Other key Republicans have hinted that after the tax bill passes they’ll take on welfare and entitlement programs. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) said that he wants Republicans to reduce spending on government programs in 2018, and last month President Donald Trump said that welfare reform will, “take place right after taxes, very soon, very shortly after taxes.”
Senate Finance Committee Chair Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said Thursday that “liberal programs” for the poor were wasting Americans’ money. “What’s coming next is all too predictable: The deficit hawks will come flying back after this bill becomes law,” said Senator Ron Wyden, (D-Ore.) “Republicans are already saying ‘entitlement reform’ and ‘welfare reform’ are next up on the docket. But nobody should be fooled—that’s just code for attacks on Medicaid, on Medicare, on Social Security, on anti-hunger programs. “Republican senators say their bill helps the middle class, but most analysis of the plan shows that it increases taxes on low-income Americans, and significantly aids wealthy business owners. Cuts to welfare and safety net programs would directly impact the poorest and most vulnerable Americans.
The Republican view on entitlement spending is reminiscent of President Ronald Reagan’s, who also defunded a number of welfare programs to pay for his tax cuts.
In order to remain solvent, changes do need to be made to entitlement programs. Both Social Security and Medicare programs are on a fiscally unsustainable path—Medicare’s hospital insurance trust fund will be exhausted by 2029 and Social Security’s trust fund will be exhausted by 2034.

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The seat of government in the United States has always been the White House. The current resident has all but painted the White House black with the constant stream of lies, poor decisions and outrageous Tweets. The ongoing Tweet Storm which has caused back lash after back lash even from our world allies and is a stain on America. Mean while TOTUS goes along as if all is well with the world (perhaps in his small one). This is as I see it just the beginning of bad things to come under this resident of the titular home of our leader(?). It is bad enough that we have 535 representatives who have stalled any quality legislation for 10 years while allowing detrimental legislation and dubious cabinet appointees move forward. At this time we have a perfect storm of ineptitude in Washington, the very swamp that Trump was going to drain. The only way to relieve this situation is removing as many long time-serving members of Congress and ultimately Donald J. Trump. To be clear who ever we chose to put in office needs to be vetted by the people who if we look at recent history have been lied to on a regular basis by folks running for office. This White House appears to be on a Nixonian path to our destruction. The advent of  Trump has played into the hands of the baser elements of America and is abetted by a neer do well Congress on a path to keep the middle to lower class of America where they are while selling the Snake oil of working for the oft cited “American People”. Keep in mind that the Dupublican Congress stated from the beginning that President Obama would get no legislation passed yet the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania has written dozens of executive orders which have gone unchallenged and will ultimately harm the “American People”. Our ability to survive is in the hands of a little man with a smaller thought range aided by several hundred miscreants masquerading as Statesmen.

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 Listening to Paul Ryan this morning confirms that the Dupublican House and Senate are striving to sell snake oil to the American people. This is politicks at best and gross incompetence at worst. Multiple GOP senators leaving the chamber after a dramatic late afternoon vote said a key proposal for deficit hawks — a trigger to raise tax rates if sufficient economic growth did not materialize — would not pass procedural muster and would need to find something else to satisfy the bloc of deficit hawk holdouts, led by Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.). There has been other ideas floated to reduce the cuts to the Corporate rate to get the bill passed. Given the past obstructionist line of the Dupublican Congress, pushing this legislation on a partisan line is not good for any of us. This legislation will ultimately fail the country and hit the middle and lower class earners the hardest. This is should not be a partisan issue but it certainly is and we will all suffer for it. I submit that as voters we need to disassociate ourselves from political parties and think as independent. Keep reminding yourself that Hitler persuaded a country to murder people with lies and cost the lives of millions in a failed war to dominate the world. The continual stream of lies on this tax plan appear to be having the same effect .MA
Eric Zorn

Eric Zorn Contact Reporter

Change of Subject

“Have you no sense of economics?” demanded an angry reader, objecting to my nine-point critique last Wednesday of Republican plans to overhaul the federal tax code.

Well, I do have some sense.

I have a sense that economics is in part a faith-based social science in which political and ideological inclinations can distort the interpretation of the evidence. And I have a sense that economics is an extraordinarily complicated field of study that combines data analysis with psychological modeling to generate forecasts that aren’t always spot-on.

I do a lot of reading. But am I an expert? No.

It happens, though, that actual experts tend to share my skepticism about the hastily conceived tax scheme the GOP is going to try to ram through Congress on purely partisan votes in the next few weeks.

The Initiative on Global Markets at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business oversees a panel of experts in order to explore “the extent to which economists agree or disagree on major public policy issues.”

The initiative’s website notes that the panel “was chosen to include distinguished experts with a keen interest in public policy from the major areas of economics, to be geographically diverse, and to include Democrats, Republicans and Independents as well as older and younger scholars. The panel members are all senior faculty at the most elite research universities in the United States.”

The panel, which is periodically polled via email, “includes Nobel laureates, John Bates Clark Medalists, fellows of the Econometric society, past presidents of both the American Economics Association and American Finance Association, past Democratic and Republican members of the President’s Council of Economics, and past and current editors of the leading journals in the profession.”

Thirty-eight of them responded recently to two 10-year predictions based on the rough outlines of the ever-shifting Republican plan to permanently and dramatically cut business taxes while temporarily cutting personal taxes.

1. By 2027, the plan will result in a substantial increase in the U.S. gross domestic product.

Only one expert agreed, while 22 disagreed and 15 expressed uncertainty.

2. By 2027, the plan will result in a substantial increase in the national debt as a percentage of GDP.

None of the experts disagreed, while 37 agreed and the one who expressed uncertainty in his initial response later said he’d misread the question and made the panel unanimous in its agreement.

In May, 37 out of 37 panel respondents disagreed with the proposition that Trump’s tax-cut plans would pay for themselves with increased growth.

In September, Bloomberg polled a different panel of 26 economists and found 21 of them predicting that, despite the Trump administration’s gaudy claims that tax cuts will turbocharge the economy and close the budget gap, the deficit will increase over the next 10 years.

The nonpartisan Penn Wharton Budget Model team at the University of Pennsylvania’s graduate business school earlier this month predicted that national-debt increases of between $1.4 trillion and $1.6 trillion by 2027 under the Senate Republicans’ Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will not be offset by modest GDP increases of between 0.3 percent and 0.8 percent compared to what we’d see without the tax changes.

A similar projection by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center in Washington estimated additional GDP growth at 0.3 percent in 2027.

Meanwhile, the Congressional Budget Office, staffed with nonpartisan nerds with keen senses of economics, this week has offered more brutal news for the GOP: The latest Senate tax plan will indeed add $1.4 trillion to the debt over the next decade, says the CBO, will almost immediately hurt those earning less than $30,000 and, by 2027, will leave those earning less than $75,000 a year less well off. And this doesn’t even figure in CBO estimates that the plan will result in 13 million Americans losing health insurance.

The rich, meanwhile, of course, would get richer.

Bruce Bartlett, director of the Joint Economic Committee of Congress under President Ronald Reagan and one of the architects of “supply-side” economics, now acknowledges the folly of his ways. “Virtually everything Republicans say about taxes today is a lie,” he wrote in a USA Today op-ed in September. “Tax cuts and tax rate reductions will not pay for themselves; they never have. Republicans don’t even believe they will; they are just excuses to slash spending for the poor when revenues collapse and deficits rise.”

It doesn’t require a specialized “sense of economics” to see who’s going to get hurt most should these hastily considered, donor-driven Republican fantasies become law. Just a little common sense.

ericzorn@gmail.com

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