Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Tax Bill Hypocrisy

Why are the president’s tax returns relevant now that he is elected. Was this not a promise as well a campaign issue? Today the house and senate are voting on a new tax package that likely has provisions that directly benefit the president and his family. If we had his tax return we would know for sure.    

Trump has repeatedly refused to disclose anything about his own taxes, insisting that those documents say very little about a person's financial status and noting that he has filed financial disclosure forms already. 

In every version of the tax legislation up to this point, the bill out of conference and near passage is finally bringing to light a concern:  Which industries benefit from a major new tax break — and which ones are left behind.

Analysis was based on Trump's estimated net worth and his 2005 tax return, the only such return made public thus far. It found that the president could save more than $20 million himself, while his heirs could save $1.1 billion. Source The Hill

Thanks to the particular rules surrounding pass-throughs, wealthy architecture firms are singled out for big gains in the final bill but not in the Senate legislation.  And real estate companies like those owned by President Trump and his family, fare better in the final bill than they did in the original Senate plan.

The particular provision in question allows real estate investors to get a special 20% tax rate like other small businesses -- even without paying significant wages to anybody, unlike other businesses. This clearly helps Trump himself, who holds many assets that he simply licenses out to others to run. Job creation this is not.

Example: The rules would block a baseball star from putting his multi-million dollar salary into an LLC and getting the lower rate. But they also meant a billionaire who inherited a real estate company would get a huge tax reduction while a tiny accounting business would be left out.  Source NBC News.

See a pattern here?

According to Scott Greenberg, an analyst at the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, "It's not specifically intended to benefit real estate, although the way they’ve designed the provision makes it particularly favorable to real estate."

President Trump’s and his family’s most obvious business. His denials that the the bill will not benefit him, are false. 

Also Senator Bob Corker, R-Tennessee, a longtime "deficit hawk," or so-called fiscal conservative, said he will vote for the tax bill even though it has irresponsible deficit impact. Corker himself is a real estate developer and will personally benefit from the provision upon his retirement next year. While Corker has publicly denied that the last minute addition in the final conference bill influenced his mind changing decision, its presence further underscores the cruelty of the bill and reeks of pay for play/vote. The Republican plan privileges the wealthy -- including the ones with large real estate holdings like the President.

If Trump had been serious about keeping his promise to drain the swamp, he would have allowed senators enough time to read the bill before pressuring them to decide how to vote. Or had given the American public time to see its hypocrisy. But if he had done that, the President might have had to think of something other than tax cuts to get his family for Christmas. And who can beat giving their kids millions or billions in extra cash -- especially when others are picking up the tab?

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