Murphy’s Law: Death and taxes

Three things in life are certain: death, taxes and the fact that Paul Ryan doesn’t get taxes. Republicans and Democrats alike will lie about the Tax Cut and Jobs Act, and our media will confuse and poorly explain it. Decoding the proposal is quite simple: it is a spiteful bill, designed to take from Democrats and distribute to red states, create a right-wing landed gentry and benefit Republican donors, with our Speaker acting as a perverted Robin Hood.

Not all of the bill is bad. The tax break on repatriating corporate cash held abroad should encourage companies to put this money to work in the United States. Allowing corporations to write off the entire value of an investment up-front will actually incentivize them to grow their businesses and hire more workers.

Beyond what the bill does for corporations (which is far from ideal), what it does for individuals is extremely problematic. This bill penalizes the coastal states that drive our economy for the benefit of those that helped put Trump in office. Wealthy states already pay more in federal taxes than they receive in spending. Eliminating the state and local tax deduction is a clear attempt to hit the educated, wealthier populations of these states that are likely to be liberal donors.

Abolishing the estate tax in six years and increasing the amount of inheritance exempt from $5.5 million to $11 million is designed for one thing. It is intended to create a landed gentry of conservative donors, guaranteeing that one wealthy family member can ensure that their descendants remain perpetually wealthy. Why should your dollar earned be taxed more harshly than someone else’s dollar inherited? So the Koch brothers can keep funding conservative super PACs.

One of the less covered aspects of the bill is its repeal of the Johnson Amendment, a provision of the tax code that prohibits 501(c)3 charities from endorsing political candidates. Under the Republican proposal, churches would remain tax-exempt, while being able to spend their money endorsing candidates. Last time I checked, a foundational principle of our government is the separation of church and state. The churches that lack enough shame and have enough money to do this are the so-called deeply “Christian” organizations that think homosexuality is sinful and try to limit women’s reproductive rights. These are not views that we want in our government if we believe “all men are created equal.”

As Trump said, “We love the poorly educated!” This bill targets higher education by increasing taxes on university endowments and student loans. The Republicans want to make it harder to get a college education. Remember why Shi Huangdi burned the books?

This bill will shrink federal tax revenues by $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years. What do you think they’re going to cut to make up for that? Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, education, environmental protection. Basically, the only things of value our government provides. Reforming our broken system is futile and partisan, it should be scrapped and replaced. This bill is Republican payback for the Democrats ignoring the fly-over states. Make no mistake, this is not reform, it is revenge.

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