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Quick Takes

In today’s Quick Takes: Tax Bill Update


It’s almost as if they didn’t read it before they voted for it. Citigroup came out and warned of a $20B charge as a result of the bill, the CEO of one of the largest coal companies came out and said the tax bill would destroy his company and cost thousands of jobs, tax professionals reading the details are basically left to say “holy crap”, and if you dig further you’ll see they are actually trying to raise your taxes by dictating how you can sell stocks in your brokerage account. The bill is generating so much excitement that a whopping 29% of Americans approve of it.

But it gets better. As we know the bill will greatly add to the deficit. The big beneficiaries: Corporations and the top 1%. Who will pay for it? How will we make up for the math difference? Paul Ryan is telling you:

“House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Wednesday said House Republicans will aim to cut spending on Medicare, Medicaid and welfare programs next year as a way to trim the federal deficit.

“We’re going to have to get back next year at entitlement reform, which is how you tackle the debt and the deficit,” Ryan said during an interview on Ross Kaminsky’s talk radio show.

Health-care entitlements such as Medicare and Medicaid “are the big drivers of debt,” Ryan said, “so we spend more time on the health-care entitlements, because that’s really where the problem lies, fiscally speaking.” Not the massive increase in military spending that was just approved of course.

So I suggest folks better pay attention here. They add to the deficit and debt by implementing tax reform for cash rich corporations & increase military spending and then cut benefits for cash strapped consumers because suddenly the debt and deficit matter again.

The point I’ve been making all along in Tax Cut Scam: This tax bill is a mess, it’s a scam and it has nothing to do with jobs or economic growth. We’ve already established that. Goldman, the Fed, yesterday Alan Greenspan, all saying the same thing: This bill will do very little to add to economic growth.

That of course does not stop the bullshitter in Chief who’s out there talking about seeing “no reason why we don’t go to 4 percent, 5 percent, and even 6 percent.” You know someone’s full of unfounded hyperbole when they project numbers that are all over the map and not rooted in any base reality:

“Today, Federal Reserve officials and most mainstream economists expect economic growth to remain closer to 2 percent.

While the GOP tax plan, if enacted, could help spur growth, the official congressional forecast from the Joint Committee on Taxation expects the package will add just 0.8 percent to the current forecast.” (Note: Goldman says 0.3%)

Let’s be real here: The man hasn’t even read the bill. He’s a fantasist that keeps sticking to message no matter reality or facts. Indeed, he said the same thing during the campaign in 2016:

Fact Check: Trump Says He’d Push GDP Growth ‘5 or 6%’

It doesn’t matter what he says. Doesn’t change the reality on the ground. I’ll just observe that if any of us were to walk around spouting fantasy numbers like that we’d be met with laughter and ridicule. But such is the state of politics and as long as people believe things that are not rooted in facts or reality people will get away stating things that are not rooted in fact or reality.

My larger structural concern on the political front: Political tribalism has so extinguished dialectical truth that it is virtually impossible to have a fact based discussion aimed at finding solutions to address actual problems. And if this is so, how’s the country ever able to solve problems? A structure that can’t solve problems will eventually fall victim to them.

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