Tax Cuts For The Rich Help The Rich, Not You

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By Josh Hoxie for Other Word – You’ll see images of families flashing across your TV screen while a soothing narrator assures you that the tax plan being debated in Washington really is good for you. The newspapers you read, the social media apps you scroll through, the websites you frequent, and the snippets of radio you catch will all feature ads talking about it. That’s what a marketing blitz looks like, and there’s one coming for the Trump tax plan. It will be well-produced, well-orchestrated, and completely devoid of facts. President Trump started his sales pitch for his tax cutting agenda in Missouri in August, where the assembled audience was treated to a fact-free sermon on the virtues of his plan. Gone were any specifics of what’s in it, or who gets what. Looking at Trump’s tax plan from the campaign, as well as what the Republican majority in the House of Representatives have proposed, we can see the basic outlines of what’s coming. Corporations will see their nominal tax rates drop from 35 percent to 20 or even 15 percent. Individual rates will go down — possibly for everyone, but definitely and most strikingly for the very wealthy. Overall tax revenue will tank, potentially by as much as $10 trillion over ten years. What does all this look like in the real world? On the corporate side, we know for sure that lower corporate taxes do not create jobs.

The Coming Tax Fight — And Why We Need You!

Trump flanked by the Blackstone CEO, Stephen Schwarzman, a Momentive investor and Trump’s ‘jobs czar’, and the General Motors CEO, Mary Barra. Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

By Chuck Collins for Inequality – Are you ready to resist? With Donald Trump’s August 30 tax cut speech in Springfield, Missouri, the great tax fight of 2017 has now begun. The Trump tax cut plan, the President blustered in Missouri, will raise wages and benefit America’s working people. “This speech was an extraordinary effort to obfuscate, fabricate, and create an alternative reality,” says Frank Clemente, co-founder and director of Americans for Tax Fairness. “Trump has a big sales job: to make a tax cut that will mostly benefit Trump and his fellow billionaires appealing to his regular base.” The Americans for Tax Fairness coalition, founded in 2012, now represents over 425 national and state organizations and serves as the key advocacy umbrella organization on progressive tax reform. The coalition has been preparing for this moment all year. Clemente has essentially been preparing his whole life. From campaigns to expand health care and reform the campaign finance system to serving as issues director for the 1988 Presidential campaign of the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Clemente has put in decades working for economic justice. “I’ve been fighting corporate power in different ways all my life,” he notes. “But I don’t think we’ve gone up against a lobbying operation this size before.”

Can The Politicians Heed The Lessons Of Hurricane Harvey?

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By Ralph Nader of The Nader Page – Hovering Hurricane Harvey, loaded and reloading with trillions of gallons of water raining down on the greater Houston region—ironically the hub of the petroleum refining industry—is an unfolding, off the charts tragedy for millions of people. Many of those most affected are minorities and low-income families with no homes, health care or jobs to look forward to once the waters recede. Will this tragedy teach us the lessons that so many politicians and impulsive voters have been denying for so long? The first lesson is that America must come home: we must end the Empire of Militarism and of playing the role of policeman of the planet. Both of these habitual roles are backfiring and depleting trillions of taxpayer dollars that could be better used toward rebuilding our country’s infrastructure, strengthening our catastrophe-response networks and preparing for the coming megastorms like Hurricane Harvey. A projected trillion dollars being spent by Obama, and now Trump, just to upgrade nuclear weapons will only spur another arms race with Russia and China. This money could be more productively spent protecting Americans from immediate threats, such as natural disasters from man-made climate change.

How President Trump’s Tax Plan Would Really Affect The Middle Class

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By Chye-Ching Huang for CBPP – President Trump is set to speak in Missouri today where he will reportedly continue to tout his tax plan’s benefits for the middle class even though it would actually concentrate its tax cuts at the top — and could even hurt low- and middle-income families. Over the last two years, the President has released several different tax plans that would deliver trillions of dollars in tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans and corporations but do little to help working families. Yet, he’s consistently promised to help the middle class: in his inaugural address, for example, he said that “every decision” on taxes will “be made to benefit American workers and American families.” In fact, if President Trump’s proposed tax cuts are paid for through the types of spending cuts he has proposed in his budget, low- and middle-income Americans would clearly end up far worse off.

Tax The Rich To House The Poor

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By the National Low Income Housing Coalition. Washington, DC – The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) released the “Reforming the Mortgage Interest Deduction: How Tax Reform Can Help End Homelessness and Housing Poverty” report today calling for Congress and the Trump administration to use mortgage interest deduction (MID) reform to end homelessness and housing poverty in America. The report identifies solutions to the homelessness and affordable housing crisis in America that would incur no additional cost to the federal government, those proposed by the NLIHC-led United for Homes (UFH) campaign. The report and UFH campaign call for modest reforms to the mortgage interest deduction (MID)—a $70 billion tax write-off that primarily benefits higher income households—and for reinvesting the billions in savings in affordable housing for the lowest income families with the greatest needs.

Why Tax Cuts for the Rich Solve Nothing

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By Joseph E. Stiglitz for Project Syndicate. A politically astute president who understood deeply the economics and politics of corporate tax reform could conceivably muscle Congress toward a reform package that made sense. Trump is not that leader. If corporate tax reform happens at all, it will be a hodge-podge brokered behind closed doors. More likely is a token across-the-board tax cut: the losers will be future generations, out-lobbied by today’s avaricious moguls, the greediest of whom include those who owe their fortunes to scummy activities, like gambling. The sordidness of all of this will be sugarcoated with the hoary claim that lower tax rates will spur growth. There is simply no theoretical or empirical basis for this, especially in countries like the US, where most investment (at the margin) is financed by debt and interest is tax deductible. The marginal return and marginal cost are reduced proportionately, leaving investment largely unchanged. In fact, a closer look, taking into account accelerated depreciation and the effects on risk sharing, shows that lowering the tax rate likely reduces investment.

There’s No ‘Free Market’ Solution To Health Care

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By Geoff Coventry for Other Words – The Republicans have big plans for health care in this country: to eliminate coverage for millions of Americans while delivering a big tax cut to the rich. As someone who stands to benefit from that tax cut, let me just say: I don’t need it, and I don’t want it. No tax cut is worth excluding millions of Americans from the health services they need. Any new health care legislation should be focused on providing the best available health services for all Americans, not deliberately putting them out of reach. And yet, this is exactly what the twin monstrosities that came out of the House and Senate would have done. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the House bill would’ve left 23 million Americans uncovered by 2026. The Senate version was only a shade better, leaving 22 million people out. Those bills were nonstarters with the public — the party was forced to pull them, along with any immediate plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). This Republican-majority Congress has shown their cards: They favor less coverage for workers and the elderly and lower taxes for the wealthy. Republicans in both chambers claim they’re doing this to support “freedom” and “choice” for the American people. They say the “free market” is the only way to provide Americans with access to affordable health care.

Colorado’s Marijuana Tax Revenue Now Exceeds Half A Billion Dollars

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State Rep. Jonathan Singer (D) accepts a novelty check for half a billion dollars from “The Cannabis Community” on Wednesday.

By Ryan Grenoble for The Huffington Post – In the three-and-a-half years since the state began allowing adults to purchase marijuana for recreational use, cannabis has contributed more than half a billion dollars in tax revenue to both state and local coffers. That’s according to a report released Wednesday by the Denver-based marijuana consulting firm VS Strategies. Based on data from the Colorado Department of Revenue, the firm tabulated that cannabis-related taxes from 2014 through mid-2017 totaled $506,143,635. That includes the taxes on purchases of marijuana for recreational or medical use, as well as fees paid by cannabis businesses. The tax figure is substantially more than some experts predicted in 2012 when Colorado voters approved Amendment 64, which legalized recreational marijuana. At that time, some analysts projected the state would net between $5 and $22 million a year in taxes. VS Strategies spotlighted its report by presenting an oversize check for half a billion dollars Wednesday to Colorado state Rep. Jonathan Singer (D). A majority of money has gone to fund K-12 education (even with that, Colorado’s education funding badly lags behind most of the rest of the country). Amendment 64 requires the first $40 million in tax revenue be allotted for school construction.

Seattle Makes History – Passes ‘Tax The Rich’ Income Tax

Kshama Sawant addresses a crowd of "tax the rich" supporters outside at a rally before the vote.

By Andre Roberge for Progressive Army – Even though this may seem like cut-and-dry common sense legislation, this ordinance still has an uphill battle ahead of itself. Former Washington State Attorney Rob McKenna laid bare the main issues as follows: 1.[The city] would also have to persuade the Supreme Court to ignore an existing state statute that prohibits counties, cities … from imposing a tax on net income. 2.[What they] would have to do is persuade the Supreme Court to overlook its own precedent. The precedent alluded to above deals with a 1930s Washington Supreme Court decision that states “income is property, and the state’s constitution declares that all property must be taxed uniformly.” Since Seattle’s proposed income tax is a progressive tax and not “uniformly” distributed onto all tax brackets, the Supreme Court would have to redefine property. Some critics have gone even further.

Financial Industry Split On Speculation Tax

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By Sarah Anderson for Inequality.org – Wall Street lobbyists have the luxury, at least for now, of largely ignoring calls for a U.S. tax on financial speculation. While Senator Bernie Sanders made such a tax a centerpiece of his presidential bid, the Republicans who now control Washington are focused on delivering tax cuts — not increases — to their banker friends. But in Europe, it’s another story. Ten EU governments have committed to imposing a small tax on stock and derivatives trading as a way to raise massive revenue for urgent needs while also encouraging longer-term sustainable investment. And while the European negotiations over tax design have dragged on for several years, they are now close enough to cutting a deal to make industry opponents genuinely worried. The financial lobby is putting particularly intense pressure on the new French president, Emmanuel Macron. A former banker, Macron is viewed as a potential weak link in the coalition that has been working to develop the tax. To help counter this pressure, 52 senior financial professionals have broken rank with their industry peers and released a joint statement in support of financial transaction taxes (FTT). The signers include Lord Adair Turner, the UK’s former top financial regulator, Rob Johnson, president of the New York-based Institute for New Economic Thinking and the former managing director at Soros Fund Management…

Traditional Welfare And Taxes Can Be Reformed To Support Universal Basic Income

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By Scott Santens for Futurism – Some of the most common questions ever asked in regards to the idea of a universal basic income (UBI) are in regards to the details. “How much income? Who gets it? Who pays for it? How is it paid for? What does it replace?” These are all great and important questions, but the answers vary from person to person, because the answers are a matter of personal and political preferences when it comes to fine-grained details. With that said, after years of studying basic income, below you will find what I currently believe in May of 2017 are the details of an optimally designed UBI blueprint. First, how much are we talking about? In the United States, I suggest starting with the definition of poverty we already use, and eliminating poverty entirely. According to 2017 federal poverty guidelines, this means if we were to pass legislation tomorrow, it would need to be $12,060 per adult citizen and $4,180 per dependent under 18. The amount for kids is imperative so that income floors scale according to household sizes. A child basic income is also in large part a revenue neutral consolidation of existing expenditures presently unequally distributed. However, for reasons I will explain below, I suggest adding 10% to each amount, so $13,266 ($1,105/mo) per adult citizen and $4,598 ($383/mo) per citizen under 18.

Price-Gouging Rx Companies To Get $28 Billion Tax Break In GOP Health Plan

Newly leaked TPP text "is clearly intended to cater to the interests of the pharmaceutical industry," writes Dr. Deborah Gleeson in her analysis. (Photo: ep_jhu/flickr/cc)

By Will Rice for Americans for Tax Fairness – Pharmaceutical companies are among the biggest offshore tax dodgers. Three drug firms—Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and Merck—are among the top 10 American corporations stashing earnings offshore to avoid U.S. taxes. Pfizer (maker of Celebrex, Lipitor, and Viagra) alone has some $200 billion in profits parked offshore, much of it presumably in tax havens. Gilead Sciences and Amgen each has around $37 billion offshore, apparently all of it in tiny nations where little or no tax is due. (American corporations owe U.S. taxes on all their worldwide profits each year, but a giant loophole lets multinationals indefinitely delay paying on profits booked offshore.) A big chunk of Gilead’s stashed profits came from hepatitis cures priced so high that hundreds of thousands of patients went untreated even as the federal government was laying out billions of dollars a year for Gilead’s drugs. Last year, Pfizer tried to renounce its American identity in order to dodge $35 billion in U.S. taxes, even though it’s prospered here for over 150 years and gets about a billion dollars annually in federal contracts.

Seattle Mayor, 2 City Council Members Propose City Income Tax On The Rich

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By Staff and Matt Lorch for Q13 FOX News – SEATTLE — Mayor Ed Murray and City Council members Kshama Sawant and Lisa Herbold on Monday proposed a new tax on high-income households. The proposal would place a 2 percent tax on joint filers’ income over $500,000 and single tax filers’ income over $250,000. They said the estimated $125 million in new annual revenue would allow the city to lower the burden associated with property taxes and other regressive taxes, replace federal funding potentially lost through President Donald Trump’s budget cuts and enhance public services such as housing, education and transit. Seattle income tax? “Washington state’s tax structure is the most regressive in the country, putting the burden on many of our most vulnerable residents,” Murray said. “Leaving cities with only regressive tax options puts the heaviest burden on working people, families and communities of color. By replacing a system that relies too heavily on property and sales taxes with a progressive income tax, we can ease that burden and generate revenue to invest in Seattle priorities…” Sawant said, “I ran for office four years ago on a program of a $15 per hour minimum wage, to tax the rich, and for rent control.

Massachusetts To Vote On Taxing The Wealthy

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By Staff of MTA – The Massachusetts Legislature, meeting in a Constitutional Convention, has approved sending the proposed Fair Share Amendment to the November 2018 state ballot. The legislators’ vote of 134-55 on Wednesday, June 14, was the second by a Constitutional Convention on the measure, as is required for amendments to the Massachusetts Constitution. The citizens’ initiative would create an additional 4 percent tax on annual income over $1 million. The tax would raise almost $2 billion a year for public education and transportation. To ensure that the tax would be applied only to the highest-income residents, the $1 million threshold would be adjusted each year to reflect cost-of-living increases. MTA President Barbara Madeloni said that the amendment is needed because “our public schools and colleges are drastically underfunded.” “We have many communities in need of free high-quality prekindergarten,” she continued. “We need to make sure that arts, athletics and cultural activities are available to students no matter where they live — and we cannot let cost be a hurdle to students looking to pursue higher education in our public colleges and universities. It’s time to give the voters public education funding that is sufficient to meet the needs of all of our students.”

Trump Puts Forward Tax Plan For Ultra Rich & Big Business

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (left) and National Economic Advisor Gary Cohn introduced the Trump administration's tax plan on Wednesday. (Photo: Reuters)

By Deirdre Fulton for Common Dreams – Decrying Trump’s proposal as “a very big step in precisely the wrong direction,” the Economic Policy Institute’s Josh Bivens and Hunter Blair wrote of the pass-through tax cut that “it will help private equity managers and people like President Trump: wealthy people who will now be able to reconfigure their taxes by reclassifying themselves as independent contractors. This isn’t theory, this is exactly what happened in Kansas.” In that state, Blair elaborated in a separate post on Wednesday, establishing a pass-through loophole led to “even more lost tax revenue.” Another aspect of Trump’s plan would eliminate the alternative minimum tax, or AMT, which was established to ensure that the super-rich are not able to use loopholes to escape their tax liability altogether. Trump’s 2005 tax return showed that for that year, “he paid 25 percent of $153 million in taxable income instead of the less than 4 percent that he would have paid without” the AMT, as the New York Times reported when the return was released last month. Cohn also announced that the administration’s proposal would repeal the so-called “estate tax” on holdings transferred from deceased people to their heirs.