Bride of tax plan by @BloggersRUs

Bride of tax plan

by Tom Sullivan

New Yorker's John Cassidy lays out a case that Republicans pushing the tax bill want "the tax base decimated, the I.R.S. crippled, and the federal government forced to slash spending on domestic programs." If sabotage is their goal, the tax bill they are about to pass is just the ticket:

What isn’t yet fully appreciated is how porous and potentially unstable the rest of the tax code will be after the bill is passed. With a corporate rate of just twenty per cent, and a big new break for proprietors of unincorporated businesses and certain types of partnerships, the new code will contain enormous incentives for tax-driven restructurings, creative accounting, and outright fraud. Every tax adviser and scammer in the country will be looking for ways to reclassify regular salary income as favored types of business income.
The scheme is so unworkable in its current form, Cassidy writes, that tax experts at New York University and the University of Chicago believe it will not long survive as written. Unless fixed, it will cripple the tax system.

Like that's a bad thing? Destabilizing the tax system may be just the kind of shock believers in government of, by, and for the right people are hoping for. Because having driven through an unstable, Frankenstein-like tax bill, the next order of business will be to assemble its bride.

One doesn't have to be Naomi Klein to see what comes next. House Speaker Paul Ryan is up-front about it:
“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 on a talk radio show. One of his top spending appropriators echoed the sentiment.

“If someone wants to get serious about debt, come talk to me about entitlements," Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) told CNBC. "Tax cuts produce growth; entitlement spending doesn't.”
Well, that makes a good sound bite. But there are over 2 million active duty and reserve military personnel on the government payroll. Over 1.6 million civilian workers in this country owe their steady paychecks, their cars, their homes, their kids’ education, and their retirements to the sainted private-sector, free-market entrepreneurs of the American defense industry, makers of fine consumer products. That's government spending that adds to the economy. The Ryan's and the Coles believe federal dollars spent on Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security do not. There's a lot of talk about bias lately. How about that?

Adding $1 trillion or more to the national debt isn't a problem when the deficits advantage the right people. Or the military. Luckily, the problem with Republicans doing anything against the social safety net in the near-term is the 2018 mid-terms.

Tara Golshan writes for Vox, the GOP caucus is split between cutting Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security and spending on infrastructure:
Republicans attempted sweeping Medicaid cuts earlier this year, and ultimately failed — which was largely attributed to robust advocacy efforts. It was a proposal to block-grant Medicaid that would ultimately cut more than $700 billion from the program over the next 10 years. It proved so unpopular that it was one of the leading reasons the Obamacare repeal effort tanked altogether.

Medicare and Social Security continue to stand along Medicaid as some of the most popular federal spending programs. Earlier this year, only 12 percent of Americans said they wanted Congress to decrease Medicaid spending, according to a poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation. A Pew study found only 10 percent of Republican-leaning Americans wanted to reduce funding for Social Security, and 15 percent wanted to decrease spending on Medicare.
Those numbers may ultimately quash any immediate attempt to slash the safety net. Plus the fact that the White House expects to roll out some sort of $1 trillion infrastructure plan in January. Likely, it will come in the form of public-private partnerships that push fees onto taxpayers and cost them even more on the back end when the ventures fail.

Once upon a time, Republicans believed in stimulating growth directly, as Eisenhower did, by actually building things. The interstate highway system was not only a jobs program, but a way of growing the economy that is still paying dividends today. The FDR-era Central Valley Project still feeds the country. Republicans no longer believe in that America. Now stimulating growth means diverting money, not water. Can they build anything anymore besides legislative Frankensteins?

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