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Thoughts on Events the Week of December 18

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on December 30, 2017

Tax Overhaul Bill Becomes Law: The Republican-controlled Congress and White House passed their tax overhaul bill, and deemed it the biggest “win” since, well, ever, according to the president. Republican Congresspersons then rushed to kiss the president’s ass and gushed to tell him that he is the greatest leader since Alexander the Great, only greater.

Republicans, reporters and pundits have used the word “win” incessantly in the run up to the passing of this bill. It seems a word out of joint with the circumstances. It implies that governance is a zero sum game. Governance isn’t a game at all, and if there is a prize, it is not to notch a win, but to do something to help citizens. I prefer a word such as achievement.

And, the bill begs the question is it really a win even as Republicans define one? The bill is significantly upside down in popularity. Almost 85% of the tax break benefits go to large corporations and those already way too rich. The bill also damages Obamacare, the repeal of which the public viciously rejected earlier this year. People are going to figure this out.

In my view, this worst thing about this bill I have not heard discussed. It involves the Republican lie that American corporations are the highest taxed in the world, which is utter nonsense. There are so many loopholes written into our tax laws for special interest groups that not even a corporation run by a moron would pay the posted tax rate of 35%. In practice, our rates are competitive.

Well, now our posted rate has been lowered to 21%, an extremely hefty tax savings. But, there is nothing in the legislation I can find that eliminates any of those loopholes that rendered the 35% rate a joke, only more depreciation benefits. With the rate lowered and the loopholes remaining, again, not even a corporation run by a moron will pay the 21%.

Until almost the last minute, I was confident this bill would not pass, first because it is so bad, and second because six Republican Senators said they were opposed to it. Every one of them caved and voted Yes. Let’s consider a few of them.

We’ll begin with Bob Corker (R-TN) who opposes Trump and Trumpism. Trump’s base turned on him so strongly that Corker announced that he would not seek another term. He also said that he would vote No on any tax overhaul bill that added a single dollar to the deficit. (Trump’s will add at least $1.4 billion of them.)

But Republicans added a bribe clause that gives Corker a big tax break on his real estate investments (it helps Trump in the same way), and Corker voted Yes on the bill. So much for fiscal conservative principles.

Then there is the aptly named Jeff Flake (R-AZ). Very similar story for Flake: opposed Trump, attacked by the base, will not run again. He owes Trump less than nothing. Called the tax overhaul bill all kinds of names and then voted Yes on it.

The other Arizona Senator, the senile senior one – John McCain – voted No on the repeal vote, but said he would vote Yes on the tax bill, even though it damages Obamacare. In the event, he missed the vote, because he was home being treated for his brain cancer and/or to die.

Marco Rubio (R-FL) blustered he wouldn’t vote for this bill, then used a couple of meaningless amendments as an excuse to vote Yes. He’s still not ready for his big boy pants.

Finally, let’s not forget Susan Collins (R-ME), who voted No on repeal and vowed to vote No on the tax bill. In the end, she voted Yes, because, she said, she was given assurances some healthcare improvements would be added. When they weren’t added, she still voted Yes, but claimed she was betrayed. Sorry, Susan, but it’s too late to be courageous or principled now.

All of these Senators were for sale, and at a discount, on a tax bill that rewards the already rich, damages healthcare, runs up the deficit and generally screws everybody else. Shame on all of them.

Football: I did not watch the Cowboys’ loss to the Seattle Seahawks Sunday, but it must have been a dismal showing. The Cowboys lost 12 to 21, and have missed the playoffs, again. Teams that score only 12 points or fewer lose a depressingly high percentage of such games. Tom Landry told his defenses that if they held the opponent to 17 points, they would win the game, and he was right.

The Cowboys have gone as far as they can go with this coaching staff. They will go no farther until they change it.

Status of the States: Arizona gets the cup this week, because uniquely among red states, both senators said they would vote No on the tax bill and then caved.

 

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