Three Things: No, No, and Hell to the NO on the Tax Bill [UPDATED]

NB: Update at the bottom of this post.

I don’t have three things. I just have three (or more) layers of pure rage about the so-called tax reform bill now returned to the Senate floor.

There is not one good thing about this bill. Nothing, nada, zippo, nil. How anyone could possibly think adding $1 trillion to the deficit — ostensibly to raid Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid in the near future — is a positive is simply beyond my grasp.

And yet Senate Republicans are willing to set fire to the economy, torch people’s health care, wreak ruin upon academia and research, just to stay on their donors’ good side.

Super-wealthy donors are extorting performance from the GOP by withholding donations until they get their tax cuts. They are literally demanding the GOP obtains campaign contributions from the lowest and middle classes by increasing taxes or reducing benefits and transferring the funding to the uppermost class which does not need it but will instead convert the tax cuts to campaign contributions.

If these corrupt GOP senators continue blindly supporting this tax bill, they will stem consumption by the true engine of economic growth while encouraging greater anger across the largest percentage of citizens. I am reminded of the economic troubles in Germany before the 1929 market crash, the following wave of mass unemployment and a banking crisis leading to domination of National Socialism.

We know how that turned out.

This is an open thread. Bring your tax bill rage and off-topic stuff here.

UPDATE — 4:45 PM EST —

Looks like Senate GOP has been inundated with lobbyists’ requests for favors (read: quid pro quos for future donations) now being tacked onto the tax bill without any final draft bill available for reading by either the Senate or the public. Totally corrupt bunch of hacks.

As @Celeste_pewter says, keep calling; even if Sen. ‘Turtlehead’ McConnell says the GOP has 51 votes, they still need to get through conference committee. Congressional switchboard is (202) 224-3121. Here’s a script for your use.

Thanks to Sen. Ron Wyden who continues to fight for the individual mandate.

Boos and rotten tomatoes to Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, who sold out for rather meager tidbits — state/local tax write-offs for Collins, and drilling more oil for Murkowski. The cost to constituents’ health and financial well-being is a lousy trade-off .

Blogger since 2002, political activist since 2003, geek since birth. Opinions informed by mixed-race, multi-ethnic, cis-female condition, further shaped by kind friends of all persuasions. Sci-tech frenemy, wannabe artist, decent cook, determined author, successful troublemaker. Mother of invention and two excessively smart-assed young adult kids. Attended School of Hard Knocks; Rather Unfortunate Smallish Private Business School in Midwest; Affordable Mid-State Community College w/evening classes. Self-employed at Tiny Consulting Business; previously at Large-ish Chemical Company with HQ in Midwest in multiple marginalizing corporate drone roles, and at Rather Big IT Service Provider as a project manager, preceded by a motley assortment of gigs before the gig economy was a thing. Blogging experience includes a personal blog at the original blogs.salon.com, managing editor for a state-based news site, and a stint at Firedoglake before landing here at emptywheel as technology’s less-virginal-but-still-accursed Cassandra.

29 replies
  1. Paul Fretheim says:

    “Donors who are extorting performance from the GOP by withholding donations until they get their tax cuts. ” I love Marcy and pay close attention to her brilliant analysis every time I see her on Democracy Now! But the quote here is not a sentence and needs to be fixed.

    • Rayne says:

      Thanks. I meant to change that sentence before hitting Publish; I was too hot under the collar and forgot to go back to tweak it.

      By the way, this post was by me, Rayne, not Marcy. She was busy writing a post on Flynn while I drafted this angry screed. Thanks for reading.

  2. Joan says:

    Donors are shaking down our politicians, if politians vote against the tax bill they wont get money for their campaigns! How did we get here? We need money for all the upcoming climate disasters! Rich guys don’t need the money. They want to dig up arctic wilderness in this bill. Its our money!! Why do we have no say in how it gets spent?

  3. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Re Flynn and tweet posts that suggest Mueller’s got nothin’ if the only charge is lying to the FBI: that position is naive.  The lying charge is a felony, a significant and permanent stain on his record that might carry prison time and other consequences.  It is likely that the penalties will be light, so as to reward a guilty but cooperating witness who can implicate others higher up the chain who are more culpable.  Probably, there’s a clause that severely increases Flynn’s penalties if he fails to cooperate fully, much less is caught lying again or otherwise obstructing justice.

    Flynn was hand-in-glove with Trump for months.  They got along.  He knows things.  The trick is whether what he knows and discloses, independently verified, carries legal or criminal jeopardy for others.  Most likely.  Equally likely, the plea documents will reveal as little as possible, so that Mueller can make Flynn’s colleagues sweat. Fear is greatest when you know the threat is out there but can’t see it. The White House should probably buy up all the Depends in DC they can find, and some air freshener.

    • Rugger9 says:

      I’ll agree the Mueller charges are remarkably light for the evidence already out there.  Also consider the Army can do something about this as well in a general court martial but my sense is they were waiting to see what the civilian world would do first.  As a general officer he doesn’t retire in the same way others do from the military and remains under the UCMJ’s thumb.

      The big question is: who is big enough to give up to sort-of save his skin and save his son from jail time (although Flynn Jr’s tweeting might change that calculation)?  Only one or two names come to mind, and our signal would appear to be whether Trump tries to fire Mueller when Flynn says too much. I’m also not sure Mueller can’t add to the list if Flynn is not fully cooperative (and I do mean FULLY).

      The execrable tax giveaway proves once again that the GOP will vote in lockstep even if they mumble about “concerns” or being “troubled”.  What’s different this time is how brazen they have been about the lies even when called on them, Hatch and others have made it clear they will want this done now even admitting it is because the fat-cat donors want it.  It will be the ticket to dismantle everything else, Medicare, Social Security, CHIP, etc., all will be sacrificed to the austerity that follows because that is the pattern that was done before in Kansas and Wisconsin.

      The Koch brothers acquisition of Time (IIRC) also means that the dissent against the betters (as they believe it) will not be allowed to have a voice, ditto for Pai’s mad dash to get rid of net neutrality.  The fact already reported that the pro-restriction comments were bot-generated gives away that game, but it will be the last anyone hears of this if the GOP succeeds.  After all, the purpose of power is to hold on to power.

      • Rayne says:

        The six counts charged against Scooter Libby:

        • one count of obstruction of justice (18 USC §1503) — impeding the grand jury’s investigation;

        • two counts of perjury (18 USC §1623) — lying under oath before the grand jury on March 5 and March 24, 2005;

        • two counts of making false statements (18 USC §1001(a)(2)) — making “materially false and intentionally misleading statements” to FBI agents

        Archived copy of the indictment at Wayback Machine (pdf) for your reading enjoyment.

  4. Rapier says:

    The plan, such as it is, is to continue  the inflation of financial assets especially stocks. The stock market is the lens through which most people judge the economy.  The problem is that the Fed is just starting to pull the punch bowl. By next fall when they are  destroying $50bn a month in money, which is exactly what they are doing with ‘normalization’ then unless a new mechanism is found to liquefy stocks is found then there will be some negative trends in stock prices.

     

    The question in my mind is if there is enough coordination between the banking giants, the hugely wealthty, worldwide from Switzerland, Saudi Arabia and the like, and perhaps the plunge protection team too, to keep a bull run going on into history making   territory.

    If there is then the fascists win.  If the fascist convince people they can bring ‘wealth’ to new unprecedented heights then the democracy stuff can sail along just fine.

    • Rayne says:

      There’s no place to put the money besides equities unless fossil fuel remains central to the global economy; it’s not, now that solar is cheaper than oil. Real estate has now become too pricey — insufficient return on investment when retail can’t afford it.  Consequently, stock prices are too high and will go higher until consumption begins to collapse. And then what do the  uppermost of the investor class do?

      I have been thinking about the wording Jim White pointed to in the IP3 presentation slides: ‘resourcing stability’, instead of ‘resourcing conflict’.

      You know where the money is made when there’s nowhere to put money? It’s in volatility — or instability, if you will. Now imagine dark pools out of sight of the public, outside of government oversight (so far), trading like mad on ‘resourced instability’.

  5. earlofhuntingdon says:

    This tax bill might be the worst piece of legislation in a century.  It would finally undo the legacy of both FDR and Lyndon Johnson, a wet dream of the Right for generations.  It would impoverish millions and worsen the lives of tens of millions.  Many will sicken and die because of it.  It would be immensely hard to undo.  Emboldened by its passage, a power drunk GOP will follow it by taking a scythe to much of what remains of the social welfare net.  Worse still, Trump and his cohort – via doing away with inheritance tax – will have ensconced themselves as a permanent, hereditary financial and governing elite.  It would make the American Dream shrivel up and die.

    Those are not exaggerations.  This is not time to hunker down, avoid controversy because this is the season to be nice, and hope that things will turn out right in the end.  The street felons who’ve broken the plate glass window will drunkenly grab all the TVs in sight, because they will have paid off the cops ahead of time.

    • Rayne says:

      There are no cops. There are street thugs and the consiglieri. We’re nothing but marks in a really long con which will end in death for the weakest among us.

      • posaune says:

        I contact every Repub senator this week protesting this bill.   McCain is the worst — SOB.

        For just one slice of damage, look at foster kids and special needs adoptions:

        1.   The adoption tax credit is gone;  the adoption tax credit for special needs children is gone, too.

        2.  Title IV subsidies for older special needs kids adopted from foster care are gone.

        3.  The tax deductions for medical expenses are gone — this is huge for special needs families!

        4.   Health insurance and Medicaid will likely be gone.

        5.   Organizations like The Arc and other supports for special needs families will be broke and unable to lend support for respite, therapies, and education.

        And this is but ONE segment of the USA.

        I’m sick about all of this!

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Ah, McCain.  The progeny of two admirals, the third generation to have full compensation, pensions and benefits paid courtesy of the public dime.  Support McCain still has as a public employee working for the Senate.

          McCain, married to a hundred million dollars, but a man willing to increase taxes on and deprive services from the lowly paid.  Execrable, vicious, cruel.  I hope he enjoys his gold-plated, taxpayer-funded healthcare through his apparently terminal cancer, a benefit he will have actively denied millions of his fellow Americans.

  6. Rugger9 says:

    Another topic to consider is what Trump was doing to spike the Senate investigation, which appears to me to be a textbook case of conspiracy to obstruct justice and the Senators are also liable to be charged for not reporting it at least even if they didn’t make any calls.  It seems only Maddow has this, but she usually does her research on the facts even if the conclusions are sometimes “out there”.

    http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/trump-faces-new-obstruction-allegations-russia-scandal

    We now have Plan A for defending against Flynn: he’s an Obama guy, not Trump’s guy.

    https://www.rawstory.com/2017/12/white-house-lawyer-ty-cobb-describes-mike-flynn-as-a-former-obama-official-after-guilty-plea/

    OT but typical of the Kaiser’s dominion: Jared can’t pass the background check.

    https://www.rawstory.com/2017/12/jared-kushner-cant-pass-his-security-clearance-probe/

  7. Rayne says:

    I can’t with this incredible, toxic hypocrisy and stupidity.

    https://twitter.com/MEPFuller/status/936641259313270786

    The GOP is absolutely incapable of governance.

    Bugs the shit out of me this kabuki is going down in the Senate under the cover of the Flynn announcement. How utterly convenient; it’s like the only thing the GOP is good at is stabbing Americans in the back out of sight of media or with media’s complicity.

  8. TarheelDem says:

    This tax bill is so loopy that I offer my own equally loopy counter-proposal.

    Nationalize all private debt outstanding on December 31, 2017, and wipe it away. Yes, a jubilee.

    All lenders will do this by adjusting their records, issuing statements to their borrowers of what they have done.

    Cap interest rates at 6% for loans. Cap the effects of compounding at 2 times principle over 10 years. That should be easy to amortize.

    More could be done, but it requires strong wage and hour laws and collective bargaining protections.

    An alternative to the foxes’ feast.

    • Rayne says:

      How much private debt has been incurred to finance fossil fuel development? I’d draw the line there. Fossil fuels already have more than ample subsidies.

  9. Rayne says:

    Props to VICE for pulling no punches on this hed: The Tax Bill Is a Fucking Disaster

    Adder:
    This is another bunch of bullshit: Market not topping out, but it needs tax bill to keep going. There’s no place else to put money but equities. They don’t need tax cuts because the market will continue to grow without it. The limit of stock market growth is the effect on consumption this tax bill will have; consumption has already been suppressed for nearly 20 years because of stagnant wages, and tax increases or loss of benefits like health care will only suppress consumption if not depress it.

    Adder 2:
    Agree entirely with this premise: The Republican tax bill is an act of violence. How else should we characterize the deliberate effort by government officials to damage the health of vulnerable citizens?

    Adder 3:
    This piece of law they are trying to create within a tax bill is so utterly offensive. The GOP wants to use tax reform to turn women into little more than incubators for new tax payers and tax cut beneficiaries. WE ARE NOT THINGS, DAMN IT.

    • orionATL says:

      finance/stocks is not my thing.

      but here is another viewpoint on how the tax bill may “help” the stock market from heather long at wapo:

      “… People with money in the stock market.

       The Dow surged above 24,000 for the first time this week. The stock market is up over 600 points (nearly 3 percent) just this week as investors cheer the tax cuts getting closer to reality. If Trump is able to sign the bill, investors are likely to get a very good deal. Many companies plan to bring cash home from abroad and give a lot of that money to investors in the form of higher dividends and stock buybacks (which increase stock prices). Overall, tax cuts mean larger profits for businesses, which means more money in the pockets of investors… ”

      by the way, rayne, you ought to start marketing your own investment newsletter, everybody else does:)

      in terms of economics rather than finance, i’m very much on the side of those like you who believe widescale consumption (demand) rules the economy. that’s just basic macroeconomics.

  10. Kim Kaufman says:

    Comments on tax bill from @matthewstoller

    This is such a crazy bill. Like really crazy. Yes it’s going to give money to the rich, but more fundamentally it’s changing so many different longstanding characteristics like the entire property tax system. Unpredictable consequences.

    This isn’t a ‘tax’ bill, it’s a way of putting an increasing number of Americans under the control of landlords in nearly every segment of their lives.

    Homeownership doesn’t have to mean oil drenched white picket fences. If you’re not for homeownership you are for landlords. Those are the two choices.

    The discussion is clouded by the stupid notions about the federal debt. That’s a dumb argument about accounting rather than content.

    This tax bill is a fundamental re-plumbing of the American economy. Getting rid of homeownership as a policy goal. Eliminating a whole swath of the safety net and government in blue states. Ending taxation on concentrated capital.

    • orionATL says:

      i know it’s a bit O. T. but i can’t help posting the rev barber’s speech “reviving the heart of our democracy” speech. it’s a great, great speech and it’s a tonic!

      that’s it – reviving the heart of our democracy – that’s what clinton, competent a president as she would have been, missed – or could not articulate.

      here is a version that let’s you hear the core of barber’s great speech:

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/07/28/the-rev-william-barber-dropped-the-mic/?utm_term=.16910121fc2d

      and here is the complete version with lead-in:

      https://youtu.be/NAFZKcYn8qI

      in my view, the premier lack of the democratic party for years has been the lack of a really competent political speaker.

      have you ever listened to mario cuomo? to john kennedy? to franklin roosevelt? these were master political speakers. the democratic party needs these kinds of speakers again – but to speak like that you have to care at least a little for the heart of our democracy, no matter how experienced and cynical you have become. we haven’t had any such speakers for a long time, but the rev. barber sets the standard and leads the way for a new, articulate democratic leadership. the subject has to be morality – not the national debt, not national security, not lies about jobs and economic growth – but morality.

      on morality? see the republican versions of the destruction of the affordable care act and the republican tax and anti-education, anti-health care act.

  11. Michael says:

    This circle-jerk is a lot like the Patriot Act – which also was not read nor debated by legislators before they passed it – but is much, much worse.

  12. k says:

    The house R’s if faced with to much controversy and confusion might just take advantage of the unreadable condition of the Senate bill and just rubber stamp it claiming whatever they want is in it it was just no way to read it. Much like the bridge to nowhaere was added after the bill was passed and on its way to the white house.

    This way there is no issue with side deals, they are all gone. Silence the debate with a fiat accompli.

    Have a boat load of bargaining chips to use to get more corporate immunity and military waste. D’s oppose it pretend to offer a new bill on state and local taxes, eradicate the EPA trade for what collins, starring in her role of a faux moderate while supporting whack jobs and their tripe, thought she was gonna get.

    So on and so forth.

    Alas the r’s are so immune to public opinion with their ability to buy elections with dark money, shape the discussion with killing net nuetrality, ownership of judicial system with ideological whack jobs sitting on life time appointments and general deferrence given to rich amoral slime by public instititions that they probably will get everything they want without having to skip reconcillation.

    Couple that with the gutless d’s who are more worried about salvaging the shattered and broken pieces instititionsof democracy then the people they are suppose to represent and that those broken shards were suppose to help protect. The d’s mantra seems to be a million people died but we maintained the integrity of the congressional system even if the R’s never follow the rules. So reward us for our cowardice.

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