Anyone Who Claims to Know What’s In the New Tax Bill is Lying

Susan Collins from Maine (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Memphis  In a frenzy of wheeling and dealing, the Republicans in the US Senate passed something called a tax bill that seems to have been a grab bag that certainly included taxes, but also was filled with a mixed assortment of body parts, wish lists, and IOUs that may or may not ever be able to be collected by anyone. There is only one thing that is clear: anyone who says they know what the new tax bill is going to be is lying.

I can say that with confidence even far away from Washington, D.C. and the halls of Congress for a list of reasons. The biggest, fattest one is that the Senate amalgamation has to conference with the House bag of tricks in order to try to negotiate one bill that can actually get a full vote of Congress and become the law of the land. One could call this horse trading, except that people are on the auction block, not horses, which makes the whole process even scarier.

This won’t be easy, and it will be messy, but don’t confuse that with the old saw about watching sausage and democracy being made. This is not a democratic process. People will have a lot to say, and their will be a reckoning, but that’s much later down the line while the pain is still fresh.

One of the interesting things to watch will be what happens to the odd body parts that were tacked on this bill for the Republicans in the Senate to reach 50-votes. For example, Senator Flake from Arizona got a promise in the bill for his vote that Deferred Action immigrants or Dreamers will be dealt with fairly. The House Republicans will grind that one down pretty fine. Senator Collins from Maine got a gift bag of goodies for her vote that included a tax deduction of up to $10,000 for state and local property taxes as opposed to a full repeal. She also got something of a continuing deduction for lower income families for medical expenses, but the details are not unclear, rather, they are completely unknown.

The mystery is not limited to some of these weird odds and ends, many of which are profound, like the repeal of the mandate for participation along with penalties in the Affordable Care Act, because the 500-page Senate bill’s ink was hardly dry in time for the vote. There were literally hand scribbled amendments because of the last minute nature of some of the deals, as they voted. To say that none of the Senators, on either side of the aisle, knew what they were voting for would be too kind.

The Republicans knew what mattered. They were going to give the largest gifts in the bill to big corporations and their rich donors. At this point that is one of the only certainties as this bill now gets into the grinder between the House and the Senate. The other is that at the end of this process, all of us will personally help pay for these tax cuts for business and the wealthy.


Please enjoy I Left My Body by They Might be Giants.

Thanks to KABF.


Congressional Proposals are Moving from Bizarre to Tragically Depressing

Source: NY Times

Little Rock There is just no pretense any more about whether Republican proposals are seeking to serve the entire population. There is posturing and prevarication for sure, but shame has left Washington, leaving hardly a blush mark.

There’s always a last ditch hope that a miracle might unravel the freight train tax bill, but hope is not a plan, and the whistle seems to be blowing loudly for all of us worried about someone other than the rich and corporate interests, we better dive off the track.

Nobody really, really truly knows all of what is in this tax bill, including the Senators who are voting for it. Frankly, that should not only say it all, but say, enough, and hold your darned horses. Instead, what we know is horrific. It would be one thing if it simply helped the rich and corporations. That’s hardly news from this Congress, and that’s been happening for years and years at this point, Administration to Administration, including both Democrats and Republicans. It’s how we became one of the most unequal societies among advanced countries in the world, right?

But, this bill doesn’t involve the usual shell game of moving things out of sight and under a different cup. This bill in fact hurts much of the middle class, no matter what the posturing and pretense of its advocates. Worse, it seems the poorest parts of our society are being asked to pay these pikers. The health mandate is now about to become an odd victim of this tax bill and an unrelated amendment has been grafted unto the tax measure to eliminate the requirement and therefore the penalties paid for not having insurance, all of which could jeopardize the Affordable Care Act. The Republicans couldn’t get a majority to repeal, but by force feeding this amendment with tax giveaway to donors, they may get it done. The tax bill may also trigger huge reductions in Medicaid spending and other entitlements which also benefit lower income Americas. Treating student loans as income will hammer all of the lower and middle income students trying to get an education to better their lives without the resources of upper class families to simply sign the checks and move forward. This is unbelievable, except for one terrible fact: it’s true.

And, if it’s not one thing, it’s another up. We’re not giving away enough to the corporations so another amendment will allow drilling in the Arctic as an odd bit grafted onto this mess. Another bill will renege on the promise of student loan repayment for students who work in rural and depressed areas for nonprofits for ten years and allow predatory for profit institutions to gobble up more student dreams and their dollars. The FCC is trying to eviscerate net neutrality which could be the end of the internet as we know it now. And on and on and on.

Meanwhile Trump tweets as a tactical diversion so that people are watching his clown show while Congress and his cabinet heads gut one program after another that were designed to protect or advance Americans.

Resistance doesn’t describe what’s needed now. It’s gone from bizarre to depressing. No one could have made this stuff up.