“Really?! You’re complaining about regressive tax plans, now? Like that’s America’s biggest problem?!?”
Yes, I’m writing about ongoing plans for even-more-regressive-than-I-thought tax plans, based on some interesting, new analysis from the Tax Policy Center. And no, that’s not America’s biggest problem.
That would be the presidency in crisis. If it wasn’t clear to some from the start, it is becoming increasingly clear to many more, including the CEOs who signed up to advise the new president (which was never going to end well), that our president is not only incapable of uniting the country when he’s given the opportunity to do so. He cannot resist doubling down on tearing us further apart, and in the process, lending support to potentially and actually violent racists and anti-semites.
If I have any value-added in this space, however, it is in regards to policy. Obviously, a crisis in the executive branch interacts with policy in myriad ways. There’s the economic and social impact of foolish statements, like Trump’s off-the-cuff suggestion that military intervention in Venezuela is on the table. This served to prop up Maduro, prolong the ever-intensifying suffering of the Venezuelan people, and distance us from allies who were and are trying to help.
There’s the inability and unwillingness to deal with the many challenges we face: racial divisions, climate change, inequality, opportunity, public investment in people and physical capital (I kid you not: the Trump admin has dubbed this very week as “infrastructure week”), fiscal pressures, and the fundamental congressional dysfunction to address any of these, which of course, predated Trump, but which has increased. (To be clear, their inability to legislate their many harmful ideas is currently a feature of their dysfunction, not a bug.)
Their (Trump, Ryan, Brady) tax reform plans, from what we can tell, would exacerbate the problems of both inequality (most of their benefits go the wealthiest households) and insufficient revenues to meet the challenges listed above. And based on the new TPC study, once you factor in the eventual pay-fors, these plans are even more regressive than at first blush.
So, yeah. I’m writing about this stuff, in no small part because, trust me: the purveyors of these tax cuts are not sitting still. They’re actively working behind the scenes to pass this type of a plan, and while I definitely don’t want to lose sight of the bigger picture, I’m also happy to pull the curtain back on their efforts.