Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Voters Are Starting to See the GOP Tax Bill Was a Scam

If one listened to the sales pitch given by dishonest Republicans - think Donald Trump, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell for starters - middle class Americans were supposed to see noticeable increases in their take home pay.  But something is happening: those promised take home pay increases are being realized.  While my own net pay has increased very slightly, two things are relevant: (i) my income is above the average, so any increase I see is likely higher than what many are experiencing, and (ii) the net increase I have received might at best cover the cost of gassing up my above average fuel efficient car once or twice per month.  The result?  Voters who were played for fools by congressional Republicans are beginning to realize that the Trump tax bill was what many of us saw it to be from the outset: a massive scam.   A piece in Salon and a column in the Washington Post look at this welcomed development.  First this from Salon:
Donald Trump and the Republicans sold their slapdash effort at tax reform as a boon to the middle class. As the law goes into effect, however, new polling suggests that most Americans are struggling to see any benefit at all in their paychecks.
A survey from Politico and Morning Consult found that only 37 percent of employed people have seen an increase in their paychecks since the law went into effect, while 53 percent of people have not noticed a change.
One big difference between the people who are seeing a pay increase and those who aren't? Income.  “Our polling shows high-income earners are more likely to have noticed an increase in their paychecks as a result of the tax bill," said Kyle Dropp, Morning Consult’s co-founder and chief research officer.
Only 16 percent of people with an income under $50,000 a year said they noticed a pay increase. That number rises to 33 percent of people with income between $50,000 and $100,000, and 40 percent for people who make more than $100,000.
These findings emphasize the fact that the bill was never designed to be a tax cut for working Americans. It was designed, first and foremost, to be a massive giveaway for corporations.  Once again, the GOP sold a policy to the American people that was a total bait-and-switch.

The column in the Washington Post continues the exposure of the GOP scam.  Here are excerpts:
When Republicans put together their tax bill last year, it was not much of a surprise to see that its centerpiece was a gigantic corporate tax cut, lowering the statutory corporate rate from 35 percent down to 21 percent. This cut accounted for about $1 trillion of the bill’s total $1.5 trillion cost, but Republicans said it really wasn’t about helping corporations at all.
No, the real target was the workers: Corporations would take the money and use it to create new jobs and raise the wages of those working for them, as trickle-down economics did its magical work.
Democrats, on the other hand, said it was a scam. They charged that workers would see only a fraction of the benefits, and instead corporations would use most of their windfall for things like stock buybacks, which increase share prices and benefit the wealthy people who own the vast majority of stocks. [I]t has been only two months since President Trump signed the bill into law, and we’re already learning what anyone with any sense knew at the time: Everything Democrats predicted is turning out to be right. Let’s look at this report in the New York Times, which describes how stock buybacks are reaching record levels: Almost 100 American corporations have trumpeted such plans in the past month. American companies have announced more than $178 billion in planned buybacks . . . .
 Those so-called buybacks are good for shareholders, including the senior executives who tend to be big owners of their companies’ stock. A company purchasing its own shares is a time-tested way to bolster its stock price.
But the purchases can come at the expense of investments in things like hiring, research and development and building new plants — the sort of investments that directly help the overall economy. 
This is exactly what Democrats warned would happen. How could Democrats have been so clairvoyant? Do they own a time machine?
Well, no. They applied logic, looked at data and understood history. Republicans, on the other hand, were spinning out a ludicrous fantasy with no basis whatsoever.
Among the things Democrats pointed out was that even before the tax cut, corporations were making near-record profits and sitting on mountains of cash; if they wanted to invest, create jobs and raise wages, they already had the means to do it. They also observed that even before the tax cut passed, corporations were saying publicly that they intended to use the money for stock buybacks.
How many times do we have to play this game? When a new policy debate emerges, Democrats try to make an argument that has some connection to reality, while Republicans make absurd claims in the knowledge that even if they get debunked in the occasional “news analysis” piece, on the whole they’ll be treated with complete seriousness, no matter how ridiculous they are.

Much of this con job was made possible by the main stream media which still continues to present GOP talking points as truthful statements even when all the facts and circumstances show them to be intentional lies.  This false equivalency of the parties needs to end.  Republicans nowadays are simply liars and need to be exposed as such.

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