Posts tagged ‘Tax Bill’

Aloha and Salutations to Mainlanders Who Are Now in the Winter of Their Discontent, Officially

We have been studiously not watching the minute to minute news of the tax bill or the stealing of an election in Virginia, or the lies about the tax bill, but it does seep in. Bing! Computer announces more bad news. Appropriately it has been cloudy and rainy yesterday to befit the news. This does not stop snorkeling, but does put a damper on boarding (waves are way bigger than a breadbox). But since the nation seems to be rushing off the end of the cliff, today I challenge the big waves. What was it that Worf, the Klingon in Star Trek Next Generation used to say, “It is a good day to die?”

Okay, the tax gut passed, with Corker, Collins, and Flake, well, flaking. Now why is this bad? Hell, my own newspaper, The Sacramento Bee, said this:

Business owners and economists said the $1.5 trillion in tax cuts should produce a surge in capital investment and improve job growth. Corporate income taxes will be reduced drastically, and there’s a special tax break for small-business owners. The bill also will cut taxes for businesses that invest in new plant and equipment.

Except that on the economists part, it is not true. Well actually most of it is wrong. Why would corporations already awash in cash decide to invest in capital improvements when they could buy back stock and improve CEO’s positions on bonus and their pay. Why would CEO’s pass the money down as pay raises and lower their bottom line hurting their stock prices and the CEO’s bonos? Remember when Bank of America downgraded Chipotle’s stock because they “paid their employees too much?” Sure a tax cut in lean times does help spur investment, but we are not in corporate lean times. Estimates of improvement on GDP are weak at best. As for flow down to the middle class, see above.

Try to keep your ball on the prize. Think about a business plan you are trying to sell a bank (and most corporations don’t need loans and money is cheap). Where is the demand coming from? If we don’t create jobs and give workers more income to spend, the demand remains stagnate. You have to show adequate demand to make your plan work. Where again is that coming from?

83% of the benefits go to the wealthy. Economic inequality just got a lot worse which in the long run does not bode well for the world economy when fewer and fewer of us can afford homes, education or have money to buy stuff corporations want to sell, except for maybe opioids which apparently our Republican Congress see as a real growth industry and gets rid of “the surplus population.” Oh, and what of that horrible non-competitive tax rate on corporations of 39.5%, the highest in the world? They don’t pay that and pay on average about 24% (world average is about 21%). And did you see the Republicans close any loopholes that will allow most large corporations to drive their tax rate to almost zero? No you did not. 20% of big corporations pay zero corporate taxes and my guess is it will be more now.

Oh those facts and data. How they do inform if we would just use them. This whole tax charade makes no sense. We just gave away at least $1.5 trillion dollars to wealthy people who don’t need it that we could have spent on infrastructure, education, healthcare. Oh wait! That stuff will be taken care of by the market place. And wait to you see the new actual tax rules next year, more complicated than ever. And the Republicans are already talking about cutting Medicare and Social Security to hold down the deficit they just created. Oh the winter of our discontent.

But to add fuel to the fire, the odds of President DFF firing Mueller is almost certain as you see Democrats realizing that their Republican counterparts are starting to attack Mueller with frivolous claims (absolutely no evidence of any wrong doing, just innuendo). Senator Mark Warner warning the firing of Mueller would cross a red line was a veiled threat to Republicans. He sees it coming and so do I. When Mueller drops the Donald Trump Jr. or Jarred Kushner indictment, it will happen including pardons. Then we are over the cliff. It is clear that Republicans are trying to stymie the investigations, and try to tarnish the real one Mueller is conducting, so it is tick, tick, tick.

The only thing I am wondering is if Democrats as a group are recognizing both realities, Mueller will be fired* and Republicans will not act. Then what is the game plan? What is your game plan? If the wheels of justice don’t turn, what can we as citizens do? Oh I know, vote third party again.

But here in paradise the sun is starting to peak out, and surf is a little calmer so I am going to spend the shortest day of the year attempting to kill myself on my body board. Can’t think of a better time when the future is now.

*If I were Mueller, and he is probably much smarter than I, he has prepared a departure package. Now in normal times the honorable thing to do is just walk away as government works out the kinks. But these are not normal times and normal thinking like can the two sides just get along, and we all need to step back simply do not apply. The democracy, so carefully founded, is being destroyed by a Republican controlled Government and a truly despicable man unsuited for the presidency in charge. So I would have my farewell package ready to drop if shit happens and it is going to.

Oh and one other thing. Considered the attacks on scientists, FBI, and Intelligence Agencies, has not President DFF and the Republicans set us up for a mutiny if the rule of law no longer applies. Those would not be my chosen enemies.

Two Reflections of the Country that Tells Us Everything

There were two stories this morning that tell you really where we are and all you need to know about why America does not work anymore. The first is a story about the upcoming election in Alabama where the real issues got lost in the Roy Moore saga. But the real issues show what a mess “Red” Alabama is. Here are a few facts from the article:

  • In Halleyville Alabama the one and only hospital in the country is set to close for lack of funds
  • 17 percent of Alabamians live in poverty — the fifth-highest rate in the country
  • The state’s violence-wracked prisons are jammed to 159 percent of their intended capacity.
  • With budget troubles a chronic fact of life, spending on Medicaid, which has not been expanded, lags.
  • Standardized test scores are among the nation’s lowest.
  • Heart disease and diabetes are endemic.
  • Last year, Marion, a rural city in central Alabama, suffered a tuberculosis outbreak so severe that its incidence rate was worse than that of many developing countries
  • The infant mortality rate for 2016 rose to 9.1 deaths per 1,000 live births, the highest rate the state has seen since 2008. (The national rate was 5.9 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2015, the most recent year for which federal data is available.)
  • The mortality rate was more than twice as high for black infants as white ones, and in some parts of the state, like Perry or Pickens Counties, the rate was 25.6 and 30.3.
  • Minimum wage is $7.25/hour, not enough to pay rent or feed a family
  • Areas like Huntsville depend on federal spending for our rocket and missile programs yet they support Republicans slashing the budget
  • Even with major companies like Airbus, Mercedes-Benz, Hyundia, and Honda relocating there for low wages and few regulations, Alabama’s median household income lagged the national median by about $7,800. Today, Alabama lags behind the national median by more than $11,000.

Yep, a Red state paradise and yet these issues went undiscussed and they are leaning to voting for someone who will continue that trend above, making America great again. What a cesspool. Yeah, I pay high taxes in California. It is worth every penny.

The second on is the story of how Susan Collins got duped into voting for the tax bill by Republicans “willing to compromise.” As the NYT tells us:

A couple of weeks ago, Collins made a classic Collins deal. It tried to split the difference between Democratic and Republican positions….Collins said that she would vote for the recent Senate tax bill so long as Republicans leaders promised to pass other legislation — in the near future — that would reduce the bill’s knock-on damage to health care programs.

She laid out three conditions. She wanted her colleagues to pass two separate bills that would shore up insurance markets for people who weren’t covered through their job. And she wanted congressional leaders to promise to undo the Medicare cuts automatically triggered by the deficit increase from the tax cut.

Her colleagues assured her they would pass the bills she wanted — not immediately but soon after the tax bill had passed. Collins decided that was good enough, and on Dec. 2, she became one of 51 yes votes on the tax bill.

Now she is being screwed. They got their bill and now Ryan is making attacks on Medicare to fund the shortfalls in funding for the tax bill (the goal all along), and the house Republicans are thumbing their nose at her other conditions. She looks like an idiot and may pay a very heavy price for that vote at the polls. But that is not the point. The point is that is what compromise with Republicans looks like. It took President Obama eight long years to figure that out as he tried to work with them and the foolish press kept calling for them to have drinks together. That is the lesson to all those who claim we just need a middle road and both sides need to work together. There is no both sides and this is what compromise looks like with one of their own.

So there in two stories tells you everything about a Red America. It is headed for the dumper, and yet so many Americans listening to Fox news or talk radio are clueless. But there it is exposed in all its glory. Alabama, the armpit of the nation, and Republican values on full display. Will anyone notice? But hey, Alabama has football. That counts for something, right? Oh wait, more brain-damaged kids, the perfect voter for Republican politics.

Watching the Republicans Rape America

The Republicans were in a feeding frenzy last night. All of a sudden they found themselves at an all night buffet where they could gorge themselves on all the goodies they ever wanted. I am talking about the Senate passage of the Tax Bill last night. I watched it on CSPAN and I am still sick this morning. Even if you did not know what was in it, and most Republicans or anybody else does not because they were writing it on the fly, it was a scene of pure chaos and bad government. One could not even read the hand written mark ups. And Republicans were adding their favorite pet project to a bill that will change everyone’s lives and not one hearing, not one real examination of the results. And make no mistake. It was a mass transfer of wealth to wealthy while gutting government.

But a feeding frenzy it was. I watch as Ted Cruz entered an amendment to expand tax free savings plans for college to a tax free savings plan for private schools. How is that paid for? By cutting money for public schools. Who benefits? Rich kids who go to private schools. Who suffers? Kids who can’t afford those schools. It took Mike Pence to come in and break a tie vote on the amendment (50-50) (even some Republicans could not stomach this one) to pass it. I watched as Democrats entered amendments to try to bring some sanity to the process by trying to take out the free pass to drill in the arctic wildlife refuge, reduce the reduction in corporate tax cuts to make it not cost $1.5 trillion, make the tax cuts for the middle class permanent, all to fail at the hands of the Republicans.

And now what they have nobody knows except it is dreadful. It rapes America. Republicans have been dying for years to cut Medicare and Medicaid and in this bill they got the tools to do just that, “Pay as you go” which when all the magic asterisks do not add up (and they won’t), they can gut the programs that help the old and poor to pay for their massive tax cuts. It was a brutal rape of everything America stands for and there is so much in this bill that has nothing to do with tax reform/cuts that nobody even knows is there yet. Now you can bet they will be in a rush for a reconciliation bill with the House Republicans so people don’t find out how bad it is until it is signed by the Moron in Chief. Gotta hurry because his days are numbered.

It was a sad, sad day for America. Republicans, except Bob Corker, showed they are nothing but bought fools. Don’t give me John McCain and his regular order. If he stood for anything, last night was a time for a no vote. Don’t give me Lindsey Graham, he is a kook to he is normal (comments about the President right after the election and now) or Susan Collins, who “cares about the sick” and then let them gut Obamacare (Yep that is in it too). They all voted to rape America and steal from the poor to pay off the wealthy. The party has no morals and what we saw was the very worst of America bought by capitalism. Government does not control capitalism, capitalism controls America. That is what Republican government now represent.

Democrats fought a noble battle, offering amendment after amendment to show the hypocrisy and depravity of the Republicans and those Republicans rose to the bait voting each one down. They now have the sledge hammer they need to bring down the Republicans. They need to wield it. I am sure I am one of the few who watched the debacle last night. People in America have forgotten that freedom, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is hard work. But I can guarantee you one thing. This one will hurt and hurt badly. There is no flow down, and as the fools that voted this Republican nightmare into office start to suffer (it will be a slow burn), maybe for once, they will see the problem. Voting third party when they don’t have a chance, has consequences.

Last night I watched the verification of what I have been saying for years. The Republican Party of “old” does not exist and the one we have left is evil. I watched the failure of democracy as the majority of Americans are against this bill. I watch the greed of capitalism at its very worst where government became its tool. And now there is no doubt in my mind any more, Republicans and those who vote for them are evil. We must root this evil out of our country if we have any hope for the future.