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Trump Tax Cuts Versus Your Social Security and Medicare

September 29th, 2017 · No Comments · General, Politics, Populism, Social Security, Taxes

Perhaps it is time for the big battle. Perhaps it is time to have an all-out war against the Titans.

Trump and McConnell, the would be Fascist and the already Neo-Fascist who run the Republican side of politics in this country want to cut your taxes slightly to delude you into thinking that they want to make life better for you.

The foundations and PACs are ready to pour money into tax cuts. Why? No matter which taxes get cut they make money. If corporate taxes go down, they make money. If estate taxes go down, they make money. If top rate taxes go from 39.6%, which they are now, to 35%, in this new “only 3 brackets” scheme of Trump’s, they make big money. And if capital gains rates go down even a fraction of a point, they make millions.

Here is one billionaire. Listen to his thoughts on more tax cuts for the rich.

 

Many wealthy families…people in the top one percent of income and wealth understand that government must have sufficient funds to function, and the largest amount of income must rationally come from those who have most. We all pay the same tax rates at every bracket. But at some point, the vast majority leave off and those at the top of the income ladder, pay a little higher percentage, even though they often pay an amount the turns out to be a much lower percentage. Still, they do pay enormous amounts in reals numbers. Statistically, however, it is never more than 2 bucks for Uncle Sam and 8 bucks they can put in the bank.

Remember also, that in many cases, these are businessmen or families who either built a company that they never expected to be worth billions (like Microsoft or Oracle or Facebook) or those who inherited already large corporations, like Koch Industries. At that top bracket, we allow all kinds of leeway for the super-rich to keep as much as possible. But when cutting taxes affects roads, streets, bridges, or the health of children and the very lives of the frail and elderly, it is time to say…enough tax breaks. We must have enough income to function.

So who are these super-rich who feel that they are over-taxed? Let’s just take one example.  Let’s take one organization called “Restore Our Future.”

It is a PAC, actually a super-PAC, an organization designed to put their people into office and keep your people, people like Bernie Sanders for certain, and other like Hillary Clinton..if possible…out of office.  By law, they can spend as much as they can afford.

In 2012 alone…just 2012…they spent $38 million trying to get the Republican nomination for either Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum. They didn’t succeed. So they gave $13 million to Mitt Romney. But that didn’t succeed. And it didn’t succeed despite the fact that they spent $88.5 million in the campaign AGAINST Barack Obama.

Now, to give you an idea of the way these people think, just remember that they spent, a total of over $38 million…against…other Republicans, finding any kind of dirt they could against them…in order to elect…their…Republicans…ones that they could control. Only then did they support Romney with far less money.

Who are these people who spent in 2012 alone over $142 million dollars just on the Presidential campaign?

Sheldon Adelson, casino owner, Bob Perry, Houston developer (and sponsor of John Kerry “swift boat” attacks), Larry Ellison, founder of Oracle Corp., Robert McNair, owner of the Houston Texans, Jerry Perenchio, Chartwell Investments, Julian Robertson, Tiger Investments, Kenneth Griffin, Hedge Funds, Bob Parsons, Go Daddy and many, many others…each giving between several million and at least $500,000 apiece.

These are the people who are right now spending that kind of money to see that this Trump/McConnell/Ryan tax bill is passed, to cut their taxes–and believe me–cut your government services, even ones you have or will have paid for through payroll deductions over 45 years. We know they will because, the people that they gave over a hundred million dollars to elect have tried to do it at least 3 times already. And now, thanks to these kinds of PACs, Republicans control the House, the Senate, the Supreme Court and the Presidency.

I keep telling people, that Trump is one of these…a plutocrat who sees society, as they do. They see this country as run by a group of “smart” men, people who are smarter and better able to run things than the voters. So they lie to the voters, as they are doing right now, as I write this.

They have radio and Internet and television ads running, even ads on the Internet promoting the tax bill by people like Republican House member, Peter Roskam, who is afraid to even hold a town hall because his vote on health care was for the insurance industry over his constituents. Yet he runs these ads because his only hope is to get enough money from the PACs to lie again to the people at election time and beat an opponent who has nothing like the kind of money he can use to, once again, fool just enough people to win.

You see, it is not just this one super-PAC. There are many others, such as Crossroads, FreedomWorks, Club for Growth, and Winning our Future. They also spend tens of millions of dollars…dozens of them. And, mind you, this is not what they own or what they earn. This is the money that the rich have to spend on electing the people who will do things their way.

Don’t get me wrong. There are dozens of Democratic PACS also, sponsored by wealthy individuals, corporations, unions and others. But their job is simply to try to match the gigantic outpouring of funds by the Super-PACs on the Right. At best, they have come up with about half and that does not count the huge costs of the many permanently funded Right Wing groups, like the Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute or the Cato Institute, whose sole functions are to support Right Wing causes before Congress in Washington and elsewhere.

The Trump tax cuts try to focus our attention on the straightforward income tax brackets. If they were to double the dependent allowance and cut some of the upper-middle-class income levels, that would make a difference. But the rest of the tax cut, including the cut to the top brackets, the corporate cuts, the new tax benefits, all these are merely more Right Wing attempts to further enhance the wealth of the economic aristocracy.

No matter what a thief tells you, he is there to take something from you and keep it for himself. We should know by now that Trump, McConnell, Paul Ryan (who is virtually owned by Koch Industries) are all liars when it comes to doing something for the People. They proved it with the “repeal and replace” that they tried to ram through on health care, removing millions from eligibility and ending all protections, without a meeting or handing so much as a piece of paper across the aisle to the Democrats. Even some Republicans, who support almost all the prior anti-worker, anti-people Republican legislation, could not close their eyes and sign on.

The tax breaks being given to corporations are almost certain to go directly into the pockets of major stockholders and CEOs and to their investors on Wall Street. Wages have not been increased in anticipation. There are no plans for wage increases. The current top tax rate for corporations is 35%. This is one of the highest corporate rates in the world…but…almost no corporation pays that amount. Some corporations, giant corporations, like EXXON and GE have paid no income tax at all on billions of dollars in sales. In the 196os, corporations paid 32% of the taxes we use to support our government. Today, they pay about 7%.

There is no groundswell for tax reduction. A full 69% of Democrats say that personal income taxes on the top income earners should actually be raised. And on the Republican side, only a third say that tax cuts are necessary. It is clear from recent radio campaigns asking individuals to contact their local representative directly that the rich are on the move, spending millions again to push their one big issue….the same issue that is behind everything….give them more money after taxes.

The truth about this tax cut is that any minor reductions or added benefits your would receive–if you are making less than a household income of $300,000–are worthless compared to what will happen to you five or certainly ten years from now. People like Trump, and now McConnell (he’s now worth at least $25 million thanks to his friends in high places) and their Billionaire Round Table, have the average worker dead in their sights. As we’ve said before, they want to cut Social Security and Medicare. By cutting taxes and increasing the national debt once more, they will be able to say in a couple of years…”this debt is unsustainable. And the only things we can cut are…Social Security and Medicare.”

Even Frederick Hayek, the patriarch of what today is called Conservative economics, said that taxes are necessary to run a society and the power to tax is given to the government by the vote of the people. So,, who currently has the power? Is it you? Did you vote in McConnell and a Right Wing Congress? Did you vote for less anti-pollution and fewer anti-environmental regulations? Did you vote to give away the national parks, piece-by-piece? Did you vote to have religion entered into education, privatize and thereby create a two-tier school system, that has been such a disaster in Michigan? Did you vote to challenge North Korea to a blinking contest with nuclear weapons? Did you vote to do away completely, totally, with the inheritance tax and simply give $50 billion dollars to people who did not work for it and who are already richer than you will ever be?

Of course you didn’t. But enough people did vote Republican, and now you are no longer in possession of our own government. I mean all of us. Republicans also have Social Security and though they don’t seem to understand…they also will lose their benefits and an affordable health care plan when they retire. But by the time they figure it out, the rest of us will have lost everything…retirement security, affordable health care, homes, savings, an an entire Middle Class. American families with incomes below the median income are growing while the top ten percent are enriching themselves faster. We have more poor as a percentage of the population than we have had at any time since the 1930s. While Social Security may not be as good as anything the citizens of any country in Europe have, it is all that more and more Americans will have at age 65.

If there were a Bernie Sanders party, I would say, vote for the Sandercrats. They would be the Populists. Populism arose from the demands of the people for redress against the rich and powerful. The rich and powerful…including and especially Trump…are the Republicans. Trump is not, never was and never will be a Populist, no matter how much a totally ignorant American media continues to use that term. The Republicans are funded by people like the Koch Family…who spent hundreds of millions to elect those people and to daily spew out lies to the ignorant about the people who in reality, not in their words but in their deeds…work for the Oligarchs, the Billionaires, who cynically and criminally want to destroy Middle Class America.

There is no Berniecrat Party, so you must support Liberal, Progressive, Populist Democrats and any Populists like Sanders and like Elizabeth Warren and like Al Franken who support Berniercrat principles.

We can have a modified “Medicare-for-all” plan, starting with people at age 50 who can buy in for triple the cost of current Medicare, then move up, predictably in rates until age 65, when they would get Medicare. Like Medicare recipients they would get 80 to 85 percent of costs covered, with all the Obamacare protections, which Medicare recipients now get, and in many cases would have to buy a supplemental plan, at much lower cost, which Medicare recipients often do. Costs would go from $1000 to $1500 per month, (minimally) current costs, to between $600 to $1000 per month and coverage would be guaranteed, anywhere, any time, to any citizen. This is entirely economically feasible right now, with simple governmental changes.

We can have “free college education” for all who qualify. It does not mean that you will go to Harvard on a free ride, nor does it mean that you will get free education at your state university. In all cases, you need to be accepted and then you need to compete with others for a limited number of spots, just as students do now, to earn admission to that particular school. But what is an education? First of all, it is an opportunity to understand how to know the truth from fiction, how to organize a life with meaning, how to be an ethical and moral human being, and then, and only then, to become a professional or a skilled person in some field, in order to make a living.

We currently offer free junior college education to anyone with a “B” average in some cities. We offer re-training at junior colleges for many in industries that have become outdated or in new industries that cannot find an adequate number of skilled intermediate technicians, with opportunities to move up in skills through training-to-work-to-training and certification. This system is easily expanded to become an integral part of a national program to upgrade the education of our society.

From 2014 to 2016, the United States saw one of the largest increases in median household income in our history. Median household income is now over $59,000 and many mid-level jobs have opened up in 2017. People do not need lower taxes. They need higher wages and more opportunities.

What we could do is immediately raise the minimum wage. Not in three years, but right now. This is where the largest number of people are employed…Walmart, Home Depot, Kohls, McDonalds, UPS, and many others where the large majority of workers are in routine assignments. Higher wages would raise prices moderately because most of the profit from products is now made by manufacturers whose labor costs are no more than fifty cents an hour. The cost of the products themselves, like apparel from China, would not go up. Retailers with added labor costs would add only minimally to prices because labor at retail is not as great a factor. And other prices are not as subject to consumer influences.

This would lead into the retraining of individuals at all ages for better jobs while maintaining jobs that offer at least life-sustaining income levels with resort to fewer and fewer government provided services.

If Target and Walmart and Home Depot and others raised their wages from $11 to $15 an hour today, or in 6 months rather than 3 years, the result would be dramatic. The consumer market would expand dramatically.  Purchases such as autos, home appliances, and even home furnishings are the product of long term income anticipation. A $15 per hour wage raise is, of course, about a 36% increase, good even over 3 years, but a dramatic and volatile ignition, if done over a year.

Remember that even with a 36% increase in wages, most American workers today  because of Obamacare and the huge Republican campaign to prevent it from taking hold in small business, most American workers work less than a full 40 hour week. Surveys of retailers like Walmart and Target show that the average work week is much less than 40 hours and closer to 25 hours. Only stimulating business, resulting in more business, resulting in more scarce supply of labor and resulting longer work weeks.

I read taht we expect, for example, to have the largest Black Friday ever on the day after Thanksgiving. This means that if you get a job at Target, you are assured of no health benefits or any other benefits but you will be paid $440 a week for 40 hours work, at $11 an hour. Annually, that would be $20,120. The national poverty level for one person is $12, 060, so you’re making about $8,000 more than the poverty level.

Well, the problem is this. Yes, Target does pay $11 an hour now, but no one works 40 hours a week, at least most people do not. According to surveys of Target employees, the maximum is about 35 hours and if you are an average employee looking for as many hours as you can work, it seems to be somewhere around 25 hours. So, at $11 an hour, at 25 hours you are now making $275 a week…on an irregular schedule…theirs, not yours…or $1100 per month. That is now only about $13,200 annually, or now only about $1000 over the poverty level.

With Walmart, the average wage is about $9.50 for people in sales or cashier positions, and that is being generous with the facts. So, if you start at Walmart, and you get $9 per hour, you make $360 per week, $1,440 per month and $17,280 per year, which is about $5,000 a year better than the poverty level for a single person. But…can you work full time to keep you above that very generous Republican poverty level?

Cutting taxes is no solution to our national income and expense problems. Not remotely. Nor is cutting needed social services and so-called “entitlements” to which all participating citizens are and should be entitled, since we all paid for them. But increasing wages, re-investing in domestic industry and commercial ventures and making sure that a week’s work is a full 40 hours at good, livable wages….that is how to make a country and its citizens prosper. No tax cuts needed here.

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