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Paul A Duginski
Paul A Duginski
Paul Duginski is a political cartoonist and veteran newspaper staff artist. He enjoys reading history, literature and going bodyboarding whenever he has time.


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Posted in Politics / Elections / National

It's Back

Apr. 27, 2017 2:31 pm
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On Wednesday, the Trump Administration released a one-page, bulleted teaser for its promised tax reform plan. It was very short on specifics, as you might expect when it fit on one page. But it probably stayed within the confines of President Trump’s attention span — he may even have read the whole thing — and it was unveiled during Trump’s first 100 days (day 100 is Saturday, April 29.)

The Administration called it “one of the biggest tax cuts in American history,” and hoped it would convey a sense of momentum on Trump’s promised tax reform.

The pitch men for the White House were Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Gary Cohn, Trump’s National Economic Council director. Both men are alumni of Goldman Sachs.

Knowing that Trump himself is reputed to be a billionaire, although we haven’t been able to see his taxes, and that his front men on economic and tax issues are from Goldman Sachs, it should come as no surprise that the rough outlines of his tax plan overwhelmingly benefit the wealthy.

The plan would cut the top income-tax rate, cut taxes on stock holdings, cut corporate taxes and eliminate the estate tax.

According to the New York Times, a few months ago, Mnuchin said this: “Any reductions we have in upper-income taxes will be offset by less deductions, so that there will be no absolute tax cut for the upper class. There will be a big tax cut for the middle class, but any tax cuts we have for the upper class will be offset by less deductions that pay for it.”

The tax plan that Mnuchin announced on Wednesday reneged on that commitment.

Americans for Prosperity — what I’ve called “Americans for Plutocracy” — is the Koch brothers’ primary political advocacy group. They applauded the Trump tax plan as “a giant leap forward.”

On Wednesday, Mnuchin said the plan “will pay for itself with growth and with reduction of different deductions and closing loopholes.”

Yeah, right.

That’s the same tired, old Laffer-curve theory. The economist Arthur Laffer first scribbled his curve on a napkin in 1974 while fellow conservatives Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney looked on. The theory is basically that a major tax cut could pay for itself with economic growth alone.

But serious economists and advocates of budget reductions say otherwise, indicating that there is no evidence for this.

Instead, as points out, the plan is an enormous giveaway to wealthy people such as Trump himself and the top 1%.

This is just another iteration of the discredited Laffer curve, what George H.W. Bush called “voodoo economics.”

All the talk about “dynamic scoring” in Washington, and the idea of dressing up chicanery with the mantle of a serious economic theory, complete with a nonsensical curved diagram, is merely cover for Republicans getting what they always want. And that, simply put, is tax cuts and economic benefits for the wealthy at the expense of everybody else. Like snake oil salesmen, they want to baffle and fleece the rubes, then have a good laugh about it over drinks at their exclusive Mar-a-Lago club.

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