As you may have heard, Donald Trump told his audience in Indianapolis today that the Republican reform of the tax code will be fabulous for the middle class, adding about the tax cuts: “And they’re not good for me, believe me.” Riiiiiiiight, Donnie.
One of the changes in the code that he talked about at some length was the elimination of the inheritance, or the estate tax, the tax that the crafty propagandist Frank Luntz told the Republicans in 2000 to relentlessly label the “death tax.” Trump invoked that soundbite about a dozen or two times Wednesday.
So here, courtesy of the center-left Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), is how many inheritors would be helped by eliminating the estate tax:
The estate tax for the 2017 tax year only takes hold after income from inheritance exceeds $5.49 million per person or $10.98 million per married couple. Even 80 percent of the 1 percent don’t have to pay it. The CBPP calculates that killing the estate tax would give a windfall “averaging more than $3 million apiece […] and more than $20 million for the wealthiest estates.” New York University School of Law professor Lily L. Batchelder says we should call this a “silver spoon’ tax” instead of letting the Republicans keep making political points with their “death tax” rubric.
Trump made a big deal Wednesday out of saving family farms by killing the silver spoon tax. He punctuated this by giving a shout-out to Kip Tom, who said his family farm has been handed down generation to generation for 187 years. In fact, the farm he inherited from his parents was just 200 acres. Today Tom is on the Trump advisory committee on agriculture and is CEO of Tom Farms LLC, which, according to Politico, is the largest agri-business farm operation in Indiana, and one of the largest in the nation, with 20,000 acres spread over seven counties. Tom also operates farms in Latin America. His Indiana operation pays out some $10 million a year just on new equipment.
If he passed on this year, his farm is one of about 50 family-owned operations and small businesses that would owe any estate tax. The Tax Policy Center estimates that the inheritors of such operations average a tax bill of just 6 percent of the farm or business’s value.
“Once you realize that trickle-down economics does not work, you will see the excessive tax cuts for the rich as what they are–a simple upward redistribution of income, rather than a way to make all of us richer, as we were told.”
~Ha-Joon Chang, 23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism (2010)
At Daily Kos on this date in 2010—Maureen Dowd needs a mirror:
Dowd referred to Sarah Palin’s climate denialism and Sharron Angle’s autism denialism and Joe Miller’s bizarre brand of Constitutional originalism, and correctly assessed the real goal of Palin, Newt Gingrich, John Boehner and Jim DeMint, which isn’t a return to an idealized 1950s but to the 1750s, before the advent of modern science and modern republics and modern democracy. Which, one might add, accords perfectly with the goals of those that seem to want to become the effective monarchy of the future.
So, good for Dowd. Yes. The Republicans are not funny, they are unfettered from reality. And given that they are not the cartoon characters they seem, but a political party that could in the near future gain some semblance of governing power, that makes them dangerous. But Dowd’s long-apparent incapacity for self-reflection necessitates an explication of her own role in propagating a national political dialogue that too often lacks any dialogue about actual politics. The modern Republican Party would not be what it is if not for the enabling of people like Maureen Dowd.
On today’s Kagro in the Morning show, Joan McCarter and Greg Dworkin round up news on Puerto Rico relief efforts, the latest “death” of Zombie Trumpcare, Moore’s win, McConnell’s loss, the Gop tax “plan” and how they’ll next stick it to consumers. Plus, outrageous, next-level Facebook fake news.