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Trump's Radical Tax Reform Is the Best Antidote for Trumpism

A growing economy will undercut the appeal of his ethno-nationalist politics.

President Donald Trump has proposed a "big league" (or is it "bigly"?) tax reform plan that's not perfect – but it is just about as good as one can expect. It's best part is that by spurring growth, it will undercut his own ethno-nationalistic agenda, which is why, if progressives had any sense, a big "if", they'd support it instead of demagoguing it!

If they are looking for something to fight, Trump's ridiculous plans to increase defense spending offer a ton load of ammo. It is nuts that he wants $56 billion more in annual defense spending in a country that already spends as much as the next seven countries combined. And conservative deficit hawks worried about the budget ought to concentrate on curbing his new domestic spending, especially his proposed $1 trillion on infrastructure (after his predecessor lavished almost the same amount with literally nothing to show for it except bridges to nowhere).

Trump noted that there were two principles—both noble—guiding his plan: Simplifying the tax code and lowering the tax burden on individuals and corporations.

Simplifying the tax code:

The most conspicuous mark of his seriousness of this is what he didn't do, namely, embrace the Border Adjustment Tax loopiness of House Republicans that he himself had initially encouraged. They wanted to offset revenue losses from tax cuts by taxing imports to the tune of $1.2 trillion over the next decade from countries with higher tariffs than the United States. But this was a poison pill that, apart from being horrendously protectionist (that a free-trader like Speaker Paul Ryan has surely earned a lot of bad karma for embracing), would have infinitely complicated the tax code for American businesses that have supply chains that span the globe, while sticking it to American consumers who'd face higher prices.

But what he wants to do to simplify taxes for individual filers is good too. Broadly, he wants to reduce the tax brackets for individuals from seven to three and eliminate tax breaks and deductions except for those for charity and home ownership. To mitigate the tax increases that some might face due to this, he'll double the personal tax deductions. And as a special fuck you to high-tax liberal states such as California and New York that didn't vote for him, he's proposing to end the deductions for local and state taxes. Most of these are steps in the direction of a flatter tax code that'll one day make the world an infinitely better place by ridding it of tax accountants and lawyers. But the other reason to applaud it is that a less kinky tax code means a less distorted economy.

Lowering the tax burden on individuals:

His ideas to accomplish this goal are decent but not flawless.

He wants to eliminate the liberal absurdity that is the Alternative Minimum Tax. When originally enacted in the mid-1960s, it was meant to bring to heel about a 150 super-rich families who were using loopholes and deductions to avoid paying any taxes at all. The AMT required everyone to calculate their taxes at a flat rate without breaks and at the regular rate with breaks and pay whichever was higher. But its been increasingly snagging folks who are not its targets, even after it was modestly indexed for inflation four years ago.

The bigger deal, however, is that he would compress the current 10%, 15%, 25%, 28%, 33%, 35% and 39.6% tax brackets to 10%, 25% and 35%. Clearly, the highest tax-brackets will get a nifty cut (especially since Trump will also, much to the dismay of liberals, scrap the death tax) and the lowest will be held harmless. As for the in-between folks, it will be important to pick the right income at which to position it so that a vast majority—if not nearly all—see declines in their tax bill, which will make it politically easier to push through.

Now, it is true that unlike the corporate tax cuts, reductions in individual tax rates won't necessarily spur growth (although they could remove the disincentives to work and boost productivity) and hence might add to the deficit. But Cato Institute's Chris Edwards notes that that can be dealt with by eliminating deductions and credits, which is why Trump's proposal to offer "relief for families with child and dependent expenses" is among the most disappointing aspect of his reform package.

Trump doesn't explicitly say what form this relief would take, but he talked about child-care tax credits during his campaign. These will surely give reformocons wet dreams. But such credits are unfair to folks who don't have children. And they unwisely pile another entitlement on top of the existing entitlement state, making its reform more elusive.

Corporate tax reform:

That flaw, however, doesn't negate the crowning achievement that is his corporate tax reform proposal, the centerpiece of his package.

Trump would slash corporate tax rates from 35 percent (39 percent when state taxes are included) to 15 percent and end America's system of worldwide taxation that taxes companies even on their foreign income. Liberals have not yet figured out that taxing worldwide income discourages multinational companies from domiciling in America and loses, instead of gains, Uncle Sam revenues. Hence it is unlikely that they will do anything but play spoilsport on this measure. But there are quite a few liberals who have grokked that America's corporate tax rates undermine America's global competitiveness because these taxes are the highest in the developed world. The UK's current rate is 20 percent going down to 17 percent, Denmark's 24.5 percent, and Ireland's an inspiring 12.5 percent.

This disparity shamed even President Barack Obama into proposing a 28 percent rate, something that New York's Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer was in principle on board with. Even Harlem Democrat Rep. Charlie Rangel, who is just about as left as they get before turning into Bernie Sanders, recommended slashing this rate to 30.5 percent.

But what'll give Democrats (and some Republican deficit hawks) conniptions, besides the size of this cut, is that Trump has shown no interest in making it revenue-neutral by raising taxes elsewhere or cutting spending. These worries are not baseless but they are overblown—and misplaced, at least at the moment.

The Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin may be exaggerating that, "the tax plan will pay for itself with economic growth." But so is the Tax Policy Center, a liberal-leaning outfit, that estimates that the 15 percent rate would lead to a $2.4 trillion loss in revenue for Uncle Sam over 10 years.

Cato's Edwards' notes that the U.S. corporate tax rates are in the "strong Laffer zone." (The Laffer curve, named after Arthur Laffer, the economist who formulated it, shows that up to a point, tax cuts lead to an increase in revenues by fueling business expansion, broadening the tax base and attracting more foreign investments.) Studies examining OECD countries have shown that corporate tax rates above 26 percent reduce government revenues. The U.S. corporate tax rate is 14 percentage points above that rate, which is why America has a lot of room to cut. Indeed, corporate revenues from Canada's 15 percent central corporate tax rate right now constitute 2.1 percent of the GDP (which is a bit higher than what it was when those rates were twice as high in the 1980s) and America's 35 percent rate 1.7 percent of the GDP, estimates Edwards.

A 15 percent rate in America may result in some revenue losses despite growth effects. That's not ideal when America's annual deficit is approaching $590 billion and its total debt, not counting unfunded entitlement liabilities, already exceeds its total GDP.

But America's Number One challenge right now is boosting its sluggish economy that grew a lame 1.6 percent last year, its weakest performance in five years, and lifting stagnant wages, that are growing at a far lower rate than before the Great Recession. And tax cuts that stop penalizing business growth and expansion are the best known tool to man to fix that.

But this is not just a matter of improving America lives, but also American politics. The appeal of zero sum ethno-nationalism becomes infinitely greater when a moribund economy turns politics into a zero-sum game of dividing the spoils. Trump won because he found a populist narrative that masterfully combined left-wing class warfare with right-wing nativism. He told American middleclass voters that they were getting screwed, on the one hand, by a corrupt elite hell bent on keeping all the gains for itself and, on the other, immigrants and foreigners who were threatening their livelihoods and lifestyle.

Trump may not realize it but the appeal of such a zero-sum message goes away in a robust economy that releases the animal spirits of Americans. Economic growth is great not only because it allows consumers to trade their iPhone 6 for an iPhone 7 but because it makes every sectarian divide easier to manage. It will also inevitably require more workers, taking the wind out of Trump's anti-immigrant bashing.

Trump, then, may himself be the best cure for Trumpism. That's why, unless liberals have better ideas for reviving the economy (and, puhlese, Keynesianism that Obama already tried and spectacularly failed doesn't count), they should desist from using ad hominem attacks about Trump's failure to release his tax returns to derail his tax reform. And Republicans who want to tame the federal deficit would do the country a far bigger favor by: ensuring that Trump's infrastructure package is privately funded, curbing defense spending and reforming Medicare and Social Security. Defense, after all, consumes 16 percent of the federal budget and Medicare-Social Security more than half.

Trump has finally presented a solid policy reform plan, let him run with it.

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  • Get To Da Chippah||

    The deficit and debt aren't going anywhere, because Trump plans to spend as much, if not more than, Obama did. DipO is just pissed that more people will be able to keep more of their money.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Don't look for logic in the screaming maw of DanO's need to be noticed.

  • Philadelphia Collins||

    Per Obama, tax increases are good even if they result in lower revenue. Because fairness.

  • OldMexican Blankety Blank||

    Re: DanO.

    The deficit is not going to disappear. That much is true. The only way to reduce and make the deficit disappear is by spending less, and that is not part of El Presidente Bananero Trumpo's plan.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Yup. Lower taxes and start starving the government beast. Then the government department cuts come into play because of budget constraints. When dealing with bureaucrats, its easier for politicians to put the budget restraints on some other law change like tax reform. "Sorry folks, less tax revenue so less money in our budgets this year."

  • Calidissident||

    Let's be real, that doesn't work because the government has no problem with deficit spending until you reach Greece-level problems.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    And let's be real that balancing the budget with higher taxes never works either because there're always more noble causes (safe heroin clinics, perhaps?) So given the alternatives I'll take my money now.

  • Calidissident||

    I do agree that higher taxes are unlikely to work as a solution to the deficit. I think it's a one-way street. Raising taxes will make it easier to increase spending, but cutting taxes doesn't make it any easier to cut spending, at least until you're in a crisis and have no other choice - and at that point, you're probably getting tax increases too (look at European "austerity" - some countries did cut spending when they had no other options, but they also increased taxes even more). The responsible thing to do is cut spending, and have taxes at a level that pays for that spending without creating long-term problems with debt. The crucial point here is that ultimately the level of spending is the key here. High levels of spending will take their toll on the economy and the populace regardless of tax rates. There's no escaping it, there is no such thing as a free lunch.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Raising taxes sure as hell doesn't help cut spending, so if the only outcome is a bursting debt bubble then give me tax cuts now. They're certainly more of a restraint on spending than the alternative.

  • Calidissident||

    Which alternative? There a bunch of different ways of changing tax policy, it's not binary. I would agree that tax increases won't help restrain spending. But that doesn't mean tax cuts will either. There is no reason to think so, it certainly didn't play out that way when JFK/LBJ, Reagan, or Bush cut taxes. Like I said, even if it gets to the point of a debt crisis (which I think should be something we try to avoid by cutting spending instead of not worrying about it till it gets here) any spending cuts will be complemented by tax increases that are likely to be much larger than any spending cuts. That happened in every European country faced with a debt crisis, and even in countries like the UK that weren't. To realize the benefits (both to the economy and to personal liberty) of cutting taxes beyond the short-term, spending has to be cut, there's no way around it. A country spending 20-25% of GDP (at the federal level) is a country spending 20-25% of GDP and that effect will be felt on the population regardless of the tax level. My main point is that debates about tax policy is ultimately window dressing if spending is not addressed, and that politicians and voters are habitually content to just kick that can down the road while adjusting tax policy a little every time there's a power change in Washington.

  • Redcard||

    ^^^ Pretty much.

    Not one Republican is voicing concern over the deficits or the debts anymore. Not to the same extent as they were shrieking when the black guy was in charge

  • MichaelL||

    All but the exceptions, like Rand Paul! Too many people, of both parties, do not know how to live within their means. The only question about the collapse is when it will happen? How long will China allow us to spend them into debt?

  • ace_m82||

    Again, who are you arguing with? We aren't conservatives!

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    It's a form of social masturbation for them.

  • ace_m82||

    Ewww...

  • Redcard||

    Yes, you are. Reason.com Republicans posing as libertarians does not change that.

  • Mark22||

    This time taxes will get real low at the same time the deficit disappears

    Worked for Germany. They also radically cut welfare. Let's do what those "progressive, advanced European nations are doing."

    Actually, similar policies have also worked in the US. However, they are usually credited to the losers like Bill Clinton who come to power just as the benefits kick in.

  • BambiB||

    Shikha is right (for once). A resurgent economy would reduce much of the scrutiny associated with criminal aliens and H-1B abuse. The simplest analogy is that nobody cares if an uninvited guest takes something to eat from the table when the table is overflowing with food.

    But the flip side of Shikha's argument is the truth about the current situation. Times are lean. The table is not overflowing. We already have people who are going hungry. The thieves are not welcome.

    Thieves who steal only the excess of people's lives - things they do not need to survive, are viewed less harshly than those who steal the essentials of life from others. And so a time of plenty would certainly reduce the animosity towards the criminals who stream across our borders, or come to America to take American jobs. When prosperity happens, it will be better for everyone.

    But it has not happened yet.

    In the meantime, kicking out criminal aliens, sharply limiting H-1B and L-1 visas and taking other steps to prevent the importing of outsourcing not only preserves the food on the table for the American family - it puts more money in their pockets and leads to the recovery that Shikha seems to approve.

    Trump should go full bore to eliminate criminal aliens and drastically reduce the number of L-1 and H-1B visas. After balance has been restored, then we can talk about changing policies.

  • eyeroller||

    Deficit, shmeficit. That's what children are for!

  • Cyto||

    I saw the initial strategy for fighting his tax plan from the DNC this morning. The administration has their team out selling tax cuts on the network news shows. Today had Matt Lauer interviewing the Treasury Secretary - and his big question was "Since Trump hasn't released his tax returns, how can the American People trust him on his tax plan?"

    After a political non-answer to the bait question, he follows up "But will he release his tax returns?"

    Another back-on-talking-points answer and Lauer triples down on the tax returns.

    And then his co-host chimes in with another series of "gotcha" on the tax returns.

    No real questions about the tax plan or how it would work or why they are doing this rather than that. Just "hey, tax returns!"

    So the strategy is as stated. Defeat Trump at every turn, regardless of the issue or whether it even makes sense. Change the subject, do not debate tax plans. Only debate whether Trump is "evil and stupid" or "stupid and evil".

  • creech||

    Should have asked Matt Lauer if he released his tax returns, and - if not - how can we trust any comments he makes about the Trump plan. It is tiring to see absolutely no push back against "gotcha" questions.

  • gclancy51||

    Are you insinuating that there actually isn't a conflict of interest to discuss? Or will you ignore it because it suits your ideology?

  • BambiB||

    Most "conflicts of interest" from tax records are only suitable for the "gotcha" questions of imbecile talking heads. There's no legal requirement that presidents release their tax returns. Ford never released a tax return. Reagan only released one.

    That's not a defense of Trump's decision not to release tax returns. In fact, it's a decision that, in absence of any requirement, needs no defense. Trump has released a list of all his personal financial holdings. So what's missing from the picture is essentially his effective tax rate, the types of taxes he paid and how much he gave to charity. Legitimate "conflicts of interest" can be determined by the documentation he has already released.

    But since we're talking about "conflicts of interest", what about the Clinton Global Initiative, that was receiving millions of dollars in donations right up to the moment that Hitlery lost the election? Donations dried up an it folded in a matter of weeks once it was clear that Hiltery had no more influence to sell...

  • Redcard||

    No real questions about the tax plan

    You mean the one page double-spaced font with a couple of percentages? That now makes for a plan?

  • OldMexican Blankety Blank||

    Trump's Radical Tax Reform Is the Best Antidote for Trumpism


    Maybe. If it doesn't end up later, after "the art of the deal", looking exactly like what the tax code looks like today.

  • sarcasmic||

    Citizens! In all times, two political systems have been in existence, and each may be maintained by good reasons. According to one of them, Government ought to do much, but then it ought to take much. According to the other, this two-fold activity ought to be little felt. We have to choose between these two systems. But as regards the third system, which partakes of both the others, and which consists in exacting everything from Government, without giving it anything, it is chimerical, absurd, childish, contradictory, and dangerous. Those who parade it, for the sake of the pleasure of accusing all governments of weakness, and thus exposing them to your attacks, are only flattering and deceiving you, while they are deceiving themselves.

    Bastiat

  • Citizen X - #6||

    For a long-dead French guy, Bastiat sure is a keen observer of the rancid stupidity of modern American politics.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    A growing economy will undercut the appeal of his ethno-nationalist politics.

    Will it, though?

  • Mark22||

    When you can't win on facts or reason, you resort to ad hominems. Typical left wing propagandist.

  • Cyto||

    A question on cutting corporate tax rates:

    Suppose for the sake of argument that cutting corporate taxes doesn't change growth at all. So a 50% reduction in the corporate tax rates would reduce the take from corporate taxes by half. That much is easy.

    But what happens to the money that the corporations keep? Doesn't that end up getting taxed anyway?

    If it is just kept as profit, it gets sent out as distributions to share holders. Which is taxed as regular income. Probably at a higher rate than the corporate tax rate.... unless it is going into a tax exempt or deferred organization like a pension plan or 401k. But even that just delays the taxable moment.

    If they keep it and spend it, it becomes income and stimulus for someone else. If they hire more employees it gets taxed, but probably at a lower rate than the current corporate tax rate.

    Anyway, isn't it way more complex than simply "the government loses out on revenue" - even if you ignore the potential for economic growth?

  • Philadelphia Collins||

    You assume a tax cut will result in less revenue. The Reagan tax cuts proved that wrong. If only the Democrats in Congress had kept their promise to cut spending...

  • Calidissident||

    Tax cuts don't always mean less revenue, but they don't always mean more revenue either (also, it depends on whether you're comparing revenue in the future to revenue today, or revenue in the future vs. what it would have otherwise been in the future). The top tax rate was 70% when Reagan took over, so it was probably a lot easier to boost revenue through cuts back then. It's probably a lot more likely we are on the wrong side of Laffer curve on corporate income tax, however.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Nor do tax increases mean increased revenue.

  • Calidissident||

    Well obviously, that's the converse of the point I made. If tax cuts sometimes increase revenue and sometimes decrease revenue, it must be true that the same holds for tax increases. It all depends on the amount, nature, and context of the tax cuts or increases.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    And yet you never make that point unless prompted.

  • Calidissident||

    How many times have I made either point? I'm sorry I figured people were intelligent enough to draw obvious conclusions. Also, the person I responded to was saying tax cuts don't necessarily mean less revenue, which is why my clarification was directly focused on tax cuts and not tax increases. Is this just your way of insinuating that everyone not as pure as you must love high taxes?

  • Redcard||

    Yes. But it did after Obama forced the upper bracket on the Bush cuts to expire.

    It depends on what the rate was when you cut, and what it was when you raised it.

  • plusafdotcom||

    http://www.plusaf.com/homepage.....ranson.jpg

    should answer some of the questions and conjectures here...

    Plus, some decades ago, Milton Friedman observed that virtually all laws that change economic incentives take about 18-24 months before their effects become visible.

    In today's 24/7 Crisis Mentality of 'news' reporting, if Trump's economic changes don't show results by 'next Thursday,' morons like Woof Blister will claim "they've Failed!"

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Phil, you're confusing what passes for DanO's little mind.

  • Redcard||

    ..and the Brownback tax cuts with his Republicans keeping their promise to cut spending? How did that turn out?

    Reagan had a LOT of room to cut. From about 70% to 28%.

  • Mark22||

    Effective US corporate taxes are some of the highest in the world, which is why companies are leaving the country and jobs go with them. Why do you hate the American worker so much, "DanO."?

  • CatoTheChipper||

    "reductions in individual tax rates won't necessarily spur growth (although they could remove the disincentives to work and boost productivity)"

    The government's real disincentives to work are those imposed at very low and moderate levels of income. Make $1 over 400% of poverty line? Lose an $8000 ObamaCare tax credit. An 800,000% marginal tax rate is bound to influence decisions to work.

  • Memory Hole||

    I suspect there's no fucking way moderate Republicans in the blue states will allow their constituents to eat Trump's tax bill. I don't know the details but if Trump's eliminating deductions for miles that would destroy the ride sharing economy which is already on a razor thin footing. I just don't trust Trump or big money Republicans. I've seen this show in Louisiana where they don't tax big companies and we the middle class end up paying higher sales taxes and our services are reduced.

  • Flatulus||

    You mean people actually have to contribute toward the government services they consume? Horror!

  • Memory Hole||

    I just don't understand it well enough.

  • Mark22||

    I just don't trust Trump or big money Republicans.

    You should be more concerned about "big money Democrats".

    I've seen this show in Louisiana where they don't tax big companies and we the middle class end up paying higher sales taxes and our services are reduced.

    Seems like a win to me: lower corporate taxes, lower government spending, and make the people benefiting from services actually pay for them.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    Trump's ridiculous plans to increase defense spending offer a ton load of ammo

    Come on, Shikha. Surely you speak American by now. It's either 'crap ton' or 'ass load'. This 'ton load' thing is nonsense.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Ton Load was my nickname in college.

  • mortiscrum||

    It's a little funny. I lol'd.

  • AlmightyJB||

    All that damn Chipotle

  • Nuwanda||

    It's actually "crap ass ton load".

    Often heard in military communications, where the acronym, CATL, is pronounced "cattle", as in: "Squadron Six just drop a CATL on Muhammad."

  • Flatulus||

    Hijacking this thread to ask, because maybe I missed it, what happened to some of the long-time commenters like John? Did they leave for another site?

  • Citizen X - #6||

    We do not speak of the Glibbening. John was still around for a few weeks thereafter but has since disappeared. He is presumed to have died, happily, as he lived - underneath a fat chick.

  • sarcasmic||

    lol

  • sarcasmic||

    The got glib.

  • Kivlor||

    Yeah, most fled to Glib due to Reason not covering a certain commenter's personal story, others followed due to TDS and constant equivocation over things that are obviously not equal. (Like every other Robby Article than today's?)

    John disappeared not long ago. I miss him. Entertaining to read his responses. And to watch the cosmos have conniption fits at the concept of inductive reasoning, and the capacity to read implied statements.

    I think John has been known to take a hiatus in the past though, so he may be back.

  • Flatulus||

    What's Glib?

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Thankfully we kept all of the socialists pretending to be libertarians. Book 'em!

  • Kivlor||

  • jcw||

    "I think John has been known to take a hiatus in the past though, so he may be back."

    It's weird, his hiatus is only taken in 4 or 8 year increments.

  • Kivlor||

    I only started coming to lurk at Reason in '14, so I wouldn't know. I'd heard he was a very long-time commenter here. Are you saying he disappears during Republican Presidencies?

  • mortiscrum||

    I find "lower taxes to spur economic growth!" at the present time to be incredibly unconvincing. Look at markets world-wide: a lack of money is NOT the problem. People and companies are so desperate to find a place a put their money some bonds have a negative yield. That's just insane. Under these circumstances, why on Earth would cutting taxes to give companies even more money let them do something they can't already do?

    Also, the "America's corporate tax rate is too high!" is extremely misleading. It's stated to be 35% but no one actually pays that. The effective tax rate is more like 16% once federal, state, and local taxes are factored in (only 12% at the federal level). Here's the tricky fishhook of tax reform: companies superficially support tax reform because they hope it'll work out in their benefit - that someone else will get hosed while their taxes will go down. Obviously, someone is going to be left holding the bag. Simplistic plans like "cut to 15% and end all loopholes" will result in a lot of major, powerful companies saying "fuck no, that'll raise our effective taxes from 12% to 15%." They will be against that.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    cutting taxes to give companies

    Word choice reveals a pretty serious problem with your worldview. Did you know that taking less of someone's stuff is NOT the same thing as giving them that stuff? It's true! Think about it, and if it still doesn't make sense to you, then give me your car, because by not giving me your car you're taking a car away from me, dick.

  • mortiscrum||

    Are insults really necessary, over what amounts to a grammatical choice?

    If you want to be pedantic and ignore the bulk of my post, whatever, that's your choice. My logic doesn't fall apart if "give" is taken out in favor of "have companies keep." In other words, you're not adding anything to the conversation and instead just nitpicking silly things.

  • Born Again Username||

    What you said =! what you meant. Yes, what you said was incorrect, because it resulted in the wrong scenario being addressed, namely, the one where a company pays no taxes and receives money from the government versus the one where a company pays taxes, but pays less than in previous years.

  • mortiscrum||

    I've already addressed this, but for your benefit I'll post it again:

    "If you want to be pedantic and ignore the bulk of my post, whatever, that's your choice. My logic doesn't fall apart if "give" is taken out in favor of "have companies keep." In other words, you're not adding anything to the conversation and instead just nitpicking silly things."

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    So you don't think that taxes influence investment at all? You don't think that an investor is more likely to forego an investment in a lower margin enterprise when taxes are higher? Do you even deadweight loss? What's insane is thinking that corporations pay taxes and that there are no distortionary effects.

  • mortiscrum||

    RE: So you don't think that taxes influence investment at all?

    To answer your question directly, of course taxes have an effect on investment. I agree with that as a general statement. However, at this point in time, I doubt that lowering taxes is going to spur much growth. Many companies already have lots of free money, or at least access to easy credit, so I doubt them having even more is going to lead to some bonanza of hiring and expansion.

    For lower taxes to really have an effect on business decisions, they need to be permanent. These cuts aren't.

    RE: What's insane is thinking that corporations pay taxes and that there are no distortionary effects.

    I more or less agree with this. Similar to the above, I agree with it in a very general sense. But it's not etched-in-stone true. If a company's taxes go up by a penny, the the price of their product is not also going to go up by a penny. The relation is more fluid and indirect than that.

    If I were to engage in completely out of the box, never going to happen spitballing about taxes, I would seriously consider lowering corporate taxes to zero. But we're not talking about that. We're talking about fudging around with the tax rate, which runs straight in to all of the problems I laid out above: that of winners and losers.

  • creech||

    Really? I got my corporation (well, "my" equals 7%) annual report for 2016 and we paid 33% in taxes, and even after some nice accelerated deprec. on new machinery purchased in 2015. Paying only 15% would enable us to pay higher dividends (giving me more to spend on vacations, home improvements, etc) pay higher wages to keep key personnel, moderate price increases, and even acquire a few competitors whose owners are looking to retire.
    Our CPAs never seem to be able to tell us how to consistently lower our federal tax rates to the 12% that you, and others, claim is the national average.

  • mortiscrum||

    It's the national average for large corporations. This is exactly what I was trying to get at: everyone is in favor redoing the tax code because they think it'll shake out in their favor. I'm saying someone is going to get the short end of the stick. Our current system favors corporations that are big enough/flush enough to afford an army of accountants to take advantage of every deductible. A system that moves away from that is going to find itself with some very powerful enemies.

  • Calidissident||

    Where are you getting 12% from?

    http://www.politifact.com/pund.....ree-world/

  • mortiscrum||

    Here>/a>

    The 12% figure refers specifically to "large, profitable corporations." In that regard, it's probably not a super helpful figure to use to talk about the tax burden in general. However, it does highlight the powerful enemies that will be made when someone tries to effectively raise taxes on these corporations by closing deductions - even as the stated tax rate drops significantly.

  • See.More||

    Corporate tax reform:


    Corporations do not pay taxes. The checks they write to the IRS are money they first collected from their consumers in higher prices, their employees in lower compensation, and/or their investors in lower returns on investments (dividends).

  • Azathoth!!||

    It's best part is that by spurring growth, it will undercut his own ethno-nationalistic agenda

    .....or maybe he doesn't actually have one? Maybe it's an invention of the media?

  • Set Us Up The Chipper||

    Additionally, Shikha acts like when she tries to refer to progressives as if they are some group that does not include her is puzzling.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    One of my relatives is for all practical purposes a communist. She describes herself as a centrist, with some conservative tendencies. I think she confuses statism with conservatism.

  • J Ortega y Gasset||

    I have to lean towards Mortiscrum on this one. "Tax reform" may start out looking good, but since when has the federal government simplified anything? Once you ring the bell on this, the game is on for the sectors with the best-paid lobbyists to gain a bit of ground. Taxes suck, but REGULATIONS are beating the hell out of growth. Tote up the actual real world cost of regulations on something as mundane as say, building a house. When it comes to destroying an economy... taxation is for amateurs; regulations are for pros.

    I honestly don't think any amount of tax reform (realistic or full-metal unicorn) would be enough to offset the problems of runaway spending and debt. I disagree with Dalmia. Trump hasn't presented a "solid plan." He's jotted down some items on a wish list. Even if Santa decides he's been a very good boy and gives him most, the U.S. economy is a hollow balloon inflated by the Federal Reserve's monetary policy.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    1986. But starting with an already byzantine tax code with uncounted special carve outs means that it will never get any more complex. Honest. The logic is impeccable.

  • Trigger Warning||

    "It is good that this bad guy is doing a good thing because then people will not elect bad guys like this because they will no longer be scared of brown people stealing their jobs. Open borders must be the defining libertarian issue at all times."

    How do you get published here? Do you have naked pictures of Mango or something?

  • JohnMc||

    What is so radical? Till you hear what the dollar amounts are for the brackets its all kabuki theater.

  • Redcard||

    it will undercut his own ethno-nationalistic agenda, which is why, if progressives had any sense, a big "if", they'd support it instead of demagoguing it!

    Especially since the Republicans are no longer concerned about deficits and debt, the Democrats should reach across the aisle, right Shikha?

    Lowering taxes is awesome, as long as you stop being hypocritical about the debt.

    And if they are reducing it, reduce it to zero.

  • Budbug||

    It hurts to almost say something nice about Trump, doesn't it?
    It will get easier.

  • Ned Netterville||

    From a libertarian perspective, tax reform that doesn't eliminate individual employment taxes (all of 'em) and withholding and the IRS isn't tax reform at all, because otherwise individual Americans remain slaves of the violent state. (If your income can be taken from you by force, you are a slave!)

  • dsa027||

    "...his predecessor lavished almost the same amount with literally nothing to show for it...". "Literally?" The word means nothing anymore.

    http://www.politifact.com/trut.....-stimulus/
    "Just to cite a few of the bigger projects, the Recovery Act helped push to completion the $1 billion DFW Connector highway in Dallas-Fort Worth; a $650 million elevated truck route to the Port of Tampa; a new Cleveland Innerbelt Bridge; a tunnel connecting Oakland and Contra Costa County, Calif.; new light rail lines in Salt Lake City and Dallas; a courthouse in Austin; a hospital at Camp Pendleton in California; a veterans' facility at Fort Bliss in Texas; and new headquarters for the Department of Homeland Security and the Coast Guard. And the list of projects funded by the act runs to nine pages in his book, even though that's just a partial accounting."

  • Amogin||

    The Minority President's plan is more like a proposal for a plan. It may contain some good things and it probably contains some very bad things- like ridiculous tax breaks for himself and his family and those like him, as well as eliminating deductions for state taxes. . But we cannot know exactly how tax reform (which everyone agrees is necessary) will play out until the details are made public. Right now the President has created another "high -class tweet." Congress and their K Street associates will have to decide what exactly will be in the reform package and what won't, until then there is really no basis for a decision. Remember NATO was declared obsolete until it wasn't and he was going to repeal and replace Obamacare with something better until he didn't and he was going to exit NAFTA but not right now. Mr. Trump is under the impression that like god, saying something will make it so . Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on your point of view, he was elected president, not dictator and certainly not god.

  • Uncle Jay||

    RE: Trump's Radical Tax Reform Is the Best Antidote for Trumpism

    If Trump the Grump wants to be really radical with tax reform, then he will do his best to eliminate the archaic, oppressive and confusing income tax and replace with a national sales tax.
    But he won't.
    I will give him credit for reducing taxes, but he (and the United States) needs to repeal the income tax and minimize the IRS.

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