***READ MY LIPS: TAXES ARE FRIGGIN BORING AS HELL TO WRITE ABOUT***
But important nonetheless.
Believe it or not, there were other things going on besides creep groping women. The biggest story, for today at least, is the passage of GOP tax reform legislation through two big hurdles: the House and Senate Finance Committee. Now it’s in the hands of the good ol’ Senate itself, and we know how rocky that can be. All the same, most of the smart people think this thing has a solid chance of passing. Time will certainly tell. In the meantime, I’m going to give a point-by-point analysis of what exactly is in this thing. Bear mind, some things may change before the Senate product is voted on. But for now, this is where we are.
BARRYCARE’S INDIVIDUAL MANDATE LOOKS TO BE PERMANENT:
Here is the thing about that, though. The House voted on a tax bill only. The Senate bill actually includes a provision to scrap the mandate, which is a legal requirement that almost all Americans buy health insurance or pay a penalty. The House isn’t touching that, which may lead to a showdown between the two chambers if they have to resolve their very different versions of the bill.
The problem, as with most things in the world, lies with RINOs. If the Barrycare mandate goes, so do some of their votes. They’re terrified of messing with Barrycare. Wouldn’t be nice if Republicans applied the same kind of pressure to Democrats governing in Trump-heavy states as Democrats do to Republicans in “purple” states? We may actually have a governing majority. In any event, the issue of the individual mandate is far from settled. I will say that I’m not hopeful for the mandate being scrapped. It would take testicular fortitude for the GOP Senate to pull that off, which they have shown no signs of in years.
BIG BUSINESS IS A BIG WINNER:
The House bill cuts the top rate that large corporations pay from 35 percent to 20 percent, the biggest one-time drop in the big-business tax rate ever, which is permanent. Additionally, companies would get some new tax breaks to help lower their bills, such as the ability to deduct all the costs of purchasing new equipment for five years, as well as a special low rate on any money they bring back to the United States from low-tax countries. President Trump spoke often on the campaign trail of bringing money back into the United States. Well, this is how it’s done. You have to give people incentive.
Many businesses have been hoarding cash overseas for years to avoid the 35% tax rate. Pretty simple logic, really. Don’t you protect your money? Yeah, that’s what I thought, you hypocritical bastard (sorry, that was for liberal readers only). Now those countries would get to bring the money home at a tax rate of 12 percent. The entire business tax system would also change from a worldwide system, in which money anywhere around the globe is taxed, to a territorial system in which it’s mostly money made in the United States that is taxed. Businesses have long lobbied for this change.
SMALL BUSINESS ALSO WINS, ALTHOUGH SLIGHTLY LESS:
The National Federation of Independent Businesses, the largest small business lobby, initially was against the House bill, but after a few good old fashioned sausage-making and political horse-trading sessions, the NFIB is now on board. Ninety-five percent of American businesses are organized as pass through companies (LLCs, S-Corps, partnerships), and they “pass through” the business income to the owner’s individual tax rate. The big picture is that the House plan lowers the top rate from 39.6% to 25% for small businesses.
The much more convoluted, aneurysm-inducing picture is a complex formula where the 25% rate only applies to about 30% of the business income. But the reality is most small businesses — 85%— already pay taxes at rates of 25% or less. The House managed to remedy this issue for the small mom and pop operations (of which I’m trying to build as we speak) by lowering the rate to 9% rate on the first $75,000 in income for business owners making $150,000 or less. That will allow upstart companies the breathing room to grow a little before they become wealthy and Uncle Sam robs them blind. The downside to that mom and pop rate, if you will, is that it phases in, meaning small businesses won’t feel the full love until 2022.
THE MOST IMMORAL TAX ON THE PLANET TAKES A HIT:
Democrats love to seize on the so-called “estate tax” part of the bill. The very mention of repealing it is met with sociopathic imagery of Scrooge McDuck buying his 9th yacht while a poor infant goes without formula. It fits neatly into their narrative about any effort to fix our dumpster fire of a tax system, as they’re able to frame it as a “giant cut for the wealthy.” What they don’t tell you is the “estate tax” is essentially a death tax, which is tantamount to stealing off of a dead man. It would sicken us to see the property taken off a dead man just before he’s interned, but when the government does it, no worries– it’s economic justice! Currently, the estate tax is paid when property and other assets worth over $5.5 million are passed on to heirs. The new bill would double that threshold to about $11 million in 2018 (around $22 million for couples), meaning a lot fewer people have to pay it. And here is the part that actually made me kinda proud of Republicans, which is quite the feat: the tax goes away entirely in 2024! In a world of spines and principles, it would go away immediately, but let’s face it, we’re all grading the GOP on a curve these days.
THINGS GET DICEY IN 2023:
For the next five years, 92% of Americans would either pay less or see little change, according to the official estimates from the Joint Committee on Taxation. But after that 5 years, things take a sharp turn. In 2023, only 40 percent of Americans would pay less, while 22% would pay more, at least according to the JCT. Hey, I don’t pretend to be an expert on this stuff. Nothing wrong with citing sources.
It’s in 2023 that a key middle-class tax break expires. Many of the people facing tax hikes are solidly middle class ($40,000 to $75,000) or else in the “upper” middle class ($200,000 to $400,000). A key savings for the middle class — the Family Flexibility Credit — goes away after 2022. The House bill also uses a low measure of inflation after 2022, meaning more and more people start to jump from the 12 percent tax bracket to the 25 percent bracket (which starts to kick in at $67,500 for heads of households). Higher income earners are impacted by the elimination of numerous itemized deductions (see more explanation on those below). To be fair, many of the people who are complaining about this aspect of the bill are being disingenuous about the tax burden in the first place. Let’s get real here, about half of Americans don’t pay any tax. Any change to that is going to be met with the hot hot heat of a thousand suns. But it doesn’t mean “the poor man is getting screwed.” Look folks, I’m poor. I had to fill out my social security information so that the IRS could tax every cent I make from this site, be it advertising or donation. I don’t like it, but I also don’t claim the right to bitch about getting pinched while the upper class is shaken down daily. I don’t spend my life hating rich people. I only want a fair system for everyone.
TAXES ACTUALLY WILL GET SIMPLER, BELIEVE IT OR NOT:
When this whole tax reform saga began, I only asked for two things as an everyday, voting Joe: make taxes lighter and simpler. It’s not a massively high bar. Just stick with those two principles and the country will be better off than she was before we began. I don’t expect perfection, only improvement. It’s a reasonable request. It appears that Congress, to their credit, are at least making progress in that direction.
The House bill reduces the seven tax brackets we currently have down to just four (12%, 25%, 35% and 39.6%). The top rate becomes a “millionaire rate” applying to income of $1 million or more a year for couples (and of $500,000 or more for individuals). No I’m not a fan of that. As I said before, I just want a fair system. Some call it a “fair tax.” I don’t want a “millionaire tax.” Get that commie BS outta here. How about an “American tax,” that provides for a common percentage regardless of income? Oh well, as we’re reminded at the end of every Trump rally, you can’t always get what you want. This is better than what we had before, so I’ll keep my gripes within reason.
In a further effort to simplify the tax code, the House bill also does away with many of the credits and deductions and replaces them with a larger standard deduction, a slightly larger child tax credit ($1,600 per kid versus $1,000 now) and a new Family Flexibility Credit worth $300 a year for individuals and $600 for couples. The larger standard deduction means the first $12,000 for individuals and $24,000 for couples is tax-free. Benefits for the poorest among us actually grow in most cases, and it’s much easier to get to that “0% bracket,” as it’s been called. It doesn’t pass my fairness test, but it does mean Democrat talking points take a hit.
TIME TO PISS EVERYONE OFF:
Hey, my readers want the truth, warts and all. Well here you go. I’m sure you’ve seen the state vs state warfare in the news lately, as high-taxed liberal states are supposedly getting the shaft while lower-taxed red states reap the benefits. That’s the narrative anyway.
Almost all itemized deductions are going away, except for three. The House bill keeps the deductions for charitable donations, property taxes up to $10,000 a year and the mortgage interest deduction, although the mortgage interest deduction would be capped at $500K, down from $1M now.
About 30% of filers itemize. Most of those that do claim the state and local tax deduction (SALT) where they deduct their state and local sales, income and property taxes. Under the House bill, only the property deduction would remain. This is why people living in high-tax blue states like New Jersey, New York and California get the shaft. Several GOP representatives from these states plan to voted no on the bill for this sole purpose. The conservative response to these complaints is that the federal government should not be subsidizing the bad decisions of liberal cesspools. I tend to agree with them.
THE OFFICIAL PISS-OFF LIST:
Here’s a quick list of the deductions that are going #ByeBye. It’s sure to ruin someone’s day. You’re welcome!
Gone in 2018:
1) Tax credits for plug-in motor vehicles are first on the #ByeBye list. Let’s be real here, though, people. If your car plugs in you DESERVE to be taxed. I’d actually argue that you should be deported. Adapters are for charging cell phones, not cars. They should call this “an end to the commie deduction.”
2) You won’t be able to write off your tax-preparers bill. Sorry, the government is no longer paying someone to do your taxes. Theoretically, though, if the Paul Rino “postcard” comes to fruition, there will be no need to hire one in the first place. So there is that.
3) No more deductions for moving expenses. This applies to everyone but the military. I’m wary of favorable treatment of military, despite my being a veteran. Hey, fairness is fairness. Then again, service members sign a contract when they join. Part of that contract is the government will pay to move you wherever they tell you to go. You have to admit, it would be pretty crappy to have Soldiers paying thousands of dollars to move to their own duty stations. I mean, look folks, the government owns your ass when you’re in the military. The trade-off for that is things like free moving expenses.
4) Say goodbye to most tax benefits for college. At the moment, low and middle income Americans can deduct up to $2,500 a year in student loan interest. That benefit would go away in 2018. In addition, grad students who get tuition waivers because they teach or do research would now have to pay income tax on the waiver, a big change. For students currently in school, the American Opportunity Tax Credit would remain, which allows a $2,000 credit for higher education expenses. Those Bernie Sanders “free college” millennials are REALLY gonna be marching about that one. I can’t say that I feel too awfully sorry for them. If you spent $300K getting a degree in Trump tweet offense-taking, sorry, that’s called natural selection. I’m trying to make a living as a writer here, people. You’ll get no sympathy from me.
5) Deduction for theft or loss of valuables. Right now people can write a lot of their losses off on their taxes, but that would be gone in 2018. The one exemption is losses for a natural disaster such as Hurricane Harvey. Those aren’t going anywhere, so don’t worry. That’s *actual* Hurricane Harvey, by the way, not a visit from Harvey Weinstein. There is no way to deduct that type of trauma, be it in tax forms or life.
MAYBE THIS WILL KEEP YOU FROM THROWING THINGS:
Both the adoption credit and 401(k) exemptions stay. Both of those have been hot-button issues.
The Senate, thanks to some shrewd parliamentary maneuvering by Turtle McConnell and co., only need 50 votes to pass this baby, with VP Pence being the tie-breaking #51. Where we stand on getting those votes depends on who you listen to. I can tell you that the usual coochie hat coalition of Corker, McCain, Flake and Collins are going to make things interesting, to put it charitably. Corker, McCain and Flake are using the deficit as their excuse to keep their vagina costumes on, whereas Collins is hyperventilating over the prospect of a Barrycare mandate repeal.
Proponents of the bill say the offset in deficit will be compensated for with the economic boom spurred by a more advantageous business environment. The big picture here is this tax bill is largely designed for the business community. Roughly 3/4 of the bill benefit small business, corporations or both. The remaining quarter seeks to ease the burden on the individual. Some argue that this is a false dichotomy, since an improved business climate benefits the individual. The Reagan era lends credence to that view, as the economic plight of the average American actually improved post-tax cuts, as did government revenue, believe it or not. The philosophy is simple. Getting more people into the workforce increases the tax base. You make more money from a lower rate that more people are paying than a high rate paid by only a few and dodged by many.
Now comes the sausage-making. We’ll see how much things change, as well as who (if anyone) is willing to be the RINO that sinks the ship.
Things are about to get interesting.
***STUART SMALLEY FINALLY MAKES ME LAUGH***
Karma is a mean, mean woman.
Al Franken, whose main accomplishments prior to becoming Senator were writing borderline unwatchable skits on Saturday Night Live and slandering conservatives, has gotten caught with his hands in the cookie jar. And by “cookie jar” I mean bewbies.
The Minnesota Senator, who must hold a seance to communicate with his voting base, has a very uncertain political future in the wake of reports that he forcibly kissed and groped a woman named Leeann Tweeden during a 2006 USO tour of the Middle East.
What the Franken story represents is a litmus test for Democrat hypocrisy. Is it truly infinite, as many have theorized, or will they take care of their own in order to keep hammering away with us?
Here are the facts. Al Franken is a SITTING Senator who is on camera groping a woman as she sleeps; a woman on a USO tour no less. All his colleagues say they believe his accuser’s story about forced kissing, even though Franken himself “has a different recollection of the rehearsal.”
Roy Moore, on the other hand, is a Senatorial CANDIDATE whose most damning evidence is a yearbook signature that his accuser’s lawyer refuses to hand over for examination. Yet his (potential) Senate leadership has called for his resignation before he even takes office. I’m starting to notice a disparity in the way condemnation is handed down on the Hill.
If Franken stays, any mention of Trump, Moore or any other Republican accused of improper behavior toward women will be greeted with a #BigFat picture of Frankenstein in grope mode. Frank(en)ly, I’m not sure Democrats are willing to deal with that, especially from a Senator in a state that will just be replaced with another Democrat. Both Democrats and Republicans want to keep Judge Moore from within a ten thousand mile radius of DC.
I actually think the swamp may sacrifice Franken for the sake of continuing their #FakeNews.
If not, I’ll be happy as a lark. Keep him in there Democrats, and leave Roy Moore the hell alone.
Either way, LOL.
***JUSTICE DELAYED, JUSTICE DENIED***
Speaking of Democrats protecting their own, a New Jersey jury just couldn’t seem to come to a consensus that Bob Menendez is a corrupt swamp-dweller.
Judge William Walls declared a mistrial after more than six full days of deliberations failed to produce a verdict on any of the 18 counts against Menendez or his co-defendant, a wealthy Florida eye doctor accused of buying Bribery Bob’s influence with luxury vacations and campaign contributions.
Although it ended in a mistrial, Menendez predictably treated the (lack of a) verdict as an exoneration. And even more predictably, he pulled out the race card immediately to explain all this darned attention on the lavish gifts he’s been receiving from his doctor buddy in exchange for political favors.
“Certain elements of the FBI and of our state cannot understand or even worse accept that the Latino kid from Union City and Hudson County can grow up to be a United States senator and be honest,” Menendez said in his post-trial presser. “I can’t even begin to tell you how many people have come to tell me that the FBI went to them and asked them, ‘What can you give us on Menendez?’”
No, Bob. The FBI is certainly corrupt, as the last 8 years of Democrat rule have demonstrated beyond question, but there is no massive conspiracy to rob the Latino community of a Senator.
“The way this case started was wrong, the way it was investigated was wrong, the way it was prosecuted was wrong, the way it was tried was wrong as well.”
Thank you for finally coming out and showing some integrity regarding the Hillary email probe, Bob! Oh, how a guy can dream.
Prosecutors would not say whether they plan to retry Menendez. Given his status as a Democrat Senator and thus part of a Senate minority fighting Trump, though, I doubt they expect to get anything but a hung jury from any future trials. In hindsight, I should have seen this coming. I was a bit blinded by the fieriness of the anti-politician Judge Walls, but this was always in the hands of a New Jersey jury. In this polarized political climate, it was naive of me to assume any sort of real justice would be delivered. Some things used to transcend politics, and nailing crooked politicians used to be chief among them. It’s clear that those days are long over.
Capitol Hill has had the swampiest response imaginable. Turtle McConnell, who clearly views a man who was actually indicted for public corruption over one of his own party members who is being accused by Gloria Allred, is calling for an “immediate ethics investigation.” And who would be carrying this out? Yep, the same Senate Ethics Committee that has been keeping crime swept safely under the establishment rug for decades.
Schumer has the convenient position of pointing to the ethics investigation of him that already exists. The SEC began investigating Menendez in 2012, but had their probe deferred a year later after actual law enforcement told them to get the hell out of the way. That joke of an investigation will now resume, which Cryin’ Chuck sees as a perfectly adequate response to a sitting Senator who would be sitting in prison right now if not for a few rabidly anti-Trump jurors. I’m sure they’ll get to the bottom of this thing.
Bulldoze D.C., people. The whole damn town. Support Roy Moore. Push President Trump to do the same. I don’t care about a “GOP civil war.” The civil war started long ago when the political establishment set up different standards for themselves. They all have to go. I don’t give a damn what chaos is caused in the process. Normandy wasn’t a pretty sight either.
And this coming invasion is every bit as important.
There it is, homeskillet. You know the drill: questions, comments, concerns, memes, insults, compliments, stickers, jokes, emojis and, if we have time, complaints.
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