Let's Talk About The GOP Tax Plan

Let's Talk About The GOP Tax Plan

A 404 page document with illegible scribbles from lobbyists, it must be a winner!

The only appropriate way to open this week's article is to quote my dream mans Hasan Piker:

"It's tax season, baby! Woo!! Deep cuts, thicc cuts. Yeah! We're going into a recession! MAGA! Sorry, I just love imagining the idea that giving corporations, who already are experiencing record high profits, more tax cuts with the hopes that it'll somehow magically eliminate labor exploitation and reduce income inequality."

On that note, let's talk the Republican tax plan. The tax code is, by definition, boring. With phrases like "corporate inversion" and "zero-based budgeting" and "quantitative easing" (made famous by Jill Stein claiming it was a magic trick that you didn't need to understand, it's just a magic trick, featured in conjunction with John Oliver's coverage on third parties), the tax code is inherently boring. But we can't let that stop us from being informed of the tax code, not just how it pertains to us, but also in the broader scope of the economy.

Riveting, I know.

But tax codes themselves play a big role in how the party line is toed. All candidates have a stance on taxes - who should be taxed, what is tax deductible, etc. Trump is no exception, though his Republican Party's version of the tax code is particularly horrifying.

The main goal of the House's version of the plan, a 440-page piece of legislative garbage (my opinion, admittedly) was to lower taxes on companies, all in an effort to make them more competitive and discourage them from leaving the country. This has always been a Republican idea, and was one of the main pillars of Trump's "campaign", for lack of a better term. In practice, the new tax bill reduces corporate tax from 35 to 20 percent.

You're probably thinking, "Who gives a shit?"

Wait. It's important.

The other important (and major) provisions of this bill are that it keeps the individual mandate from Obamacare, but this is only in the Senate version, meaning it might end up NOT appearing when the House and Senate have to make their bills match. This could an issue. A big issue. A "You guys didn't want our healthcare plan? Here, we're just going to fuck you over" big issue.

The big piece though is this: Big business is getting a huge win from this plan, and small businesses are getting, well, a marginally better deal than in the past. Slashing the corporate tax from 35 to 20 percent is the largest single cut in history, that has no expiration date. On top of that big change, companies will also be getting new tax breaks to help lower their bills, and the entire business tax system (how money is taxed as it moves behind the scenes, essentially) will be changed from a worldwide model to a territorial model. Starting to see why this matters? Just wait.

If big business does well, so do rich people. The top 1% will see benefits from changes in the estate tax (which will go away entirely in 2024), being able to keep charitable deductions, and the alternative minimum tax goes away, which is to safeguard against excessive tax dodging. You know who this benefits in particular? Donald Trump.

Donald Trump promised that he would lower taxes for the middle class. And it is clear he doesn't do it. Most Americans will pay the same (possibly lower) taxes until 2023 when a key tax break for the middle class expires: the Family Flexibility Credit. They are claiming taxes will get simpler as they consolidate tax brackets and eliminate individual deductions. Oh yeah, you read that right, individual deductions are going away except for three: charitable donations, property taxes greater than $10,000 annually, and mortgage interest deduction. The one that has most people up in arms it the loss of tax breaks associated with going to college, because it's going to be expensive. The Washington Post summarized it best:

"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. "

The price tag for this bill is $1.4 trillion dollars, and that goes straight to the deficit. And while economists say that it will create growth, it's not nearly enough to cover the costs.

There's a lot of reasons to be upset about this plan: it's a badly defended savior bill of our economy, that the deficit issue is only like, the fifth worst thing about it, or that it's even a mixed bag for corporate America.

What I'm upset about, though? The Republicans, who bitched and bitched about the "deficit inflating" Obamacare are now claiming that their own plan will pay for itself, when the reality is by ALL models (frankly, including their own) that the actual pricetag is $1.4 trillion. Trillion. With a T.

What upsets me about this is that when its $1.4 trillion in the pockets of themselves, their friends, and in the end, their children when the estate tax does not apply to their own wealth, they are willing to balloon the debt out of the water because it benefits THEM. But when it's $1.4 trillion to make sure people can survive curable diseases and not go bankrupt from it, like Obamacare, all of a sudden the deficit is all that matters, and if we make the deficit any deeper, we will go into another financial crisis.

I wasn't (as) fired about this until I read Vox's article this week entitled, "Orrin Hatch just made the Republican agenda startlingly clear". This quote is what lit the fire in me to even give a shit about tax code:

"'I have a rough time wanting to spend billions and billions and trillions of trillions of dollars to help people who won’t help themselves, won’t lift a finger, and expect the federal government to do everything,” he [Orrin Hatch] said. “Unfortunately, the liberal philosophy has created millions of people that way, who believe everything they are or ever hope to be depend on the federal government rather than the opportunities that this great country grants them.'"

So, basically, here's the point. The Republicans are willing to spend $1.4 trillion that goes immediately put into their pockets, but not willing to spend $1.4 trillion on their constituents who are not as well off as them. The CHIP program (Children's Insurance Program) has been the center of this debate. It would cost less than 1% of the proposed $1.4 trillion tax bill to keep this program running next year. Less. Than. 1%. And its existence is in jeopardy. The Republicans can't even give a shit about children anymore, how do you think they feel about the rest of us?

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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A Country, Divided

Hate will only fuel hate

With the latest school shootings, election investigations, and the Time's Up and #MeToo movements flooding social media and the news outlets, it's almost impossible to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The people of our country are divided over personal beliefs, as usual, but have now insisted on using social media to belittle each other. While this is not new, each day I find new things people are complaining about on Facebook, especially the gun laws and problems with the NRA. While strict gun laws mean nothing to a country full of hatred, promoting and fighting for your rights with a heart full of hate will not make anything better for us.

It's one thing to support gun rights, but it's another to attack someone for wanting something different. All you have is an opinion. What you have to say is not fact, and it doesn't matter how many stats you find on the NRA's website to prove your point. Attacking students who watched their classmates die in front of them does not make you a great citizen because you're "protecting your rights." You sound like a jerk fighting with a 14 year old who is grieving.

I'm not writing this as a call to action, or to voice my opinion, because my opinions don't matter. In our country today, it seems like the only opinions that matter are those who are the rich, or those who are in support with our government. Anyone who goes against them are deemed liars and "wrong."

I'm glad that those who have wronged women are being punished. I'm glad that kids are finding their voices and are refusing to be silent. But if you fight with a CHILD, and tell them that their opinion doesn't matter, who ever told you yours did? Who made you feel like you were above everyone else because you support a big corporation, or a big government power? Hate to break it to you, but that's what they want. You're a dollar sign.

So the next time you log onto Facebook, Twitter, or whatever, think before you write a hateful post to your "friend" because you don't agree. Think before you yell at a child you've never met for using their freedom of speech and freedom to act, the same right that you're fighting for. Just because you're on opposing sides, doesn't mean you have to hate each other. Violence equals violence, and as of right now, I see no end.

Cover Image Credit: Sherry Boas

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Are Adults Using Children To Further Their Political Agenda?

They're smarter than kids, and it shows.

Since the national student walkout on March 14, there has been an increased sense of "pride" in the children of the United States.

Adults and politicians praise students for standing up for what they believe, even though these same children are too young to vote for those exact things that they believe in. Rolling Stone wrote an article that criticizes adult Americans for doing nothing since the Parkland mass shooting that killed 17. Articles like these are more than common lately - children are being worshipped while adults take the full blame for gun violence and the lack of change.

I, however, want to offer a new perspective. Columnist Megan McArdle wrote an opinion post titled "The student walkout said more about adults than kids," and it challenged me to think out of the box and offer a new opinion regarding this upcoming generation of students. (Give her article a read because it's really thought-provoking!)

When the walkout took place, not everyone participated. There were schools that fully supported it, but many threatened to punish students for leaving class. My sister's high school didn't organize a walkout, but many students still decided to participate on their own. The media, of course, highlighted the schools that had hundreds of students marching on school property, waving signs and chanting for change.

More importantly, the walkout symbolized a new era of student's voice. Never before had so many underage children stood up for what they believed in. But was it really what they wanted? Had every single one of the thousands of students nationwide been educated on gun usage, firearm statistics, and the actual definition of a mass shooting? Or had their parents, teachers, and the media just told them what to believe?

If children started protesting against the drinking age, how would the adults respond? They'd probably disagree and put down the protests. It would make media headlines for a day or two and then dissolve into nothing. What if 12-year-olds demanded the right to drive cars? Ridiculous, the adults would say. Children's opinions rarely matter because their knowledge and experience are weak compared to that of their superiors.

BUT, when a child stands up for something that the adults are also passionate about, all of sudden, that child is "wise beyond years" and "more mature than most." It would seem, then, that the adults are the ones shaping children and controlling what they support.

This isn't a new concept, of course. Adults are smarter than children, in my opinion, and you'd be dumb to argue against that. And yet, people are basically worshipping the walkout students for organizing such a huge event on their own, except it wasn't on their own. The entire walkout depended on the support and aid of adult teachers, parents, and organizations. Adults spread the word of the event via Facebook, Twitter, news outlets, and text messages. Adults provided security at the schools during the walkouts. Adults showed up to video the event and provide news coverage. Without adults, the walkout on March 14 would have been nothing. It wouldn't have happened.

This wouldn't even be a problem if people weren't blaming adults for being retroactive in regards to gun control. But they are. Liberals are saying that children are more grown-up than most adults, simply because they decided to skip school for 17 minutes. Yes, there are certainly children who really do want gun control, but I have a bad feeling that the majority of them participated in the walkout because they felt pressured by their parents, teachers, and peers. The adults were in full control; the students were just puppets.

If we're going to let kids walk out of the classroom, lose quality learning time, and march for what they're "passionate" about, we better be prepared for it to happen again with issues that are more childish.

Imagine if these same kids organized a walkout to protest the length of the American school day - would they be so smart and mature then?

On a side note, the walkout is going to do nothing politically. The adults have government control, and they'll do what they want. Stay in school, kids, because your opinion does not have an influence, no matter how much mom and dad says it does.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia

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