Patterico's Pontifications

9/28/2017

New York Times Hit Piece: Trump Would Save Over $1 Billion Under New Tax Plan

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:30 pm

New York Times:

President Trump could cut his tax bills by more than $1.1 billion, including saving tens of millions of dollars in a single year, under his proposed tax changes, a New York Times analysis has found.

On Wednesday, the White House announced a sweeping plan to cut a variety of taxes that would overwhelmingly benefit the wealthy. The estimate of Mr. Trump’s savings is based in part on information from his 2005 federal tax return. The analysis compares what his tax burden would be under current law with what it would be under the proposal.

Mr. Trump’s 2005 return is the most recent available publicly and was released in March by David Cay Johnston, a former New York Times reporter. The Times’s figure also relies on an estimate of Mr. Trump’s net worth, calculated by the Bloomberg Billionaire’s Index to be $2.86 billion.

“I don’t benefit. I don’t benefit,” Mr. Trump said on Wednesday. “In fact, very, very strongly, as you see, I think there’s very little benefit for people of wealth.”

In fact, high-income earners like Mr. Trump are likely to benefit disproportionately if the White House proposal becomes law. The estimates, calculated with the help of Robert Willens, an accounting expert, and Stephen Breitstone, a tax lawyer, provide a view into precisely how.

My general reaction to this is: “So what?” Maybe even: “Good!”

Here’s the simple truth: the wealthy pay the overwhelming share of income taxes in this country. Here are the facts:

The top 1% of taxpayers pay a higher effective income-tax rate than any other group (around 23%, according to a report released by the Tax Policy Center in 2014) — nearly seven times higher than those in the bottom 50%.

So guess what? If you relieve that burden, who’s going to benefit? The wealthy.

And yet Big Media will always attack every single effort to cut taxes by pointing out that the cut benefits the wealthy. And they will never, ever point out the context I just gave you. True to form, the New York Times article I link here does not say a word about how much the rich pay.

Trump shouldn’t lie about it, of course. But he lies about everything.

I should add: Democrats like to pretend that soaking the rich will solve our deficit problem. That is a dirty lie. You can’t tax your way out of this problem. You could take 100% of what millionaires make — and assume that they wouldn’t stop working if you did (which of course they would) — and it wouldn’t come close to solving the deficit problem we have.

Nor does cutting discretionary spending come close to solving the problem.

The only solution is cutting entitlements. Which Trump has taken off the table. (And, to be honest, so has the voting public.)

This is why we’re headed for a crash. But lowering taxes isn’t going to change things much at all. So this handwringing over rich people — even Trump! — benefitting from tax cuts is horse feces. It’s nothing more than Big Media’s usual excuse for opposing every tax cut ever proposed.

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

Hillary Clinton And Michelle Obama Make A Burn Book Of Post-Election Blame

Filed under: General — Dana @ 2:44 pm

[guest post by Dana]

In a recent interview with Vox, Hillary Clinton unsurprisingly blamed the men in the lives of white women for influencing them to vote for a candidate other than her in the national election. In adopting this sexist thinking, she essentially accuses those disloyal to her as being unable to function independently of their men, and make a credible decision for themselves:

“All of a sudden, the husband turns to the wife, ‘I told you, she’s going to be in jail. You don’t wanna waste your vote.’ The boyfriend turns to the girlfriend and says, ‘She’s going to get locked up, don’t you hear? She’s going to get locked up,’” Clinton told Vox’s Ezra Klein on Tuesday. “Instead of saying, ‘I’m taking a chance, I’m going to vote,’ it didn’t work.”

And yet, by bucking the system of sisterhood, and *not* voting for Hillary, women did take a chance! The failed candidate’s comments clearly suggest that women are not capable of thinking independently apart from their men or the progressive women’s voting bloc. But, if they somehow manage to think for themselves, burn ’em! It never occurs to Clinton that perhaps, when all is said and done, women who didn’t vote for her simply didn’t find her worthy of their vote. Thus she remains bitterly ungracious and insufferably arrogant in defeat.

Clinton’s outrageous display of sexism, further demonstrated when she admitted that she had hoped gender would play a bigger role in influencing how women voted, truly reveals the dishonesty of the self-proclaimed champion of equality.

The stunning dismissal and denigration of women who dared to actually take a chance and vote for someone other than Clinton seems to be a common theme on the left, especially given that Michelle Obama has also come out and arrogantly denigrated women who did not vote for Hillary Clinton:

“Any woman who voted against Hillary Clinton voted against their own voice,” she said.

“What does it mean for us as women that we look at those two candidates, as women, and many of us said, that guy, he’s better for me, his voice is more true to me,” Obama said. “Well, to me that just says you don’t like your voice. You like the thing you’re told to like.”

Oh really, Mrs. Obama? Women should have listened to your voice, and Hillary Clinton’s voice over their own? Is that what you really believe? Because I don’t think so:

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Here are two very powerful and intelligent feminists of note, actually blaming fellow-women who dared to listen to their own voice, and voted for the candidate they felt earned their vote. Instead of applauding a demonstration of resistance, they are being woman-shamed by two sexist hypocrites. It’s an unattractive, mean-girl resentment that is revealed in this stubborn refusal to see and acknowledge that which most people readily acknowledge: Hillary Clinton was just a god-awful candidate.

Anyway, none of this is surprising, and it’s also not surprising that Hillary holds a grudge against women who betrayed her:

In her new memoir “What Happened,” Clinton recalls “more than two dozen women” coming up to her and apologizing for “not voting or not doing more to help my campaign.”

“When it first started happening, it was so soon after the election,” she said. “It was hard for me to comfort somebody who was coming to me and saying, ‘Oh, I wish I had done more,’ or, ‘I’m sorry I didn’t vote’ because I think this was one of the most consequential elections that we have faced in a long time.”

Further:

While a majority of women voted for Clinton, she failed to win a majority of white women — who voted instead for Trump. It is clear from the book that Clinton, whose campaign never missed an opportunity to remind voters that she would be the first female president if she won, was stung by this particular data point.

“These people were looking for absolution that I just couldn’t give,” she wrote. “We all have to live with the consequences of our decisions.”

Yes, yes we do, Hillary.

Also playing the wounded-Hillary-blame-game is Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. In an interview with Charlie Rose, she responded to his question about whether sexism played a part in the presidential election outcome:

Do I think so? I have no doubt that it did. There are so many things that might have been decisive. But that was a major, major factor.

Oh my God, just stop it. Stop blaming anything and everything apart from the candidate herself, and just be honest about the fact that the Democrats ran a horrible candidate. This effort to relieve Hillary Clinton of owning her loss has become painfully embarrassing.

Look, one thing that I’ve always believed is, if you criticized President Obama, it did not mean you were a racist. Like me, you could have cared less about his race but simply found his policies lacking, his dishonesty problematic and his tendency to rule by fiat troublesome. Likewise, if women voted against Hillary, that did not mean they weren’t listening to their own authentic voice, or that they were being influenced by their male partners. Those aren’t the only options. People didn’t like President Obama’s policies, and criticized him for it. A wide swath of women simply didn’t like or trust Hillary Clinton, and demonstrated it by not casting their vote for her. Both of those are viable and reasonable behaviors. (This does not negate the fact that there were some who criticized President Obama simply because he was black, and some women voted against Hillary Clinton because they were were influenced by their mates. But neither of these nullifies the flip-side of the equation.)

It goes without saying that this automatic, reflexive blame-game only reinforces a mean-girl mentality of self-consumption, dishonesty with oneself, and an unhealthy tendency to surround oneself by those willing to nurture the delusion. But those disloyal to the sisterhood go in Burn Book because their disloyalty must be recorded and remembered. They will not be forgiven. After all, it is this bitter, gender-victimization and blame that provides the fuel necessary to keep the progressive women’s Woe-Is-Me pyre burning brightly.

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(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

The Jones Act Should Be Repealed

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:00 am

President Trump’s waiver of the Jones Act for Puerto Rico puts a spotlight on an absurd law. It should not be necessary for presidents to issue ad hoc waivers on occasions when there are natural disasters. Instead, the Jones Act should be repealed outright.

I have written about the Jones Act before. The NPR program Planet Money, which is often quite good even though it is on NPR, told the following story about the Jones Act. From my 2014 post:

Here’s the story told in the episode. The state of New Jersey ran out of rock salt to melt ice and snow — which was a problem, because they were in the middle of a giant winter storm. But all was well: Maine had a mountain of rock salt. Even better, there was a giant ship in Maine that could easily transport 40,000 tons of rock salt in a single trip. Best of all, the ship was already on its way to Newark.

Problem solved, right?

Wrong. You see, using that particular ship was illegal.

Was the ship not seaworthy? Had the captain neglected to file necessary paperwork? Had the company that owned the ship failed to pay taxes?

No, none of that was the problem. The problem was: the ship was not made in America and did not fly an American flag. And under a law passed decades ago called the Jones Act (aka the Merchant Marine Act of 1920), any ship that carries material from one U.S. port to another must be made in America, staffed by an American crew, and must fly an American flag.

The law was passed, as laws like this often are, to protect American businessmen who couldn’t hack it in the marketplace. We wanted to keep a strong marine industry, so we hurt the consumer by passing protections for business. Thing is, it didn’t work out so well. The U.S. doesn’t build that many ships any more. (We barely build anything anymore.)

So it’s not like an equally capacious American-built ship was standing by to haul the rock salt to Newark.

No, instead everyone waited for a little barge to come to the dock. It was filled with rock salt to melt the New Jersey snow and ice. The barge then took off with its load of salt — leaving a mountain of it sitting on the dock. Because, you see, the 40,000 tons could not begin to fit on the small barge. So the barge took some salt down to Newark, dropped it off, went back to Maine, got another “fraction” of the mountain of salt, and went back to Jersey.

The reporter does not say how many trips were required to transport the whole load, but it’s clear it would be at least three.

Apparently President Obama did not “waive” the Jones Act then. Does a president have authority to do so? The New York Times says yes, in certain specified situations.

A waiver can be granted only if it is in the interest of national defense and only if there are enough United States vessels available to meet national defense needs. Shipping costs or humanitarian needs cannot be considered, officials say.

Previous waivers were granted during Irma and Harvey, and before that during Sandy, according to The Times.

Regardless of the legality of any one particular waiver, the Jones Act is just silly and deserves to be repealed in its entirety. As I explained in 2014, the inefficiencies happen all the time — not just during natural disasters:

This rock salt example is just one of many examples of inefficiencies and expense created by the Jones Act. If you miss your cruise ship in a U.S. port, you’ll have to pay a giant fee to catch it in another port. A cattle rancher in Hawaii seeking to avoid the extra expense of using American-made ships has gotten his cows to the U.S. mainland in two ways. Formerly, he shipped them to Canada so they could travel over the border to the U.S. Now, he sends the cows by plane when they are younger and weigh less.

Absurd, right? You bet. Economists hate the law. Yet the chances of repeal appear to be zero.

Government interventionism is, as a rule, a bad thing for the economy and for society. Unintended consequences invariably result from well-intentioned policies. Allowing the free market to work is the best solution — whether you’re talking about health care, shipping, food, electronics, or anything else.

People in Congress either don’t know this or don’t care. But the consequences are very real.

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]


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