First off, consider the proposal to eliminate the federal estate tax. Most people are conditioned to cheer when they hear that any tax is going to be abolished. That’s in the nature of the “death and taxes” truism on account of most people feeling they’d just as soon as avoid both, by any means possible. If you told a roomful of unrelated individuals that a tax on vegetables was being stricken more than half, probably, would consider going Vegan.
There are those of modest means who hate the estate tax because they fear their widowed mother’s paltry estate, once she goes, is going to be taxed so heavily that they’ll be lucky to buy a six-pack of Bud after the feds get their greedy hands on the corpus. The widow worries, too, that all she’ll be leaving behind is an ill-tempered tabby and a twenty. No matter that only people with millions and millions of dollars need worry about their estates.
There are some crumbs for the little guys in the plan, kinda-sort of, but look at it this way. Is it, entirely, fair that for every dollar a workingman will save in taxes a richer man will save thousands? When Marie Antoinette said of the starving Parisians, “Let them eat cake,” she wasn’t being flip; she was being economical. Flour, sugar and water cost less than pheasant roulade. It’s no surprise, then, that Donald Trump’s pastry chef just baked one whale of a cake for the country. Pretty soon, we’ll see if the kitchen added the right amount of sugar, but it’s unlikely if the past is any indication.
The trillions the tax plan will cost, over ten years, once corporate taxes are kicked downstairs, too, will be made up, lore goes, by non-specific, unquantifiable, increases in general economic well-being. The stock market believes this, for obvious reasons, especially, since it’s already a time of historic profits. Another roll with Trump and Goldman-Sachs clique may look like a good bet for Wall Street but the risk is that there will be no trickle down (is there ever) just a whirlpool into which the proverbial everyman gets sucked even deeper. The caveat is that trust is slow to build and quick to lose.
Americans are suckers for robber barons. We love them. The names Vanderbilt, Gould, Huntington, Getty, Morgan, Rockefeller, and Fisk are revered. Robber barons built America using laissez-faire capitalism. They didn’t invent the concept but deified it, along with physiocracy, that is, the notion that the earth is ours to plunder.
It isn’t like there wasn’t cross-talk before Trump’s tax deal memo appeared, Abra Kadabra. It was reported that In return for Democrat support of Trump’s Great Wall of America, complete with bike paths, a buck-for-a-buck trade between the Wall and funding for next year’s Obamacare was floated. It didn’t play out but it’s salient that the administration proposed to deny people health care unless it got to build something no one who lives there wants. Fiscal experts say the wall won’t meet a cost versus benefit analysis since illegal border apprehensions are way down, already. If it comes to a contest between bricks and drones is the winner even in doubt? Real security looks down, not up. It’s the advantage of high ground.
The threat to withhold health care from those who need it most in the pursuit of a political objective is not dissimilar to the administration’s promise to revoke financial support for police in jurisdictions that don’t facilitate federal immigration deportation efforts. Let’s get this straight, too. Trump is threatening to make our cities more dangerous unless we divert local police resources to his goal of kicking millions out of the country. The public loses either way. It will spend more money to assist federal law enforcement or it will lose federal money that supports vital services. The net of this net is less than zero. Figures.