Donald Trump went to Indianapolis Wednesday to lie and lie about his administration's tax "plan," which is still mostly a wish list to help rich people get richer. While he was at it, he also demonstrated, once again, that he has no idea how math works. Before leaving for the trip, and during the speech, Trump insisted that just as soon as a key Republican senator is feeling better, there will be enough votes to pass the Graham-Cassidy Obamacare repeal the Senate actually gave up on after three Rs said they would vote against it. (Again.)

In a press gaggle before the trip Wednesday, Trump said about nine times that Graham-Cassidy would pass, but Republicans are still rounding up the votes and bending time and space:

"We have the votes for healthcare. We have one senator that's in the hospital. He can't vote because he’s in the hospital," he said. "We have two other votes that are coming, and we will have them. But the problem is we can't have them by Friday -- because the reconciliation ends on Friday. So we’ll have to do it in January or February. But I feel we have the votes."

Turns out that was Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi, who tweeted that he's actually not in the hospital anymore (his office explained he was recovering from a "urological issue"), but politely refrained from saying that if he were in Washington, he would not be able to make 52 minus 3 equal anything other than 49:

Trump was really excited about the prospect of winning on Graham-Cassidy, so he returned to the theme at the beginning of his speech in Indianapolis:

"We have the votes on Graham-Cassidy," he said. "We have a wonderful senator, great, great senator who is a yes vote, but he's home recovering from a pretty tough situation."

Strangely, Trump appeared to be reading that off the teleprompter, so apparently he has a speechwriter who can't math, either. Or maybe Trump was thinking of the kind of victory he had on an earlier Senate healthcare tally, when four GOP senators came out against the bill:

“Essentially the vote would have been pretty close too, if you look at it: 48 to 4,” said Trump, referring to the Republican side only. “That’s a pretty impressive vote by any standard.”

In fact, if you add the 48 Republican votes from that July tally and the 49 Republican votes for Graham-Cassidy, then you've got a filibuster-proof 97 votes next time!

The rest of Trump's tax speech was similarly full of alternative minimum facts, like the claim that when Mike Pence was Indiana's governor, he "signed the largest income tax cut in the state's history," which sounds awfully impressive until you see that Pence's record-breaking tax cut took the state income tax rate from 3.4 percent to 3.23 percent, resulting in a whopping tax savings of about $85 a year for middle-income earners. But the only other income tax cut before that was a tenth of a percent cut in the 1970s, so Pence's tax cut was definitely bigger, and now everyone in Indiana is simply rolling around in about 85 bucks.

The real bullshit in the speech, as you'd expect, involved measures to help the extremely rich, if you can imagine such a thing. Trump lied about the number of people subject to the estate tax, just like all Republicans lie about the estate tax. This time out, the lie took the form of a large and moving whopper:

To protect millions of small businesses and the American farmer, we are finally ending the crushing, the horrible, the unfair estate tax, or as it is often referred to, the death tax.

Millions of small businesses and farmers, huh? Maybe if you stretch that out over a millenium or so, given that the estate tax only applied to around 5,500 estates in 2017, and only kicks in for couples whose estates amount to over $11 million. The estate tax applies almost exclusively to very, very, very wealthy folks, like, say, Donald Trump (even if he's not really a billionaire) and his cabinet. Sez WaPo:

Only 80 -- that’s right, 80 -- of taxable estates would be farms and small businesses.

Or maybe Trump has simply come unstuck in time again -- way back in 1977, before Frank Luntz taught the GOP to call it the "death tax" as an excuse to start cutting it wildly, 139,000 estates were subject to estate tax. Oddly, that's one thing from the good old days Trump doesn't want to bring back.

And then there was the One Hogwash to Rule Them All, when Trump said with a perfectly straight face, "I’m doing the right thing and it’s not good for me, believe me."

We already went over that when the plan came out on paper (9 whole pages with very wide margins and big fonts): Trump and his family will make out like bandits. (The one leaked tax return of Trump's we've seen shows he'd save $31 million in taxes just that year by eliminating the only thing that made him pay anything: the AMT.) How accustomed have Trump's audiences gotten to his lying about making himself richer? The line barely got any applause.

Still, we have no doubt that in his head, where math works very differently from the real world, Trump is certain that since his tax rate on paper isn't zero, he's still going to be paying too much in taxes.

[WaPo / ABC News / Chicago Tribune]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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