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A group of Republican senators led by Ted Cruz sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin yesterday asking the Trump administration to please please cut taxes on the very richest Americans one more time before the 2020 election. And to do it through an administrative rule change, because there's no chance in hell another tax cut for the rich could pass in Congress. Not that the letter actually said any of that; instead, the letter claimed the change to taxes on capital gains would help out "ordinary Americans," because all the ordinary Americans these assholes know have stocks, bonds, and other financial toys subject to the capital gains tax. (The one type of investment in stocks many Americans do have -- retirement funds like IRAs or 401Ks -- aren't subject to capital gains taxes at all.)


The letter calls for Mnuchin to put forward a new way to calculate the tax on capital gains, by adjusting the value of the initial investment for inflation. Here's the very folksy way the letter puts it, insisting this is all just a matter of fairness:

Imagine, for example, a taxpayer who purchased one share of Coca-Cola stock in 1998 for $32.38. If they sold the stock earlier this year at $48.13, they would have a nominal gain of $15.76 and be taxed $3.75. The inflation-adjusted basis in today's dollars, however, would be $50.50. That means the taxpayer would have to pay $3.75 in taxes on a $2.38 loss. Even when a taxpayer experiences a real gain, the effective capital gains rate can easily double the statutory rate passed by Congress.

Isn't that a shame? IT'S NOT FAIR!!! Except of course, capital gains taxes aren't paid by your mom on her one cherished share of Co'Cola (NYSE Stock symbol KO), which she probably has framed on the wall. Who would really benefit from all that indexing? The super-rich, of course! In a letter sent earlier in July, Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), and 12 other Democrats pointed out that as it is, over 70 percent of capital gains income goes to people with incomes over a million dollars, and indexing capital gains taxes to inflation would "amount to a $102 billion tax cut, 86 percent of which would flow to the top 1 percent of taxpayers."

So, you know, "ordinary Americans" like the biggest Republican donors.

The letter also claims, falsely, that the 2017 Tax Cuts for Rich Fuckwads have created boundless prosperity for all Americans -- especially those ordinary ones! -- but that a huge capital gains tax cut for the already rich is worth taking unprecedented unilateral action on, to "reduce impediments to economic growth."

This is where we remind you all that the power to set tax rates is entirely up to Congress, not the executive branch. But the Gang of 21 contends Mnuchin has the authority to pull an end run by just making up new regulations, even though previous administrations have rejected that tactic as illegal.

Among the great fiscal conservatives supporting the plan to reduce federal revenues was Rand Paul, who knows we can't afford healthcare for 9/11 first responders, but is fine with a tax cut, because those always pay for themselves even when they don't. There will be GROWTH! The economy will grow by FIVE! Five what? LOOK AT THAT UNGRATEFUL REFUGEE LADY!

Bloomberg News reports that

Mnuchin, so far, has been hesitant to making the change, which Trump's other top economic advisers support. National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow has championed the idea for years.

"Right now there's no commitment to getting it done or not getting it done," Mnuchin told Bloomberg News in an interview earlier this month. "It's a policy that has been under consideration and remains under consideration."

One of the rightwing lobbyists pushing for the rule change, Ryan Ellis, told Bloomberg Mnuchin and others think

having public support from Republicans in Congress would help make White House officials more comfortable with a unilateral move.

Wasn't it nice of Ted Cruz and the others to generously do their part, after spending eight years calling Barack Obama a traitor for subverting the will of Congress on when some parts of Obamacare would go into effect, and also one time, and this is real, the "founding fathers [were] rolling over in their graves" because there was a four dollar ANNUAL cell phone fee.

Also too, you may recall Ellis as the dude who was rightly mocked for admitting Republicans don't give two shits about "hardship stories" about government workers during the government shutdown, because "almost no federal employees vote Republican," and Republicans know it, so fuck 'em.

So Trump and some of his enablers in the Senate want to cut taxes for the very rich yet again, because then they can all talk about how much they're helping the ordinary Americans whose factories are closing. And whether it helps any of them win reelection, it will at the very least ensure they can loot the public till just that little bit more. In a just world, they'd be voted out of office for such shenanigans, but the beauty of being a Republican is that robbing taxpayers can be good for your career, even if you lose an election. Just be sure to grab all you can on the way out!

[Vanity Fair / Bloomberg News / Letter to Steven Mnuchin via Alan Rappeport on Twitter]

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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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