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President Goodbrain's Big Fat Tax Cuts for Rich Fuckwads bill was the only thing Republicans got done during Donald Trump's historic first year in office, and boy, were they ever gonna do wonderful things for the economy and make everyone prosperous forever! Just as long as by "everyone" you mean big corporations and the already rich. The rest of us got boned! A new analysis of the economic effects of the tax cut at Bloomberg found cuts to the corporate tax rate resulted in a lot of tax savings for businesses (and corresponding growth of the national debt), but very little improvement for the economy as a whole. Once adjusted for that flood of tax savings, the overall benefit was actually a bit lower than growth projections before the tax cut. But at least we'll be paying for that corporate tax cut binge forever!

Bloomberg banking columnist Stephen Gandel moneysplains the tax cuts were just AWESOME for big corporations, but kinda shitty for the ol' national bottom line:


In late 2017, soon before Congress passed the tax cut [...] the Joint Committee on Taxation estimated it would cost $1.4 trillion over 10 years. White House officials criticized that estimate as being too high. In fact, it wasn't nearly high enough. My current estimate, now that companies have completed 2018, is nearly $2 trillion, and that's just for the S&P; 500.

Those cuts were terrific for corporate profits, which jumped by 24 percent in 2018, but Gandel estimates roughly half that income growth "came not from an improvement in operations but from lower corporate tax bills" -- so hooray for profits. Say, Johnny, what do our viewers have to give the S&P; 500 thanks to Republican generosity? "S&P; 500 companies saved $144 billion, or $395 million a day, in taxes in 2018." Which, as others have pointed out, the companies mostly plowed into stock buybacks, pumping up their stock value and enriching investors, but not actually improving wages or adding jobs. Funny, there are only so many yachts and upgraded bizjets the filthy rich can blow money on!


Oh, sure, we handed corporations $600 billion more than the government's projections, but how about ALL THAT ECONOMIC BOOMINGNESS?

In October 2016, analysts estimated that the companies in the S&P; 500 would earn a collective $146.80 a share in 2018. Those earnings are now looking as if they will come in a good deal higher at $159.20 a share. That includes the tax cut, which lifted earnings by nearly $15.70 a share. Exclude the tax impact, and S&P; 500 companies actually earned less last year, $143.50 a share, than they were expected to before Trump was elected president. That suggests that the tax cut hasn't provided much income growth outside the actual tax savings.

And nah, the stock market as a whole isn't doing much better either, says Gandel, falling about $2.3 trillion short of what Gandel would expect from earnings since Trump took office plus the tax cut bump. Good growth, but not fantastic growth, and at least some of it due to Trump's market-unfriendly trade war and government shutdown. His conclusion, which you would probably never have expected based on the endless prosperity that previous tax cuts didn't create:

The tax cuts provided a short-term boost, but given how large the Trump Discount has swelled, it is harder and harder for investors to notice.

Well then! At least now that the debt will be much larger, Republicans will have an excellent excuse to go after Social Security and Medicare!

[Bloomberg]

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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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Ever since Ruth Bader Ginsburg successfully underwent surgery for lung cancer, conservative sites and message boards have been trafficking in a ridiculous theory that she is actually dead and that there is some kind of Weekend at Bernie's-esque conspiracy to pretend she is still alive.

Now, one would think that her recent public appearance at a concert held in her honor would have put this to rest. Alas, it did not. Rather, the "researchers" (as they hilariously call themselves) determined that the concert was actually her funeral.

No. Really. That was a thing.

I admit that I gave this a lot more thought than I should have. Like, how did they think this would go? How long did they imagine this would go on for? Why would they risk having a full on funeral concert, open to the press? Wouldn't they just have not bothered to have a funeral at all? And what did these people think was going to happen when it was announced that she died for real? Or did they think that we were going to pretend that she is immortal and thus never announce her death? It's so confusing!

Being very up to date on the "RBG is secretly dead!" nonsense, I was very curious about which way the "anons" would go with this when they announced her return to work on Friday. They did not disappoint!

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Yesterday afternoon, 45-year-old Gary Martin of Aurora, Illinois was let go from his job at the Henry Pratt Company, a factory that manufactures water valves. In response, he took out a pistol with a laser scope and began shooting at random. He killed five people and injured six others who were just trying to make it through the day at the water valve factory, and then the police killed him.

His mother said he was "stressed out." He "seemed fine" according to the clerk at the Circle K where he bought his cigars that morning. His neighbor thought he was a nice guy. Some people were surprised, others were not.

This kind of thing used to be shocking, but it's a story we're used to now. It gets repeated at least once a month. It's just what happens now, and we can't do anything about it because we can't do anything about gun control. This is, the Right has decided, just the price we all have to pay so they can stockpile guns for funsies, and take sexy pictures of guns shoved in their pants. This is the blood that waters their special tree of liberty.

It's fucking exhausting. And stupid. We shouldn't have to live this way. No one should have to live this way. But we do. Why? Because some day some yahoos might want to overthrow the government, which is (of course) a completely legal thing to do, and their "right" to do that must be protected. So it's literally just never, ever going to stop.

Gary Martin, like most other mass shooters, also had a history of violence against women. In 1994, in Mississippi, he was convicted for stabbing one. He should not have been able to get a gun after that. I would like to know how and why he was able to get that pistol with the laser scope that he killed five people with yesterday afternoon. Maybe someone gave it to him. Maybe he bought it somehow. Maybe someone forgot to do a background check. Maybe he bought it from someone who didn't have to do a background check.

I am so goddamned tired of writing this article. I am out of things to say.

UPDATE:

Martin apparently bought the gun after successfully applying for an Illinois state Firearms ID. That license was revoked after he applied for a concealed carry license and was rejected due to his prior felony conviction in Mississippi, but no one bothered to see if he still had a gun.

Via USA Today:

"During the fingerprinting and background process it was discovered that he had a felony conviction for aggravated assault out of Mississippi," [Police Chief Kristen] Ziman said. "It should be noted that this conviction would not have shown up on a criminal background check conducted for an FOID card."

That seems like it might be a problem, no?

It has also since been revealed that Martin had a domestic battery arrest in 2008 in Aurora.

[Sun-Times]

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