Whaaaaat? Republicans Personally Benefitted From Tax Cuts They Voted For? How Could That Be?!

Class War

Elizabeth Warren has said that one of her first priorities, should she become president, would be to pass legislation similar to the sweeping anti-corruption bill she introduced last year, which would prevent government officials from financially benefitting from laws they pass.

That would probably be a great disappointment to the many sitting lawmakers who really, really love passing laws that make them richer. Like, for instance, all of the Republicans who have personally benefitted from the tax breaks for rich people and corporations included in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act they passed.

A joint investigation by the Center for Public Integrity and Vox published on Friday found:

When the price of Apple stock hit a then-record high in October 2018, among the shareholders counting their gains were 43 Republicans in Congress, who collectively owned as much as $1.5 million worth of the tech giant's shares. Apple's stock jumped 37 percent in its run-up to that record. Several variables were behind the climb, including higher-than-expected earnings.

But congressional Republicans themselves had a hand in the spike, stock analysts say. Legislation they championed — the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act — doled out nearly $150 billion in corporate tax savings in 2018 alone. One effect: a big boost in stock prices.

Now, as you may recall, when these Republicans passed that bill, they pretended like the tax cuts were totally going to go to bonuses for employees of these companies. But, as always happens, the corporations used that money to enrich shareholders — shareholders that included 43 of the 47 Republicans responsible for drafting the law in the first place. It is likely that this made them hundreds of thousands of dollars richer.

Another provision in the bill benefitting real estate owners also made money for several of the Republicans who voted for it.

A stroke of the pen fixed that: Someone changed the law to allow real estate companies to use the value of their assets — in addition to the size of their payrolls — to calculate pass-through benefits. Because such companies can hold sizable assets, suddenly they, too, could offer the full 20 percent deduction to investors. [...]

One Republican senator who benefited from the last-minute provision was Tennessee's Bob Corker, who at the time owned or was a partner in 18 real estate businesses, LLCs, and partnerships, records show. His reported income from them was between $2.1 million and $11.1 million in 2017.

Oh man, it's so shocking, I can hardly believe it. Who ever would have guessed.

The thing is, this law didn't just make Republicans in Congress richer. The money for those tax breaks had to come from somewhere, and given all the cuts to social programs over the past few years — like cutting 700,000 Americans off of food stamps — they came from poor people.

[The Center for Public Integrity]

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Robyn Pennacchia

Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse


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