I was taking stock of finances the other day and calculated that I have paid about $1500 less in taxes compared to this point last year. By the end of the year it could amount to a $2000 difference. I expect to earn within a few % either side of $100k this year.
$2000. Thanks GOP. It is difficult to say that this aspect of things is bad. However, I feel like media outlets like FOX aggressively seek to limit the conversation to this one single point. “The average American taxpayer is paying $x less in taxes! That’s good for you, end of story, end of discussion, nothing more to see here!” This thread is not intended to gripe about what I think of as “the GOP Propaganda Machine,” but I can’t ignore it in this conversation. Cherry picking is de riguer, from FOX, from GOP Congress critters, from seemingly everyone who promotes the GOP. Any attempt to examine the true bigger picture gets strenuously beaten back, deflected away from, labeled as “liberal” something-or-other- a whole toolbox of rhetorical techniques are deployed to distract attention away from deeper analysis of this one bullet point. This is my personal view, and if it is wrong I hope you will convince me otherwise.
Because, as much as I like to have an extra for-real $2000 to spend every year, I am terribly uneasy about the latest round of tax cuts. At a time of general national economic well-being, the country is amassing $1 trillion a year in debt. I don’t think this is a result of fairly comfortable people like me having $2000 in tax relief, I think it is largely due to people who make 10x or 100x or even 1000x more than I do, receiving much larger tax cuts as a share of their income. Why? I think it has nothing whatsoever to do with establishing justice, attending to the general welfare, achieving domestic tranquility- I think it is entirely because this claque of wealthy people donated to GOP candidates with instructions to cut taxes for the wealthy, regardless of the consequences. I think the will of the people has been subverted. I believe US government is not functioning as designed where this point is concerned- I believe it has been corrupted and captured by the wealthy for their own interests, to all of the rest of our eventual harm.
Point 1- The GOP lies bald facedly to justify the tax cuts. Steve Mnuchin said, “Not only will these tax cuts pay for themselves, they will reduce the debt.” This was obviously hogwash before the fact, and the results confirm this. What you never hear out of the GOP Propaganda Machine is that, for GOP officials to look the public in the eye and simply lie about such consequential matters is to say, “Fuck you, American public. We do Not represent you as is our sworn Constitutional duty, we are appendages of the wealthy and there is nothing you can do about it. Look elsewhere than your government if you want a voice.”
Point 2- The corporate tax cuts are overwhelmingly being used to fund stock buybacks and not to hire new workers or to generally grow businesses in a way that builds wealth for the public at large. Yes, there were some celebrated employee bonuses announced after the tax cuts, mostly one-time $1000 payouts, but how much do these bonuses amount to? The public is funding these tax cuts to the tune of $1 trillion a year, and the return on that in the form of increased pay and bonuses is- what? I don’t think it amounts to even 1% of the value of the tax cuts. My position is that the GOP Propaganda Machine would have us believe that the corporate tax cuts are being funnelled to workers to the benefit of all, when in reality it makes the ultra wealthy even wealthier while leaving the rest of us a few crumbs. I believe the true message out of the GOP is, " Fuck you, American public. We are openly robbing you to benefit our wealthy sponsors, and if you think you have a voice in your own government, you are a sucker and a rube."
Point 3- The consequences of the tax cuts will be far worse than the benefits for people like me. This final point is the real thrust of this debate. I cannot see how $1 trillion deficits are justified under the current circumstances. We are not in a crisis we need stimulating out of, but rather the general economic placidity is hiding, for now, the eventual consequences of this huge amassing of debt.
Me, I am 45 years old. If there is going to be a bear market or even a crash, my outlook is to just keep plugging away with my 401k anyway since by the time I retire, the current economic cycle will have come and gone and more or less won’t matter. If I were retiring Right Now, the stock market boost from these tax cuts would be a big help- anyone with stock investments is better off, for now. But how long can that last?
Consider- Baby Boomers are retiring, thousands a day. Selling their retirement accounts for cash puts downward pressure on the stock market. At the same time, increasing debt levels drive up interest rates, which also puts downward pressure on the market. When Treasury yields compete first with dividends, and eventually with growth returns, how can they fail to divert money away from stocks? I can’t see how Boomer retirement plus rising interest rates can eventually result in anything other than a bear market, at best.
I see it as a massive scheme. As the debt rises to $20 trillion, maybe $30 trillion and beyond, well, ask yourself, who has the money to buy $30 trillion in bonds? It isn’t me with my extra $2000 in tax cuts, it is the already super wealthy. As interest rates rise, the public obligation to bondholders will surpass $1 trillion PER YEAR in interest payments alone, payments from the public to mosly super wealthy bondholders.
>>>This is a long post, so let me repeat that. As interest rates rise, the public obligation to bondholders will surpass $1 trillion PER YEAR in interest payments alone, payments from the public to mostly super wealthy bondholders.
How will we endure an additional $1+ trillion in public liabilities? It is straight out of the GOP playbook: eliminate Social Security and Medicare. To fund massive public payments to the already super wealthy. And we come full-circle to my current $2000 tax cut. For $2000 a year, I believe I am going to be forced to forfeit benefits that far, far exceed that. Social Security alone amounts to close to $2000- a MONTH. Medicare? Who knows, but I do know that I will no longer have employer provided health insurance after I retire, and private insurance after Medicare is gone will cost a helluva lot more than $2000 per year. I won’t come out ahead- the consequences of these tax cuts will be a Huge liability.
Me, you, all of us are expected to be too stupid to notice. I believe the translation of the GOP tax cuts into English amounts to, “Fuck you, American public. We have captured your government, we have suppressed your voice, and soon we will be transferring your benefits to our wealthy benefactors. Because they paid us to. You are all too much of a crowd of rubes to do anything but swallow the lie and get robbed. Vote GOP, suckers.”