Looking after His Base?
By George Waring
Enough data has been collected to allow pollsters to tell us that White Evangelical Christians and White Catholics were the heart of Trump’s electoral base in 2016. His nomination of Kavanaugh to replace Kennedy on the Supreme Court indicates the White House political advisers know this. Kavanaugh appears to be the Justice that may cast the deciding vote to overturn Roe v. Wade.
How does Trump’s latest tax cut proposal serve to further solidify his popularity among these two all-important voting blocs? I ask that question given the fact that Trump’s first tax cut law did nothing to materially aid these groups. Unless, that is, unless these two groups may be characterized as extremely wealthy people. And that’s not the case. They are White middle class, a mixture of small business, wage workers, retirees, etc. Certainly, not many of them to be found among this nation’s richest one-tenth of the most affluent one percent of the population.
What is Trump’s latest tax cut proposal?
On July 31st, the New York Times editorial board characterized his proposal under the heading: ‘Trump’s Crony Capitalists Plot a New Heist.’ The board wrote: “The Treasury secretary floats a plan to hand $100 billion in capital gains tax savings to his moneyed friends. It’s almost certainly illegal.”
The proposal is the brain child of Trump’s Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin. You may remember him from his scandal plagued confirmation hearing, when the story of how he became a billionaire was revealed by David Dayen’s investigative reporting for The Intercept. Mnuchin had been an executive at Goldman Sachs, one of a number who were involved in a derivative dumping scheme that made his firm about $5 billion, leaving swindled buyers holding nothing but worthless mortgage investments. During his confirmation hearing, Senator Merkley of Oregon grilled him on that scheme and his forgetfulness. Mnuchin had forgotten to report $300 million in wealth hidden away from U.S. taxation in the Cayman Islands.
The Mnuchin/Trump brand new tax cut proposal offers, in the Times’ editorial board’s phrasing,”an exciting plan to award an additional $100 billion tax cut to the richest Americans.”
What’s exciting about Mnuchin’s plan is that it would allow Wall Street investors to benefit greatly from inflation. When these investors’ tax attorneys calculate their clients’ capital gains tax bill next year, they would no longer determine how much a stock had gained by subtracting its selling price from its original purchase price. Instead, the tax attorneys would, according to the Times’ board, “first adjust the purchase price to reflect what it would be in inflation-adjusted dollars.”
Yes, the Times’ folks admit, the Mnuchin proposal would benefit “middle-class Americans who own stocks, along with all those older Americans whose homes have appreciated in value over the decades. And, indeed, many middle-class Americans could wind up with a sliver of savings.”
But, and there is a big But! It turns out that in the United States “not all investors are equal.” According to “independent analyses,” write the editorial board, “a whopping 97 percent of the savings from Mr. Mnuchin’s plan would go to the highest 10 percent of income earners.” That leaves three percent of the tax savings to the bottom 90% of income earners. And, I really do believe Trump’s base of White Catholics and White Christian Evangelicals resides there. In the bottom.
Further, “independent analyses” reveals that two-thirds of all tax savings in the Mnuchin/Trump proposal goes to the wealthiest one-tenth of one percent of income earners. They would get $66 billion in tax savings next year.
The beauty of Mnuchin’s proposal is that it doesn’t need Congressional approval! Mnuchin maintains that the Treasury Department has the power to “unilaterally redefine the term ‘cost.’ That’s just a regulatory matter.
The Base needn’t ever learn their White Nationalist hero used his Executive Branch powers to further enrich himself and his family and his billionaire Cabinet at their expense. His Base rests oblivious, its Guardian protecting them from immigrants, Muslims and non-Whites.
In July, The American Prospect reported that, although Trump claimed his tax plan would “cost me a fortune,” that was a lie.
Even without his tax returns, it’s fact that Trump benefited from cuts to the top individual rate, the corporate rate, and the pass-through rate. The weakening of the estate tax meant at least $4 million. And new loopholes given real estate developers were “particularly beneficial to the president”