The Horrific Truth

The GOP’s tax “reform” bill has now been unveiled. Reform it isn’t.

I guess all sentient beings already knew what was coming…but Krugman’s accurate prediction distills its awfulness.

Republicans in Congress know perfectly well that Trump is utterly unfit for office and has been abusing his position for personal gain…

If they nonetheless circle the wagons around Trump… there will be one main reason: Trump offers their big opportunity to cut taxes for the very wealthy. Indeed, the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center estimates that almost 80 percent of the Trump tax cut would go to people with incomes over $1 million; these people would get an average cut of around $230,000 a year.

Now that Ryan and crew have unveiled the plan’s specifics, there is something for everyone to hate. According to Americans for Tax Fairness, the plan jeopardizes Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and public education; it repeals the Alternative Minimum Tax (which insures that rich people with write-offs pay at least something), slashes corporate taxes and vastly increases the deficit (whatever happened to those GOP “deficit hawks”?)

Talking Points Memo zeroed in on what it identified as the five most controversial provisions; although I agree their chosen provisions are horrible, there are arguably others that are even worse. (I’m particularly incensed by the utterly insane attack on environmentally-friendly provisions; the bill eliminates tax credits for electric vehicles, and raises taxes on clean energy.)

TPM points out that changes to the treatment of mortgage interest and property taxes will have a negative effect on the value–and sales price–of homes. Those of us who factored in these deductions when we bought a home will be selling them to people who won’t get those deductions–and won’t be willing to pay as much.

The bill eliminates a deduction for medical bills that currently only benefits very sick people with high medical costs. It will hit senior citizens and the critically ill, giving new meaning to “kick ’em when they’re down.” It will also eliminate deductions for contributions to  certain medical savings accounts, and the tax credit for companies that make drugs that treat extremely rare diseases. (Without that tax credit, even fewer pharmaceutical companies will bother…)

The enormous amount of student loan debt has been identified as a major drag on the economy, so the “reform” bill makes it worse, eliminating the deductibility of interest on those loans.

We will no longer be able to take a deduction for state and local income taxes. I’ll just leave that one here for you to ponder.

And in the “fine print,” our happy theocrats buried repeal of the  “Johnson Amendment”—the 50-year-old policy that churches lose their tax exempt status if they endorse candidates or engage in partisan politicking from the pulpit.

Repealing the Johnson Amendment isn’t the only culture war provision hidden in the dry language of tax policy. Welcome to “Fetal Personhood.”

Congressional Republicans are using their new tax plan for more than tax breaks for corporations and the rich. Their plan gives fetuses federal benefits in an apparent attempt to codify the view that life begins at fertilization—and to take another swipe at legal abortion.

Let me go on record as favoring a first-trimester abortion for this bill, which was conceived through incestuous relations between America’s plutocrats and their legislative prostitutes.


  1. Krugman assumption that the Congress understands the President out for personal gain and their silence says it all.

    It is all of Congress that is silence in this mess.

    This will not stand.

  2. While I seriously doubt that this tax bill can get passed, I must admit that it gives to the Trump voters exactly what they deserve. Those who donated the most money will get to keep the most money… those who only had their vote to give, gave it to hate, intolerance, greed and religiosity and are already getting it back in spades.

    As for giving fetuses federal benefits, why stop there? Don’t those fools in Washington know that “every sperm is sacred”?

  3. “Let me go on record as favoring a first-trimester abortion for this bill, which was conceived through incestuous relations between America’s plutocrats and their legislative prostitutes.”

    Would that we could abort this conception before it reaches late-term abortion status and gets truly ugly; and this current situation can only get worse. Congress has turned our democracy into a monarchy by Republicans in Congress ejecting any and all Democrats from decision-making in both House and Senate. An oversight by the founding fathers who wrote the Bill of Rights and the Constitution of the United States of America; not being prophetic regarding the possibility of the evil they have allowed to overtake their dreams and rational blueprint for America.

    “When in the Course of human Events, it become necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the Separation.”

    They could not foresee a time when we would be impelled to seek separation from within our own government to save the nation from disastrous failure due to the total lack of “…a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind…” Trump’s tax bill is but a part of “The Horrific Truth” and that lack of respect ruling this country and setting us up to either implode or become the target of nuclear attack.

    Jeff Sessions; the poster boy for the White Nationalists, will be in Indianapolis on Monday to speak to the head of the Ten Point Coalition, our highly successful Black organization fighting crime in our worst areas. To be a fly on the wall during that meeting would be well worth the price of tickets; there can be no positive outcome from this meeting due to the lack of respect for all humanity by Sessions. I can only ask, “Why?” Pence must be at the core of this decision; he didn’t have the balls, the intelligence or the respect to speak with Rev. Harrison when he was governor. Wonder if he has told Session exactly who Rev. Harrison is, what his organization has accomplished and where Barns United Methodist Church is located in this city. I will rely on the words of Rev. Harrison regarding any outcome from this ill-advised meeting.

  4. So, you can get a tax break for saving for the education of an unborn fetus, but not for “too much” medical care for grandma and grandpa?

  5. While I agree with many of the criticisms, the AMT hammers people who are not “rich”. The AMT hits the folks or businesses who make $250K and sometimes lower. I know people who have paid a much higher effective tax rate (25-26%) than married couples (such as the Obama’s, who released their taxes) with twice as much income and a higher effective rate than those with millions of dollars in income. The AMT needs repeal or modifications.

  6. The blarney coming out of Washington justifies this atrocity by saying that it reduces taxes on the Middle Class. But what it doesn’t say is that they define the Middle Class as those making $450,000 a year. That is where the top tax bracket starts.

    I guess because I am on Social Security and Medicare, I am “on the dole.” so I don’t rate any consideration.

  7. Shelia,

    “Congressional Republicans are using their new tax plan for more than tax breaks for corporations and the rich. Their plan gives fetuses federal benefits in an apparent attempt to codify the view that life begins at fertilization—and to take another swipe at legal abortion.”

    Forgive my criticism, but it would be more accurate to say WHITE “ARYAN” FETUSES. This is only a prelude to RACIAL WARFARE. The only thing left is the truth.

    The African-American community is not blind, they aren’t going to give any credence to the Democratic Party, which is still controlled by the TRIANGULATION policies of the old DEMOCRATIC LEADERSHIP COUNCIL (DLC) which was led by the racist, Robert Strauss, and accepted in total by Bill Clinton and continued through his faithful wife, Hillary, and her supporters.

    BRAVO! to the African-American community. It is encouraging to see that not everyone in America supports SUICIDE.

  8. Pat; how could you miss their “consideration” for those of us “on the dole”!

    “…the plan jeopardizes Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid …”

  9. Fetal personhood would not only eliminate abortion rights, it would also make pregnancy a condition totally controlled by the state: anything a pregnant woman might do that could endanger the fetus could lead to a charge of attempted murder. These Republicans really are awful human beings.

  10. I won’t even begin to comment on this because I most likely couldn’t stop myself, so I will be content to read the comments from others.

  11. Thanks for elucidating this social bloodbath from the whores of corporate/banking America. Trump is truly evil, but lacks the aplomb to write such a terrible bill and budget. It takes the ultimate demon in Congress, Paul Ryan to come up with this cruel and disgusting “plan” and having the incredible audacity to call it tax reform.

    This budget is pure Ayn Rand and undercuts all the people who have worked hard to make the rich richer. It is beyond disgust. It is the fulfillment of Karl Marx’s prophecies about capitalism destroying itself. Throwing good people under the bus of greed is what Republicans have been doing since Lincoln was shot.

    Their feelings of empowerment are false and dependent on the existence of a real psychopath. BUT, if the Democrats don’t stop peeing on each other’s boots, we’ll never be able to save this country and its democracy from the wicked, vicious and cruel clutches of the fascists of the Republican party.

  12. The MORAL Miracle:

    “We MISS the significance of WHAT IS HAPPENING unless we realize the importance of distinguishing between two distinct orders of events: those happening in the VISIBLE and EXTERNAL world, the actual fall of nations, destruction of states, and the DOMINATION of the vast majority of mankind by a relatively SMALL MINORITY between events of that order and those happening in the MINDS OF MEN. In this latter sphere, we face above all a MIRACLE OF BLINDNESS. It behooves us therefore not merely to face the facts of yesterday’s FOLLY but inquire how it came about that we did not see it to be folly. We are confronted by two miracles, not one: one of a MATERIAL and another of MORAL order. It is the latter which explains the former. Yet it is our MENTAL LAPSE which we overlook.”

    “Let the People Know” by Norman Angell [past winner of the Nobel Peace Prize] (The Viking Press, New York, 1943) pp. 57-58

    I have repeated the above, CASANDRA LIKE WARNING, at least once before. Understanding this is the ony way we can STOP being “screwed” again and again by Trump/Pence/Bannon.

  13. I agree with Vernon. The Democrats need to quit infighting, construct a platform based on reason and concern for the common good, and learn how to get their ideas across. Forget trying to sway people who voted for Trump–they are ISIS-like in their devotion to their Messiah and his congressional disciples, and are incapable of reason, empathy, compassion or concern for the common good. Absolute power is what they desire, and that requires destroying what is left of the nation’s principles. The Democrats need a strong leader who is not afraid to stand up to these psychopaths and call their actions what they are—totally reprehensible. Then the voters need to turn them out.


    Tax bills like this discussed here do not spring from the darkness of swamp-soaked republican souls reeking of greed. Policies that benefit the rich come from the wrong side of the philosophy of power–THE IDEA THAT A NATION’S STRENGTH DERIVES FROM THE DOMINANT RICHES OF ITS WEALTHY CLASS.

    Others who believe the opposing philosophy–THAT A NATION’S STRENGTH COMES FROM THE WEALTH OF ITS MIDDLE CLASS–cannot win the skirmishes and battles of everyday policy-making without FIRST successfully attacking the philosophy (the heavy industry) of those enemies who brandish the strength-from-wealth arguments(the munitions).

    Too many of today’s democratic party, at the heart of their being and outside their conscious awareness, cannot shake their brainwashed faith in STRENGTH FROM WEALTH; consequently, they make weak Paladins for STRENGTH DERIVED FROM THE MIDDLE CLASS.

    No war–of missile or message–can be won by fighting the wrong enemy. And no war can be won without the purging of those on your side who are not on your side.

  15. One of the strategies of the Trump Reich is, as Russia did, to sow discord. Russia between classes and races, Trumpians among Democrats. That’s the Bernie Sanders back story and it’s working.

    It used to be that politicians courted the donor class to get their financial support for buying votes through advertising in order to get elected and be given power to pay back the donors. It’s different now. Many legislators are the donor class now. Advertising has morphed into propaganda. More Americans seem less likely or willing to think for themselves and instead tune in to be issued their opinions and receive a free complement in the process like my dog does.

    Do we still deserve democracy and freedom? Are we earning it?

  16. It sounds like the Republican congress thinks The Handmaid’s Tale is a non-fiction how-to guide.

  17. On the subject of books, I would strongly recommend at this crucial moment in time:

    “Coup d’ Etat: A Practical Handbook” by Edward Luttwak [at the time of publication Arleigh Burke Chair at the Center of Strategic and International Studies, Washington, D.C. (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1967) p. 58-59.

    “[Hypothetically] Though we try to avoid all conflict with the ‘political’ forces, some of them will certainly oppose a COUP. But this opposition will largely subside when we have substituted a new STATUS QUO for the old one, and can enforce it by our control of the state bureaucracy and security forces. This period of transition, which comes after we have emerged out in the open and before we are vested with the authority of the state, is the most crucial phase of the COUP. We shall then be carrying out the dual task of imposing our control on the machinery of state, while at the same time using it to impose our control on the country at large. Any resistance to the coup in the one will stimulate resistance in the other and if a chain reaction develops the COUP COULD BE DEFEATED.”

    “Our strategy, therefore, must be guided by two principal considerations: the need for MAXIMUM SPEED in the TRANSITIONAL PHASE [this is the phase we are now witnessing almost daily]and the need to neutralize fully the forces which could oppose us before and immediately after the coup. If, in the operational phase of the COUP, we are in any stage delayed, then our ESSENTIAL WEAKNESS will emerge: we shall probably acquire a definite political coloration, and this in turn will lead to a concentration of those forces which oppose the tendency we represent (or thought to represent). As long as the execution of the coup is RAPID, and we cloaked in anonymity, no particular political faction will have either a motive or an opportunity, to oppose us. After all, we could be there [Republican Party] political allies. In any case, a delay will lose us our principal advantage: THE VOLUNTARY NEUTRALITY OF THOSE FORCES WHICH NEED TIME TO CONCENTRATE AND DEPLOY FOR ACTION.”

    Does our dire political situation need to be explained any clearer? I don’t believe it can be.

  18. Sheila,

    “The Horrific Truth”

    The $64,000 question is: Will COGNITIVE DISSONANCE prevent us from facing “The Horrific Truth?” Based on our past performance in the U.S., it probably will. The truth has been out there for over 50 years.

  19. working class again getting kicked to the curb. seems the dems have a new bag of cats,hilary floated her campagin thru money up front,tom perez is still DNC chair? didnt someoen say no to wall street yet? we are on the verge of losing a mass amount of money,from the working class pockets again.. I wrote a letter the mr perez yesterday,final thought,and maybe some chain and collar tugs are needed, flat out,,,,,if we just witnessed the russians decive us,as they have their counrty for a century,thru rhetoric,and news and comments to move the people to act on emotion, damn sure wall street has been doing this for 40 years,,,and with republican overall support..after seeing how russian trolls jerked the chain on unwitting americans to hold trump rallies after the fact,and make a even bigger mockery of how they conceived and deployed mind games,by organizations that never existed,(trolls)after trumps win..we have today,,, journalism,the first lines of written history,,, get some education,and get some mentoring going on,even the people are ignorant of basic principles of democracy, we need another stand,and its against these mind games by trolls,and money…wake up.

  20. Mike,

    “…get some education, and get some mentoring going on, even the people are ignorant of basic principles of democracy, we need another stand, and its against these mind games by trolls, and money…wake up.”

    Thanks for a wake-up call. The big problem is not them, it is US. Like you said, we’re not standing up. Consequently, we’re ALL losing our future. It takes much more than top journalists, like Paul Krugman, or the Democratic Party to stem this TSUNAMI WAVE OF HATRED.

    You can’t stop a NATURAL tsunami, however, I strongly suggest, you can stop a MAN MADE tsunami.

  21. Let’s not overlook the reduction in the corporate tax rate. The nominal rate is among the highest in the world but the effective rate, because of all the loopholes, is among the lowest. Any real “tax reform” would have addressed this issue.

    The whole proposal is appalling!

  22. I agree that we need “tax reform” but that is not descriptive of the “tax giveaway” bill Ryan and his fellow Randists are trying to poke down our throats, made even worse with a generous sprinkling of social proposals designed to get social conservatives to support the “tax reform” bill, like, what the heck are abortion and churches and other such social engineering clauses doing in a tax bill? I would even agree with ridding ourselves of the AMT if such atrocities as “carried interest” and all other such gifts to the rich (see hedge and equity funds exemptions and redefinitions of ordinary income and corporate buybacks of stock etc) were removed or regulated pursuant to the public interest. I want tax reform, too, but not the Rand variety.

    The noise we hear in ads on TV from “committees” bought and paid for by libertarians like the Kochs and Mercers about reduction of corporate taxes is phony – the average effective rate paid by corporations is far beneath the present topper of some 39 percent and many Subchapter S corporations pay no tax at all with their pass through provisions. At base, and truth be told, the superrich are essentially trying to sell us on the old and discredited “trickledown” theory, you know, give the rich more money and the poor will prosper. Arithmetic and history, anyone?

    I could write on the horrid details of this bill forever but will end it here for lack of space and time. Krugman and Sheila are correct in their criticism of this monstrosity in the making, and it occurs to me that Ryan and his Randists have deliberately overshot the mark to leave themselves room to go for amendments, like, O.K., we will agree to take carried interest out of the bill in exchange for a reduction of the corporate tax rate, or fetuses to term or churches free to make political statements while maintaining their tax-free status or whatever Ryan & Co. may judge to keep their social conservatives in tow as a blow to Roe or tax-supported political rants from the pulpit or whatever.

    As for Trump the clueless wonder, he doesn’t know or care what is in the bill – he just wants “a win,” especially if such a “win” would add to his coffers. Parenthetically, he is going to the Orient as I write this, and as I have noted elsewhere, I hope that in case he is indicted while gone that he is in a country with whom we have an extradition treaty so that he can be arrested and extradited back here for his bond hearing lest he holes up in some Russian or other embassy somewhere, as others have in order to beat the extradition rap. Far out, Gerald? Negative – how can you get too far out with this Trumpnut?

  23. “The enormous amount of student loan debt has been identified as a major drag on the economy, so the “reform” bill makes it worse, eliminating the deductibility of interest on those loans.”

    Yes,the efforts of the Republicans is absolutely awful. And,it’s not just student debt that is dragging the economy,but medical debt as well. However,when we will be asked to support Joe Biden,Let’s keep in mind the pivotal role Joe Biden played when the bankruptcy bill was passed.

    An excerpt:

    The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (BAPCPA) was passed in April, 2005 by the U.S. Senate in a 74-25 vote, including the “yea” vote of Joe Biden, and was quickly signed by President Bush.
    (Hillary Clinton skipped the vote. She did vote “yea” on the unsuccessful 2001 bill, although she later claimed to regret the vote, and explained that she had traded her support in order to make sure that alimony and child support payments weren’t compromised by the new law. More on that later.)


  24. Thank you Marv. Anything by Luttwak is worth reading or listening too. His book is one that I must have missed since I’ve read virtually everything he’s written. Brilliant guy!!! It’s pretty obvious that he nailed what is happening to US 50 years ago!!!

  25. Gerald,

    And the assertion that the massive corporate tax rate cuts will result in higher wages for workers is another absurdity you can add to your list.

  26. While Trump goes to Hawaii to continue his never-ending search for Obama’s birth certificate, then on to Asia to meet with his BFF Putin, Paul Ryan gives thanks that the president is leaving so he (Ryan) can get some work done. Unfortunately for Americans, the work he is about involves enriching the rich and further impoverishing the already poor. Although several points above Trump in his I.Q., Ryan is as morally bankrupt as the real estate mogul he adores and will happily discard any value, such as hawkishness on deficits, as long as it makes him look slightly less goofy.

    Our challenge is, as it has always been, to raise the uninformed to an awareness level at which they can identify their own self-interest and stop voting to self-destruct. Perhaps we could begin the effort by sending Betsy DeVos to Saturn, re-establishing the value of an education as a positive achievement, and then give lifetime free pizzas to people who read at least three non-fiction books every year. That could work at least as well as partisan politics – maybe better.

  27. Terry,

    You need to read some of George Lakoff’s books about the mind framing of politics. Start with “Don’t Think of an Elephant”. True believers, like those who are mindless followers of Trump and Republicanism, will NOT change for any amount of logic. In fact, for every particle of opposing logic to their memes, they become more entrenched in them. They are the 30%-35% who would indeed not worry about Trump shooting somebody on 5th Avenue. Their minds are locked up with ideology; it’s the only thing that keeps them whole…in their own minds. Pathetic.

  28. Tom,

    “Thank you Marv. Anything by Luttwak is worth reading or listening too. His book is one that I must have missed since I’ve read virtually everything he’s written. Brilliant guy!!! It’s pretty obvious that he nailed what is happening to US 50 years ago!!!”

    He nailed it, like you said. Einstein saw it, Angell saw it, and Luttwak saw it coming. It’s a TAKEOVER. It’s as simple as that.

    The biggest problem is admitting to what is happening. It’s clear as night and day right now. But as Luttwak pointed out, TIMING is the crucial variable.

    In our essay, “Democracide: The Far Right’s Path to Power” written 25 years ago, at, we ended it with the following statement from Hermann Rauschning who, for a time, was a part of the inner circle surrounding Adolph Hitler:

    “History shows that “freedom can be preserved in the face of a continuing process only up to a certain point. Beyond that point one inevitably becomes the slave of events. The logic of the process takes charge, upsetting all independent plans and calculations.”

    Luttwak must have read: “The Revolution of Nihilism” and The Redemption of Democracy” both by Hermann Rauschning. The Germans were witnessing similar machinations by the Nazis in the 30’s that we are now witnessing by Trump/Pence/Bannon and, disgustingly, being seconded by the vast majority of the Republican Party.

    Unfortunately, history is not on our side. In most cases, Casandra warnings of pending catastrophes have not been heeded.

    From my vantage point, it looks like history is again repeating itself. What a HORRIFIC SHAME.

  29. I totally agree with you Marv. I spent a lot of time reading what you’ve mentioned 30 years ago but, probably like everyone else, no one thought it could really happen here since our hold on democratic norms seemed so solid and our focus was, unfortunately, on everyone else. I’ve been calling this a “slow walking coup d’ etat” for a few years now but it’s no longer slow walking.

    Regardless of how this all shakes out we still have a military that is sworn to follow the Constitution and protect us, not any one particular figure. I just hope that holds since the military, as you no doubt know, is only a microcosm of our larger American society. I key this because acts of civil disobedience akin to those in the 1960’s over civil rights and the Vietnam War may become necessary since the Senate and Congress, as well as many local governmental officials are bought and paid for be that Unified Republican Government. The question will be how hard will they try to hang on to power and Trump’s failings, which are clearly obvious and should be seen by them all now, grow even worse.

    Any way one looks at it it’s going to be a rocky road for all of us and I key that hoping that no even greater overt foreign intervention occurs that hinders our collective response to all of this.

  30. What is interesting is the Republicans have based their reasoning for a tax cut to stimulate the economy. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is at historical highs and Unemployment in Sept 2017 per the Labor Department is at 4.2%. You might conclude based on these indexes there would be no need for a tax cut. The latest selling point from the party of Ayn Rand is that by giving a tax cut, to the corporations and our own oligarchs they will be able to increase wages. Allow me to say HA-HA-HA, when is the last time Republicans were worried about wage inequality??

    The Corporate Establishment Democratic types are basing their hopes on Robert Mueller. “Since Obama’s victory in 2008, the Democratic Party has lost control of both houses of Congress and more than 1,000 state legislative seats. The GOP now controls the governorship as well as the entire legislature in 26 states, while Democrats exercise such control in only six states…. Despite this Democratic decline, bold proposals with the national party’s imprint are scarce.”

    We have learned just this week from Donna Brazile and now comments from Elizabeth Warren and Congressman Keith Ellison, the Democratic Primary was rigged.

    As William wrote earlier – “However, when we will be asked to support Joe Biden” – It happened, the always reliable mouth piece for Corporate Democrats – Chris Matthews of MSNBC mentioned it a couple of months ago.

  31. Tom,

    It doesn’t look good. I believe we need help from the outside world. We haven’t admitted to how deep our RACISM in America goes. It’s behind much of the resistance from our acquaintances that we have all been documenting. In documents that have just been made public, it appears the Nazis rejected some our racial policies in the beginning of their movement because they were too severe.

    Over ten years ago, I made a special trip to New York to witness the off- Broadway play, “Conversations with a Kleagle” and to meet with the plays creator Rudy Gray an African-American professor at NYU. My hunch was right. I knew there was something in the play that was significant. Something that was going on I didn’t understand and Rudy did….The rising RACISM against African-Americans was coming from sub-surface ANTI-SEMITISM.

    A line espoused by the Klan leader in the play said it all, “Our biggest problem is with those NIGGER-LOVE’N JEWS.” So hating Jews also carries another message…..hating African-Americans. With the vehement anti-Semitism in America being mostly sub-surface and masked up to now by the Religious Right, both the hatred of Jews and also African-Americans is much greater than what is seen on the surface.

    Multiple hatreds of Jews, African-Americans, along with other MINORITY hatreds are coming together like a perfect storm.

    Donald Trump started his campaign and ended it on an anti-Semitic note. Other than his veiled racism against Barack Obama, he pretty much stayed away from overt racism toward African-Americans. Now, we see the outrage in the African-American community especially as we have seen recently in the NFL. Trump didn’t have to attack the African-American community directly; His anti-Semitism was effective enough.

  32. Tom,

    “Any way one looks at it it’s going to be a rocky road for all of us and I key that hoping that no even greater overt foreign intervention occurs that hinders our collective response to all of this.”


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