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by Kathy Crest:

With just four weeks left in 2017 and three weeks before congress recesses, President Trump is running out of time if he wants to realize a win this year. The repeal of Obamacare failed miserably thanks to Republicans who were unwilling to work with Trump. Their selfish behavior has proven to Americans what they have suspected for quite some time, that many of our top Republicans are nothing more than Democrats in disguise.

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Republicans have campaigned on tax reform for years, and now that they have control of the House, Senate and presidency, one would think the bill, known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, would pass with ease. The bill has passed through the House but now goes to the Senate where it faces more opposition. There are more than just a few Republicans who have concerns over certain aspects of the bill, and they have not yet offered their full support. Republicans can only afford two “NO” votes, or hope for a few Democrats to change their mind. Steve Daines, of Montana, is one such Republican Senator but told Fox News Tuesday that he’s had “very constructive and positive conversations” with President Trump and others in the administration who have had a hand in overhauling the nation’s tax process. Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin also spoke to Fox News and said that he had not been a big supporter of the bill, but after meeting with Trump and others connected to it was reassured that his concerns would be addressed in the final bill. Senator Susan Collins has been anti-Trump all the way so a “YES” vote from her is not likely. Senator Bob Corcoran of Tennessee still has not made up his mind. He is concerned how the tax bill will effect the deficit and wants to see a provision for taxes to be increased should the deficit grow. Senator Jeff Flake, like Susan Collins, has been opposed to Trump’s agenda and has decided against running for re-election. He has not made it public how he will vote. Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma also has concerns about the deficit and although he is a supporter of tax reform, he “just wants to see it done right”. Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas said, “Can we find taxes to cut that grow the economy? We don’t want to increase the debt and deficit as a result of tax cuts. My goal is to find out which taxes you cut can actually help create more jobs, better jobs, higher-paying jobs … and which ones don’t do that. Not all of them do that.” Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, has not decided if she will support the bill but could be swayed if it comes with a provision that would allow drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, something that she’s long pushed for. Senator Rubio would like to see a bill that offers an expansion of the child tax credit and wants to make “it fully refundable against payroll taxes.” He’s looking for one that implements two components: a proposal that will make the U.S. “more competitive” and “take care of workers.” John McCain is also one that has never offered any support to Donald Trump, and received much backlash for his reluctance to vote for the repeal and replace of Obamacare. He likely will not vote for the tax bill.

President Trump has sold his tax plan as one that will not only cut taxes for millions of Americans, but allow them to fill out a postcard to file their return. The long list of deductions would be omitted and replaced by across the board cuts. Tax brackets will be cut from seven to four and will now be 12%, 25%, 35%, and 39.6%. In 2017, the standard deduction for a single taxpayer is $6,350, plus one personal exemption of $4,050. The new proposal combines those into one larger standard deduction: $12,200 for an individual, and $24,400 for joint.

 

The Senate has a different plan for tax reform, and there’s would keep the seven tax brackets. But like the House plan, it would also combine the standard deduction  and personal exemption into one larger deduction. Under the Senate proposal, these would be slightly lower than the House’s plan, at $12,000 for single filers and $24,000 for joint filers. The proposed tax brackets of the senate bill are 10%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35%, and 38.5%.

According to the most recent IRS analysis of individual tax returns, 70.4% of taxpayers claim the standard deduction on their tax returns. The GOP’s tax plan does away with many deductions, which could ultimately increase federal taxes for Americans who itemize their deductions. Among the 29.6% who do, the average amount claimed, according to reports from 2014, was $27,447.

If neither plan is adopted into law, the future of the Republican party, as well as President Trump, could be bleak. Trump has done a tremendous job of selling the bill, often meeting with politicians to discuss his plan and its benefits. He campaigned on lowering the American people’s taxes and those of business owners, and promised the creation of many more jobs, as employers would have more money left in their bank accounts for hiring. The United States is known to have one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world at 35%. Under the proposed law, that would drop to 20%. The stock market has seen record number days in anticipation of the tax bill going into effect.

It would not be fair to blame President Trump if  the votes don’t go his way, but one thing is for sure, the main stream media will tout this as a “HUGE LOSS” and Democrats like Chuck Schumer, will jump for joy. Democrats have always stood by the idea that any tax cuts will only help the wealthy. This bill will clearly help many Americans in each tax bracket. Schumer and Nancy Pelosi refused a scheduled meeting with Trump this week that was designed to get bipartisan support for the bill. If we do not get back into the habit of working together in congress and meeting somewhere near the middle, the American people will continue to be the losers.

Our economy is finally showing signs of moving in the right direction as President Trump has implemented many of his ideas on foreign trade and has put a huge dent in ISIS extremists. He has also managed to bring home the many businesses who left the United States for other countries where regulations are not so restrictive and costly. A ridiculous number of corporate regulations were implemented during the Obama administration, most through executive order. This resulted in massive job loss, something Trump is trying to correct. This week the GPD was revised to 3.3%, and has continued to show promise since Trump’s election. President Obama was the first president to have never realized more than a 3% GDP, and averaged far less than that.

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Trump also faces another problem come December 8, as this is when congress’s funding expires. If they cannot come to terms on an agreement, we could be seeing an unprecedented government shut down. Never before has a party that controls all branches of government seen a government shut down. There is also the predicament of the Alabama Senator race where Republican Roy Moore is facing accusations of sexual misconduct. Moore has vehemently denied the accusations and refuses to step aside and let someone take his place. Two of the women who have accused him and who have been most vocal in the news, have seen their accounts of the alleged incidents unraveling. Moore is currently leading his Democratic opponent by 8 points, but Democrats in the state are playing dirty politics, and have allowed for some 10,000 felons to vote in the race. Other Democratic states were known to use this same tactic during the 2016 presidential election. Felons have always been forced to give up their right to vote in the past.

If some form of the tax bill does not pass, and Trump is faced with year two of his administration with no “big” win in his pockets, his relationship with congress members will most certainly be strained. His promise to “drain the swamp” has turned out harder than expected, and he has learned all too quickly who is a real Republican and who is not. I find it interesting that some of the well known figures who have opted to speak out so blatantly against President Trump, especially calling him misogynistic and sexist, are the same ones who have been accused of sexual misconduct.

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Most media outlets, with the exception of Fox News, have been staunch “anti-Trump” activists and just today, the New York Times put out an article on the tax bill, suggesting that their readers call their local representatives and complain. They went as far as to list the names of the representatives as well as their phone numbers. Interestingly enough, their employer manual states that no employee is to get personally involved in politics and will in no way show support for one side or the other.

The importance of the tax bill cannot be underestimated and surely will define the rest of Trump’s term. Other issues on the books are immigration and welfare reform. The American people need to take a hard look at who is representing them in congress and how they vote on key issues. In the past, the “guy with the most money” seemed to be the winner of any election, but as more people than ever are getting involved in politics, upset elections are becoming more prevalent. Roy Moore is a prime example of that. He beat out Luther Strange who is known to be an “establishment” politician. People are tired of the establishment and of congress not getting anything done. The only laws they seem to pass are ones that positively effect them. They keep raising the budget without making any effort to cut back on their spending. This week we learned they have been keeping a secret slush fund full of millions of taxpayer dollars to settle allegations of sexual abuse aimed at politicians. For 30 years we have not seen any positive legislation coming out of Washington D.C. It’s time for a change, and not the kind that Barrack Obama implemented. He is a prime example of a politician who says one thing and does another, and THAT is what needs to change.

 

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