Friday, September 29, 2017

Trump's Billion Dollar Lie About His Tax Plan

Donald Trump gave a speech in Indiana to sell his tax plan to his Vice President's home crowd.  He insists, contrary to all analyses of his proposal is that his plan was designed to benefit the middle class.  To support that claim he told the audience that he, and billionaires like him,  would not get any benefit from his proposed changes in the tax system.  That lie was easy to disprove (like most of the lies that he tells every day).  This NYT article examines the only copy that we have of Trump's tax returns.  It shows that he would reduce his income tax by $31 million by eliminating the Alternative Minimum Tax.  The big change in the tax code, and the biggest lie, is the elimination of the estate tax. Most Americans don't know much about the tax code and Trump assumes that he can lie about the estate tax.  He has a good reason to lie because eliminating the estate tax would provide Trump with a billion dollar benefit.  He defends the elimination of the estate tax, which Republicans call the "death tax", by arguing that it prevents small business and farmers from passing on their hard earned assets to their heirs.  What he doesn't say is the there is no estate tax on the first $11 million of a household's assets.  Only a small fraction of Americans have to pay the estate tax because the great majority of small business people, and small farmers, don't have assets above $11 million in their estates. Donald Trump and many of those who fund Republican campaigns do have estates valued above $11 million.  Forbes estimated Trump's assets at around $2.6 BILLION several years.  The estate tax would reduce his estate by $1 billion.  Trump did not dispute the Forbes estimate of his assets. In fact, he complained that his assets were greater than their estimate and that he should have a higher spot on the Forbes list of the richest Americans.

Trump and his fellow Republicans keep repeating the lie about the estate tax because most Americans no very little about inheritance taxes for a good reason; they don't have substantial assets to leave to their heirs.  They are unaware of the $11 million dollar deduction from their assets upon death.  Donald Trump understands this; he takes great advantage of his ability to use his "fog machine" to distract us from important issues and focus our attention on disputing each of them that we receive on a daily basis.  He did not become a billionaire without a good set of skills that hucksters require.

Trump's tax attorney said that Trump's second wife was more involved in his tax return than he was.  Trump hired a good attorney to keep his taxes down.  He is also getting a lot of help from his top economic advisors in selling their tax plan.  Trump's job is to leave most of the tricky chicanery to his economic team.  He is only the huckster that sells the plan to his loyal followers.  It can't be easily sold to people who are well informed about the tax code.

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