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Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Trump plans another $100 billion tax deal for the rich

Plans to bypass Congress and do it himself, except of course, not with his own money

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and his wife Louise Linton arrive at the White House for a state dinner April 24, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)

No longer bothering to pretend that its tax policy amounts to anything more than dumping as much money as possible into the pockets of ultra-wealthy CEOs and investors, the Trump administration is considering a plan to leapfrog Congress and unilaterally hand the richest Americans another $100 billion in tax cuts.

As the New York Times reports, Treasury Secretary and wannabe Bond villain Steve Mnuchin is studying whether his department has the authority to change "the definition of 'cost' for calculating capital gains, allowing taxpayers to adjust the initial value of an asset, such as a home or a share of stock, for inflation when it sells."

Almost two-thirds of the benefits of such a change would go to the top 0.1 percent, the Times notes.

How will the White House pay for such a windfall to the wealthy? This question is always raised to squash proposals that benefit the poor and working class, but—as The Debt Collective notes on Twitter—it "never applies to billion dollar transfers to the one percent."

While lauded by Republican members of Congress and prominent right-wing anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist, the Trump administration's legally questionable plot was quickly denounced by progressive lawmakers and advocacy groups as yet another "disgusting" attempt by Trump to do "everything he can to enrich the wealthy while stacking the deck against the middle class."

Ted Genoways, editor-at-large of Pacific Standardlikened the White House's plan to reward the richest Americans by executive fiat to "that part of every bank heist movie, where the robbers realize they've triggered the alarms and the cops are on the way, and so they just start stuffing the bags with as much money as they can carry."

Trump's latest plan to reward the wealthy comes as Republicans are fast at work on their "tax cuts 2.0," which will double down on the $1.5 trillion gift to the rich Trump signed into law last year.
"Donald Trump wants to go around Congress and hand $100 billion to his rich buddies on top of the $1.5 trillion he gave away to billionaires and big corporations last year. D.C. works great if you're rich and powerful."  —Sen. Elizabeth Warren
While, as predicted, the tax cuts have been a major boon for CEOs and major corporations—which have used a huge portion of their savings to buy back their own stock—workers have seen virtually no gains from the tax bill. In fact, even as the economy continues to grow at a steady clip, wages are actually declining—which means that all of the new growth is going straight to the top.