Foes of tax reform quickly get a heaping helping of crow

Randolph Lopez
December 26, 2017

President Donald Trump signed the most consequential tax legislation in three decades on Friday, even as he complained that he has not been given credit for his administration's accomplishments during a turbulent first year. Speaking to mediapersons, Trump said he was going to wait for a formal signing sometime in early January, but then he watched the news this morning and they were all saying, "Will he keep his promise, will he sign it by Christmas? So we'll be having that done pretty quickly", Mr. Trump said at the White House when he signed the tax overhaul.

An analysis by The Center for American Progress, a Washington think tank, revealed Trump and six members of his inner circle will be the actual beneficiaries of the tax bill.

The measure is the most significant legislative accomplishment for Trump in his first tumultuous year in office. This is a phenomenon that nobody even thought of, and now it is the rage.

Trump's one-sided description of the tax benefits of the bill came in remarks at the White House as Republican lawmakers celebrated passage of the tax bill, which he signed December 22. Speaker Paul Ryan, in unveiling the House plan in the fall, said the average reduction would be around $1,200. In contrast, Tax Policy Center found almost half of all American taxpayers, 53 percent, will be paying more under the Republican bill than they are now by 2027.

Trump signed the $1.5 trillion measure in the Oval Office shortly before he was scheduled to head to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida for the holidays. AT&T announced that, thanks to the new tax laws, it would increase investment in its USA operations by $1 billion - and rolled out thousand-dollar bonuses to 200,000 of its employees.

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However, once Congress reached a deal this week to avoid the possibility of the spending cuts, White House officials signaled that Trump wanted to sign the bill into law as soon as possible.

And Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, is speaking gamely of bipartisanship, especially on legislation to protect young undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children, whose Obama-era protection from deportation will run out in March.

The bill is a "historic victory" and "an incredible Christmas gift for hardworking Americans", Trump said earlier this week. In fact, his heirs are also going to benefit from the new tax bill. That includes $4 billion for missile defense.

The most far-reaching rewrite of the nation's tax laws since 1986, the $1.5 trillion tax plan permanently lowers the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, imposes a low one-time tax on companies' overseas earnings, provides a windfall to people who pay the personal tax on business earnings, narrows and eventually ends the estate tax and cuts individual tax rates. A survey of executives last month by the Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank found that only 8 percent said the bill would make them increase hiring plans "significantly" and only 11 percent said they would significantly increase their capital investment plans.

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