By editorial board • 

There’s no real reform in any of the tax plans now in play

After nearly a year-long litany of dashed dreams, the Trump administration appears desperate for a legislative victory it can savor on Fox and Twitter. And cutting taxes has long been considered a virtually absolute fallback.

Thus, we are now facing a dozen variations on a common theme — robbing Social Security, Medicare, the middle class, future generations, the needy and just about everyone and everything else, all in the name of providing billionaires and billion-dollar corporations a half-off tax deal in perpetuity.

America already treats the top 1 percent better than any developed nation on the planet. Dodges, loopholes and havens leave its members picking up only a fraction of the official tab when the taxman ultimately comes calling.

The dependable Republican response is trickle-down theory. If we rid corporate America of taxation typically only costing 2 to 5 percent anyway, adherents argue, it will prime the economic pump to the point of leaving us awash in revenue.

In truth, that technique never works. And it won’t work this time, no matter which version of corporate giveaway a badly fractured GOP ultimately embraces.

Here’s the problem: Corporations don’t expand capacity and output just because Uncle Sam has filled their larders with fresh greenbacks. They do so to address swelling consumer demand, which depends on more money ending up in the pockets of the forgotten 99 percent.

This theory wasn’t lost on Henry Ford. Accused of overpaying workers, he said he was simply trying to expand his consumer base, and he was rewarded handsomely for it.

Unfortunately, the factory workers Henry Ford was counting on to buy his cars don’t finance Republican campaigns. Corporate America does, so that’s who stands to reap the reward in Donald Trump’s Washington. The bald truth is, anywhere from 50 to 99 percent of the cuts would go to the nation’s wealthiest 1 percent, depending on which plan prevails.

What’s more, every variation is designed to punish blue states, urban centers, college students, the working poor, people of color and nearly every other Democratic constituency capable of being targeted. Favor invariably falls to red states, rural areas, religious institutions and the well-heeled.

This is not an engine of reform, but of retaliation and retribution.

Some versions even include a provision designed to gut the Affordable Care Act — something Trump couldn’t muster the votes to accomplish straight up. And the projected national debt pricetag runs well into the trillions over the next 10 years.


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