The Best Congress Corporations Can Buy, by T. Edward Westen

My fellow Americans. You have the best Congress large corporations can buy. Granted the Congress will act in your interests but if, and only if, your interests do not cost large corporations money. Then too, Congress might not act in your interests but will tell you it is.

At the time of this writing (October 27, 2017) the Republicans in control of Congress are working on a tax reform measure that will, according to their spokesperson, the pestilence*, result in higher wages for you because the corporations for which you work will raise your wages as a result of the tax cut corporations are to receive under the yet unwritten terms of the Republican tax reform measure. They want to call it a tax cut and they are correct in that terminology. However, I would call it a tax slash. But forget what it will do to the deficit for now.

It strikes me as interesting that people in business to make money when given a windfall would give enough of that windfall to others in such fashion that it would actually make a difference to others. My fellow Americans, the Republican Congressional logic sucks. It sounds good if you want a raise; but, it only sounds good and will not directly increase your wages. Indeed, it is unlikely to indirectly increase your wages either. Yes, the Republicans are talking about compressing the tax brackets and lowering the overall rates. These side issued are to distract you from looking at the package objectively–get you to focus on the few crumbs that are deemed necessary to keep you from examining the facts that are buried in their talking points. Oddly (OK my sarcasm is showing), their generosity will impact the rich the most. The Republicans argue that doubling the standard deduction and other components of their talking points, err, I mean tax proposal to be, will lower the tax burden on the middle class. Any competent analysis of what the inequities are in the system they are reforming (the law as it exists now) will point squarely at the wealthy and corporations, currently and in the past, for not paying their fair share. Under the talking points for the current revision proposed by the recipients (Members of Congress) of large campaign contributions from the rich and large corporations (via their officers and board members), the rich and corporations will continue their privileged position, safe from paying their fair share of taxes, in an America whose laws are enacted by the best Congress large corporations can buy.

Another of the Republican talking points is that the proposal they are thinking of writing down contains a side benefit of bringing money home from overseas. Large corporations with international interests make money abroad. They are taxed in the jurisdiction where they make the money rather than bringing the money back to the US where that money would be subject to US Taxes. It all gets rather convoluted in accounting issues and the wide variety of tax laws countries have. But, it boils down to a vast army of accounts and computer algorithms figuring out where the best place to be taxed is and thus the best place to retain the earnings. Then where is the best place (a complex combination of rate of returns, risk and the like) to invest the earnings. If you or I have a hundred bucks, we want it handy. If a large corporation has a hundred bucks it may not even notice, much less notice where it is. Regardless, the thought of a corporation bringing income they have earned overseas back to the US and then using it to pay higher wages boggles the mind.

The pestilence and the Republican Members of Congress will tell you that the money they bring back from overseas will be used to create jobs. Perhaps that money will create some jobs, but only if the rate of return on the jobs created is larger than all other potential investments for that money. Here is the thing about creating jobs in the USA. The pestilence advocates exiting most trade agreements and renegotiating them. So, he is exposing American manufactured products, as well as agricultural products, to tariffs by the countries to which he expects to sell our products. The only way that works is if wages here are low enough to compete in foreign markets with tariffs tacked on in addition. The combination of the pestilence renegotiating our trade deals and bringing the corporate tax rate down spells America becoming an economy in which we take in each other’s laundry.

See, the thing is all the parts of the economy relate to each other part. In the short term, what the pestilence and his Republican majority in both Houses of Congress are telling you (and none of what they are telling you is written down in a way that can be objectively analyzed) sounds good because they are trained to obfuscate (years of practice). If you are rich or an officer in a large corporation you will benefit from the pestilence and Republican tax plan as they present it. If you are not rich or an officer in a large corporation, what they say is more of a crapshoot for you and you are using fifty dice with a 10 sided diece and need to roll the equivalent of snake eyes, 50 aces!

*The current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC.