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Trump's tax on social justice

E.J. Dionne Jr. on

To pay for their tax cuts for the rich, Republicans propose to make the tax code "fairer" by getting rid of the deduction people can take for the taxes they pay to state and local governments. Republicans rail against "double taxation" of income when it comes to capital gains. But they have no problem with double taxation when it hurts taxpayers in states that ask their citizens to pay a bit more to provide decent public services and stronger social safety nets.

As The Wall Street Journal reported, the states with the largest deductions for state and local taxes as a percentage of adjusted gross income are New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, California and Maryland. All voted against Trump.

Republican House members from the higher-tax states may yet scuttle this provision that belies the GOP's devotion to States' Rights. Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., called their bluff: "Republicans used to say that the best decisions are made locally, and now they want to tax local decisions."

Naturally, a tax proposal designed to pamper the super-rich does exactly that for a man named Donald Trump. The New York Times estimated his savings at around $1 billion. But his refusal to release his tax returns conveniently clouds how much he'll get.

Heather Long of The Washington Post's Wonkblog usefully listed "nine ways Trump's tax plan is a gift to the rich, including himself." One of the biggest boons to the wealthiest Americans is the complete repeal of the estate tax, which is paid on only the very, very, very largest fortunes. They account for only two-tenths of 1 percent of all estates. Talk about a carefully tailored benefit for the Savile Row suit crowd.

And imagine this: Republicans want to use this deficit-bloating, inequality-enhancing, inflation-courting, social-justice-insulting monstrosity to prove they can actually govern.

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E.J. Dionne's email address is ejdionne@washpost.com. Twitter: @EJDionne.

(c) 2017, Washington Post Writers Group

 

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