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Chris Philp: Cut Stamp Duty – and unleash a new Home Ownership Revolution

Chris Philp is has served as PPS in the Treasury and MHCLG, and on the Treasury Select Committee. He is MP for Croydon South.

One of the signal achievements of the Thatcher Government was the home ownership revolution. Millions of people were able to buy their own home for the first time – through right-to-buy and a more dynamic housing market generally. Sadly, much of that good work has been undone in the years since.

Home ownership rates have fallen from a high of 71 per cent in 2005 down to 63 per cent today. The falls are especially acute amongst those in their 20s and 30s, where home ownership rates have almost halved since the early 1990s. No wonder we have trouble getting younger people to vote Conservative.

Home ownership is an inherently beneficial thing. Those who own their own home enjoy secure tenure and lower housing costs than those renting. Over the long term, it is financially better to own rather than rent – even if house prices do not rise faster than inflation. And owning a property gives people a real sense of a place they can call home. It is no surprise, then, that 86 per cent of the public aspire to own their homes. Given only 63 per cent actually do, around a quarter of our fellow citizens wish to own their own home but do not. We should help them.

Stamp duty is a major barrier to buying a home. It is a cash cost that cannot be mortgage-funded. Given that up-front cash costs are the biggest impediment to buying, this is serious. Stamp duty acts as a barrier for buyers of all kinds, which means housing stock is not freed up by downsizers and there are negative effects on labour mobility.

It should be a legitimate – and popular – objective of public policy to help prospective home buyers. In the last ten years, owner occupiers have been crowded out by financial investors and second home buyers, often from overseas, who have superior financial firepower. They currently make up around a quarter of all residential sales, and even more of new build sales. The Government has already recognised this by abolishing stamp duty for first time buyers purchasing properties under £300,000 and cut it by £5,000 for those buying at under £500,000.

We need to do more. As I and Guy Miscampbell set out in a new report for Onward, the Government should:

  • Abolish stamp duty entirely for all purchases of a main home under £500,000.
  • Halve current rates of stamp duty for purchases of a main home over £500,000.

This would abolish stamp duty for nine out of ten owner-occupiers and save a family buying an average priced London home £13,000, or half of a five per cent deposit. The cost of this policy is £3.3 billion. But it would help more people buy their first home, and make moving house – for a new job, to downsize or to upsize – much easier. For the most expensive properties, where stamp duty is currently charged at a marginal rate of 12 per cent, it is likely that transaction volumes are being suppressed. Halving stamp duty for those properties should result in a positive Laffer effect, due to an increase in transaction levels.

But any new policy should be fiscally responsible. To fund the £3.3 per year billion cost, I propose a number of smaller tax changes, where there is broad public support for taxation and a clear case for action:

  • Introduce a one per cent annual tax on the value of homes left empty for more than 6 months in a year, raising £645 million.
  • Increase the current three per cent stamp duty surcharge on second homes and investment properties to 5 per cent, raising £790 million.
  • Introduce a further three per cent stamp duty surcharge of non-UK resident buyers of residential property, raising £540 million.
  • Introduce an extra higher band of council tax at a £1,700 per year council tax premium for the 0.4 per cent most expensive properties, raising £173 million.
  • End all council tax reliefs for vacant and second home property, raising £75 million.
  • Create a new eight per cent (up from five per cent) stamp duty band for the portion of commercial property purchases over £1 million, raising £682 million.
  • Levy stamp duty on residential properties transferred by selling the company that owns them via transparent ownership rules (which would also help combat money laundering), raising £175 million.
    Double the Annual Taxation on Enveloped Dwellings, raising £140 million.

These measures taken together will help first time buyers, down sizers, upsizers and people moving home to help their job. It will tax overseas investors (usually from the far east) who are treating UK homes as a financial asset and crowding out first time buyers with their superior financial firepower.

Tilting the playing field back towards UK-resident first time buyers and owner-occupiers is the right thig to do. The new Government should use the coming autumn budget to do exactly that.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Patrick Spencer: Some advice for the new Conservative leader. Stick to these three ideas to boost productivity.

Patrick Spencer is Head of Work and Welfare at the Centre for Social Justice.

The Conservative leadership contest has proved to be the battle of ideas that the party wants, needs and should probably have had back in 2016. Yes, Brexit has dominated the discussion, but in amongst chat of proroguing, No Deals and backstops, we have heard interesting ideas about, for example, tax reform, a national citizens’ service and early years support for young mothers. During the Parliamentary stage of the contest, the Centre for Social Justice hosted the Social Justice Caucus of Tory MPs, holding their own hustings event for the Conservative leadership, and the candidates didn’t disappoint.

The litany of new ideas stem from the fact that most of the candidates felt it is time to reshape the Government’s fiscal strategy. The last nine years have been defined by successive Coalition and Conservative government’s support for fiscal rebalancing. David Cameron and George Osborne successfully formed governments after two general elections on a platform of fiscal prudence.

However, the political landscape has changed. Younger voters who weren’t around to vote in 2010 now make up a sizeable chunk of the electorate. Years of austerity, job growth and a much healthier national balance sheet has meant that ‘austerity’ is increasingly unpopular.  Combine this with the perceived economic harm that a No Deal Brexit may cause, and the case for loosening austerity is compelling.

In this vein, Boris Johnson has argued for lower taxes on higher earners as well as increased spending on education. Esther McVey wanted to cut the International Aid budget and spend savings on the police and education. Dominic Raab called to raise the National Insurance Threshold and cut the basic rate of income tax. Michael Gove hoped to reform VAT so that it becomes a Sales Tax. And Sajid Javid said he would slow the rate of debt reduction, which would free up £25 billion for new spending commitments.

Even outside of the leadership circle, Tory MPs and right-of-centre think tanks are advocating for a new spending strategy.  Neil O’Brien has coined the ‘O’Brien Rule’, which allows for budget deficits as long as debt as a percentage of GDP is falling. This sentiment was echoed by Philip Hammond, who called on every leadership candidate to commit to keeping the deficit under two per cent of GDP as long as the national debt was falling.

Considering the appetite to do something, the next leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister should be warned that spending for spending’s sake is not a good idea. If the decision is taken therefore to loosen the fiscal taps, it should be carefully targeted so that this increases growth and more importantly, productivity.

The Centre for Social Justice released a report in 2017 that highlighted a clear policy agenda that used tax and spend policies to boost productivity across the UK. It is roundly recognised that the productivity conundrum in the UK has not been the result of any one issue but, rather, is a confluence of factors that have taken hold of our economic and social machine.

First and foremost, British companies do not invest and innovate enough. Compared to other countries we have lower levels of capital investment, lower uptake of new-generation technologies such as robotics, and entrepreneurs sell out too early. Britain has a proud history of innovation and technology, and yes we do have several world beating unicorn companies, but in recent years we have lost ground in the innovation stakes to the US, Germany and the Asian economies.

The CSJ recommended a raft of policies that could help reverse this, starting with a ramp up in public funds available for research and development. Public cash for R+D has a crowding in (as opposed to crowding out) effect. We also called (counter-intuitively) for the scrapping of Entrepreneurs Tax Relief. It is expensive and does little to help real entrepreneurs, and only acts as a tax loophole for asset strippers (this policy has recently been advocated by the Institute for Fiscal Studies and the Resolution Foundation). We also called for simplification of the tax system. Look at the Annual Investment Allowance, for instance, that was decreased by 75 per cent in 2012, increased by a factor of 10 in 2013, doubled in 2015, only for it to then be almost cut in half in 2016.

Second, the CSJ called for a radical increase in support for vocational education in the UK. While businesses needed some help to innovate and compete, the labour market needs support in terms of skills and competencies. Recommendations included a new spending commitment for FE colleges and more support for adult learners who are in low skilled work. The Augar Review called for the Government to make £1 billion available for colleges, a good start but realistically the Government will have to go much further in the future. here is an example of where public money can make a big difference in public policy.

Last, if the next Prime Minister wants to support productivity growth, they can look at rebalancing growth outside of London across Britain’s regions. London is home to less than a quarter of the UK’s population but contributes to 37 per cent of our economic output. It attracts a disproportionate number of high skilled and high paying jobs. Public spending on infrastructure in London dwarfs that spent in the North and Midlands. Reversing this trend will of course take a generation, but by boosting transport spending on inter-city transport (most obviously Northern Rail), tax breaks for companies that set up in struggling cities such as Doncaster, Wigan or Bradford, as well as more money for towns and cities to spend on green spaces and cultural assets (such as museums, public art, restaurants and bars) that attract young people.

These three productivity-generating policy areas will allow any Government to loosen the fiscal taps without bankrupting the country. When the next Prime Minister appoints his Chancellor, he or she would be well advised to stick to the basics of cutting taxes, spending more on education and rebalancing growth outside of London.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Iain Mansfield: Brexit by October 31. Stop using the Left’s language. And stand for skilled workers. Essentials for our next Prime Minister

Iain Mansfield is a former senior civil servant, winner of the Institute of Economic Affairs Brexit prize and a Conservative councillor candidate. He writes in a personal capacity.

Our next Prime Minister will take office at the most challenging time since the 1970s. Not only is there Brexit – an issue of fundamental national importance, that has destroyed the last two Prime Ministers and poses an existential challenge to the future of the Conservative Party – but the old political assumptions are changing. Across the West, traditional voter coalitions are shifting, as citizens reject centrist compromises. Flatlining productivity, unaffordable houses and millions of voters feeling abandoned, either culturally or economically, are just some of the challenges they will face.

Many of those who voted for David Cameron in 2010 are lost to the party, alienated by Brexit. In Britain today, age and education level are better predictors of a person’s vote than class. To win a general election, our next Prime Minister must forge a new coalition of voters that unites the traditional Tory shires with the left-behind Leave voters in the Midlands and North. Even more importantly, they must deliver authentic right-wing policies that address the causes of ordinary working people’s dissatisfaction. People want change and, if the Conservative Party does not deliver it, they are likely to seek answers in the flawed blandishments of Jeremy Corbyn’s socialism.

In that context, there are three essentials that our next Prime Minister must prioritise for the good of the people, the nation and the party:

  • Leave the EU by 31 October, on WTO terms if needed.
  • Openly champion conservative values rather than speaking the language of the left.
  • Reposition the party as the natural home of the skilled working and lower middle classes.

Leave the EU by 31 October, on WTO terms if needed

Not only is delivering on the outcome of the referendum a democratic imperative, it is vital for the continued existence of the party. Recent polling shows that, if we have not left the EU, the Conservatives are likely to suffer devastating losses in a general election; these figures could be even worse if large numbers of members, councillors or even entire associations defect to the Brexit Party. Many members have held on over the last few months purely out of hope that the next Prime Minister would deliver where May failed: another betrayal in October would see these members permanently lost.

Leaving with a deal is preferable, if some changes to the backstop can be agreed and Parliament will pass it. If not, as I have argued previously on this site, we have nothing to fear from No Deal. Preparations for such should be put into top gear on the first day in office. The Prime Minister must make clear that they will under no circumstances ask for an extension; and that they are, if needed, prepared to systematically veto any measure put forward by the EU on regular business if the UK is for some reason kept in. While every effort should be made to secure a deal, if it cannot be reached, Parliament must be faced with the simple choice of permitting a WTO exit or voting no confidence in the Prime Minister – a gamble, admittedly, but one that is preferable to another disastrous extension.

Openly champion conservative values rather than speaking the language of the left

In recent years too many Conservative politicians have allowed our opponents to define the playing field. We cannot beat the socialists by adopting the language and assumptions of socialism. Our next Prime Minister must stop feeding the narrative of identity, grievance and division, with its assumption that an individual’s potential is defined by their characteristics, that so-called ‘burning injustices’ are solely the responsibility of the state to address, and that the government always no best.

Changing the narrative will be a long endeavour. The systematic appointment of those with conservative values into key ministerially appointed positions; an authentically right-wing approach to policy making in Whitehall; and the withdrawal of state funding from the network of organisations that maintain the left’s grip on the policy narrative are essential. But over and above this, the Prime Minister must be willing to personally stand up and champion individual liberties and freedoms; to condemn progressive authoritarianism and to be visibly proud of Britain, our culture and the rich global heritage of our citizens.

Reposition the party as the natural home of the skilled working and lower middle classes

Young, metropolitan graduates may once have been natural Conservatives, but no longer. There is little hope of reversing this in the immediate aftermath of Brexit. Instead of squandering our effort here, our new Prime Minister should instead make the party the natural home of the skilled working and lower middle classes, particularly in the midlands and north.

Such voters have a natural affinity to the traditional conservative values of low tax and individual liberty, but also greatly value and rely day-to-day onn strong public services. This places the Conservatives in a difficult position after a decade of austerity: Labour made hay campaigning on cuts to police numbers and falls in per pupil spending in 2017. But how to fund significant increases in core services without raising taxes or alienating core Conservative voters, such as via the disastrous proposals on social care in the 2017 manifesto?

To find the funding the next Prime Minister must be bold enough to slay the progressive sacred cows that soak up billions annually in public funding. Three immediately spring to mind:

With the additional £15 billion plus a year, the Prime Minister could at a stroke increase police funding by 25 per cent (£3 billion), boost school funding per pupil by 20 per cent (£8 billion) and increase spending on social care by 20 per cent (£4 billion). And then split the proceeds of further growth between public services and tax cuts.

As well as this, we should champion the interests of the high street, enterprise and small businesses and oppose crony corporatism. Multinational companies that make use of aggressive tax avoidance, abuse their market position or actively work against UK sovereignty should not enjoy government grants, procurement or time in No. 10. Fundamentally, our next Prime Minister should spend more time listening to the Federation of Small Businesses and less time listening to the CBI.

Conclusion

As members, we have two candidates set before us. Both are able politicians and tested leaders who represent the best the Parliamentary party has to offer. As we assess who should be not just our next leader, but our Prime Minister, we should do so against their ability to deliver these vital elements.

Both have committed to delivering Brexit by October 31 – but which one has the ability, the genuine will and the courage to do so by any means necessary? Both are true-blue Conservatives – but which one will truly champion our values, taking the battle to our adversaries with the eloquence and conviction of a Thatcher or a Churchill? Both recognise the importance of reaching out to new voters – but which one can devise and push through the policies needed to unite the Tory shires with the Leave voters of the north? Consider carefully and cast your vote.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Mark Harper: If the Conservative Party is not the party of sound money, then what on earth are we for?

Mark Harper is a former Chief Whip, and is MP for the Forest of Dean.

Recently, I made my first ‘appearance’ on BBC Radio 4’s Dead Ringers, where they said that the only interesting thing about me was being a Chartered Accountant.  Now, this may not make me Box Office – but at least I know how to balance the books.

As the Conservative leadership race has gone on, both candidates have increased the amount of taxpayers’ money they have spent. Between them, adding up estimates by the independent and respected Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), the two remaining candidates have already clocked up tax and spending promises of around £51 billion per year.

The recent BBC documentary series on Margaret Thatcher reminded me of a fundamental truth that she talked about at the 1983 Conservative Party Conference: ‘If the State wishes to spend more it can do so only by borrowing your savings or by taxing you more. It is no good thinking that someone else will pay—that “someone else” is you. There is no such thing as public money; there is only taxpayers’ money’.

And that truth is one of the reasons why I’m a Conservative. If the Conservative Party is not the Party of sound money, then what on earth are we for?

What do I mean by sound money?  There are two effective checks on state spending: it’s Government committing to live within its means, and ensuring people keep more of their own money.

In other words, reducing debt as a share of the economy, and reducing the tax burden.

Living within your means is clearly something that Labour doesn’t believe in – you only have to look at their policies. Take John McDonnell’s plan to nationalise the water industry in England for instance; according to the Social Market Foundation, that could cost as much as £90 billion and add five per cent to the national debt.  Lots of cost with no benefit to consumers or citizens.

When we came to power in 2010, taking over from Labour, the Government was borrowing £1 in every £4 we spent.  The budget deficit was just under ten per cent of the size of the economy, at £150 billion a year.  We had to make difficult decisions to get the public finances back under control and Labour opposed us every step of the way.

Despite Labour’s opposition, we have reduced the cash deficit to £42.9 billion—down by over 70 per cent —and the deficit as a proportion of the size of the economy is down by 75 per cent to 2.4 per cent.

We should remember, and stick to, our 2015 and 2017 Manifesto commitments to reduce national debt as a share of GDP.

The tax burden is at a 50 year high.  That’s not a comfortable place for a Conservative Government to be. As Conservatives, we want to reduce the tax burden over time to allow hard working people to keep more of their own money. Recent polling by the Onward think tank showed that the majority of people, both young and old, want to keep more of the money they earn.

We do not help people with the cost of living by putting their taxes up. Our focus should be on reducing taxes for lower and middle income earners. We should always remember that the purpose of taxes is only to raise what is necessary to pay for public services and things which only the state can do, such as defence and security.

As Conservatives, we should also recognise that there is a difference between rates of tax and how much revenue is raised from them.  Conservative chancellors from Nigel Lawson to George Osborne have recognised that cutting tax rates, reducing allowances and simplifying the tax system can lead to collecting more tax revenue. Lawson did this with income tax, Osborne with corporation tax.

There are always many pressures on public spending. We need to invest in social care, our schools and colleges, policing and the NHS.  One of the biggest challenges facing the new Prime Minister will be their approach to public spending and the need to set priorities.

A good policy to follow would be to go back to the pre-financial crash Conservative policy to share the proceeds of growth between tax cuts, spending increases and reducing debt. Each year we should look at the growth and tax forecasts made independently by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), and the pressures on public services to reach a balanced approach.

These decisions need to be taken in a careful, thoughtful way using methods which already exist like a Comprehensive Spending Review and the annual Budget. The Government has already announced a Comprehensive Spending Review which will set out spending plans for the next few years, until just beyond the next General Election. It’s going to require some very tough decisions, to be made by the new Prime Minister and Cabinet.

It is perfectly reasonable for leadership candidates to set out their preferred direction of travel in specific areas of tax and spending, but the scale of those commitments should be determined by the new Prime Minister and Cabinet in a proper, balanced process.

The new Conservative Leader and Prime Minister has three tasks – deliver Brexit, govern as a Conservative, and beat Labour at the next general election. Key to defeating the Labour Party will be to win the argument on the economy. And winning the argument on the economy means winning the argument for lower taxes, for sensible levels of public spending (which involves making tough choices) and for reducing the burden of national debt.

As this leadership race comes to an end, we should not lose sight of the real finishing line – the next general election. We need to ensure that we finish this leadership contest in a better position to win it.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Sam Gyimah: My challenge to Johnson and Hunt. It’s time to commit to scrapping Britain’s five worst taxes.

Sam Gyimah is MP for East Surrey, and is a former Universities Minister.

For nine years austerity and its consequences has dominated our debate and become the new normal. I am proud of what my party has done in rescuing the country’s finances.

But 1.5 per cent growth is not good enough. Economic growth creates better jobs, improves people’s standards of living, enables us to adequately fund public services, and gives people a reason to buy in to capitalism. If we are to solve the challenges that we face — social care funding, a well-funded NHS and an education system that gives everyone a great start in life, we need growth to do it.

I have not seen any candidate in the leadership contest put forward a plan that is going to address this – I want whomever triumphs as the next leader of our Party and Prime Minister to consider my tax plan as a way to turbocharge our economy.

Governments have got into the habit of raising taxes and introducing new ones. I want to change our debate around tax from introducing new taxes to cutting the worst ones.

That’s why we need to abolish Britain’s first worst taxes – the those that do the most damage for the money they raise, and whose abolition will get us the most bang for our buck:

1.      Make the Annual Investment Allowance unlimited.

2.      Index the tax thresholds to inflation – permanently.

3.      Replace business rates with a commercial land tax.

4.      Eliminate the personal allowance withdrawal for higher earners.

5.      Move towards abolishing stamp duty for homes under £1 million.

Make the Annual Investment Allowance unlimited

We were right to bring Corporation Tax down from 28 per cent to 19 per cent. It’s made investing in Britain more attractive – the fact that McDonald’s, Starbucks and Snapchat have moved their European headquarters to London is evidence of that.

But we need to look beyond the headline rate. When businesses invest in new equipment, machines, and industrial buildings, they’re forced to deduct the investment at an arbitrary rate over a number of years, and because of inflation they cannot claim back the true amount. That’s not the case for ordinary day-to-day expenses like pens and paper. That’s a problem because if you’ve ever run a business, as I have, you know that cash is king. I want to fix this and ensure a level-playing field in the tax system between manufacturers and financial services.

That’s why we need to make the Annual Investment Allowance unlimited. This will level the playing field and fix corporation tax so that it is a tax on profits only, not investment. This follows similar moves in the United States, and academic research suggests it has boosted business investment by 17.5 percent where it has been done. This would be a tremendous boost to business across the country, especially manufacturers.

Index the tax thresholds to inflation – permanently

In 1988, when the 40p tax rate was introduced, around 5 per cent of taxpayers paid it. Today, closer to 15 per cent of taxpayers do. A similar effect takes place in the other tax bands. The reason is that every year, inflation pushes more and more people into higher rates of tax, without them being any better off.

This discourages work and hits workers with a stealth tax. And it means that, every year, we are effectively raising taxes on people without a proper debate in Parliament. If we permanently index the tax thresholds to inflation, we can eliminate this stealth tax on work and stop the endless creeping down of these higher rates of tax.

Replace business rates with a commercial land tax

Because Business Rates are levied on a property’s value and not just the land beneath it, they act as a punishing disincentive to investment.

The worst affected businesses are manufacturers. Tata Steel’s rates bill rose by £400,000 a year when it rebuilt the blast furnace at Port Talbot. No wonder British Steel is struggling. Despite what the likes of Jeremy Corbyn and Nigel Farage say, the answer isn’t nationalisation of these industries. It’s modernising the tax system so they don’t get punished when they invest.

The next Leader must replace business rates with a tax on commercial land, paid by the landlords and levied only on the land value itself, so that no business is worse off if they invest and landlords do not have an incentive to keep commercial properties vacant.

Eliminate the personal allowance withdrawal for higher earners

Withdrawing the personal allowance for people earning over £100,000 creates a massive tax cliff-edge. It means that people earning between £100,000 and £125,000 face a 60 per cent marginal income tax rate, meaning they take home just 40p for every pound they earn (and just 38p after National Insurance).

That is madness. Back in 1988, Nigel Lawson was right to cut the upper rate of tax from 60p to 40p. We need to do it again.

Move towards abolishing stamp duty for homes under £1 million

Stamp duty has been described by the Institute for Fiscal Studies one of the UK’s worst-designed taxes. It discourages elderly people from downsizing and freeing up their homes for younger families, and stops people from moving homes for better jobs. Just this week the Resolution Foundation highlighted the economic damage caused by high housing costs trapping people in areas with weak work opportunities. A study of a similar tax in Australia found that it lowered GDP by 72p for every pound it raised.

We need to start the process of scrapping Stamp Duty altogether on homes under £1 million. This would eliminate stamp duty for 98 per cent of housing transactions, but forgo only 68 per cent of the tax receipts, at a cost of £6 billion. Alongside wider reforms to cut the cost of housing, this tax could be made cost neutral.

– – –

It’s not good enough to propose big, attention-grabbing tax cuts that would cost tens of billions without doing much to boost growth. We have limited resources, but there’s still a lot we can do if we’re smart about it.

There have been big debates among Conservatives about getting left behind voters and young people to buy into capitalism. But so much of that debate has conceded the Left’s critique of capitalism. Capitalism has its flaws, but it is the only thing that can give people the opportunities and standards of living that they want and deserve.

For the Conservatives to win over the voters we’ve lost to other parties, we need to rediscover our core values of work, enterprise and aspiration. We need to focus on using tax cuts to unlock growth, to create better jobs and more opportunities in life for young people and people who have been left behind. We can’t just offer voters more of the same: we need to make Britain boom again.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Don’t say you weren’t warned: Biden promises to kill GOP tax cuts

Westlake Legal Group BidenShotgunGestureB715 Don’t say you weren’t warned: Biden promises to kill GOP tax cuts U.S. Politics The Blog tax hikes tax cuts politicians Joe Biden Economy donald trump democrats 2020 presidential campaign 2020 Democrat primaries 2020 Democrat debates 2020 Democrat candidates 2020 campaign

One sure sign the Democratic primary race is getting more heated: Those 23 wannabe presidents are promising to take more of American workers’ income in taxes to pay for some of the free stuff they’re offering simultaneously. Such a deal!

We’re sure to hear more about their vast spending hopes next week during the first pair of Democratic debates. They’ll play down the tax angle, except to claim falsely Trump’s tax cuts were really tax hikes. Fact Checker to Aisle 3 please!

Bernie Sanders, a socialist who owns three homes, isn’t a Democrat. But he plays one every four years before large crowds of young people who know some history as far back as the 1990s. Sanders opined the other day on CNN that many Americans “would be delighted” to pay more taxes. Uh-huh.

“I suspect,” he said there, without fear of contradiction, “that a lot of people in this country would be delighted to pay more in taxes if they had comprehensive healthcare as a human right.”

Also this week, Joe Biden, who was for the Hyde Amendment banning federal abortion financing before he was against it, promised that the very first thing he would do as president is kill President Trump’s tax cuts.

“First thing I would do as president,” Joe told the Poor People’s Forum in Washington, “is eliminate the president’s tax cut.” That, of course, means a tax hike for most Americans.

Americans for Tax Reform did some calculations and reports that deleting the tax cuts would cost a single parent $1,300 more in taxes each year, a family of four earning $73,000 would have to fork over $2,000 more in taxes, the child tax credit and standard tax deductions would be cut in half, utility bills would increase in all 50 states and millions would get to pay the Obamacare individual mandate tax again.

Oh, and small business employers would lose their 20 percent small business deduction and the U.S. would once again have the highest corporate tax in the developed world. Think all of that might affect jobs again?

The good news for Americans is most Democrat primary promises never materialize. Remember Barack Obama’s vow to close the Guantanamo Detention Center on his first day? He did sign a paper ordering that for a photo op. But — oh, look! — Gitmo is still there and still a terrorist prison.

The bad news for Joe is he is still leading the pack of Democrats in polls. That’s bad because, as I wrote here:

It’s not good to be even a little ahead at this early stage. Around this time four years ago, Jeb Bush and Mike Huckabee led GOP polls. Before that, remember Presidents Dick Gephardt, Howard Dean, Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum? All were out front at this or similar stages in their primary races. And all flamed out.

The post Don’t say you weren’t warned: Biden promises to kill GOP tax cuts appeared first on Hot Air.

Westlake Legal Group BidenShotgunGestureB715-300x162 Don’t say you weren’t warned: Biden promises to kill GOP tax cuts U.S. Politics The Blog tax hikes tax cuts politicians Joe Biden Economy donald trump democrats 2020 presidential campaign 2020 Democrat primaries 2020 Democrat debates 2020 Democrat candidates 2020 campaign   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Here’s What Joe Biden Promises Will Be the First Act of His Presidency

Westlake Legal Group JoeBidenTheView Here’s What Joe Biden Promises Will Be the First Act of His Presidency tax cuts republicans Raise Taxes Poor People's Campaign media bias Joe Biden Hurting the Economy Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story elections donald trump democrats Democrat primary 2020 election

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks on ABC’s The View – 4/26/19.

Joe Biden is currently sitting fairly high in the Democrat primary. The next two months will be key. If he takes a lead into August, he’s going to be really difficult to overtake.

While trying to keep his position, Biden has begun to make promises to his left-wing base that may not be so useful when a general election starts. Saying he no longer supports the Hyde Amendment, for example, is a position in stark contrast to most of the rest of the country. Radicalism on abortion has become a litmus test for Democrats though and the former Vice President is playing along.

Now, Biden has made another promise that may make Democrat voters squee but might not bring much enthusiasm from the broader voter base.

Credit to Ryan and The Daily Wire for this clip because you won’t see this reported at any of the “mainstream” outlets. You’d think a Presidential candidate promising to raise taxes on the vast majority of the middle class might be news, but nah, we’ve got Trump not liking coughing to cover.

Here’s the full quote via The Daily Caller.

“Number one, we have the greatest income inequity in the history of the United States of America since 1902, and the fact of the matter is, there is plenty, plenty of money to go around,” Biden replied. “The first thing I would do as president is eliminate the president’s tax cut.”

I’m sure when pressed, Biden will now try to massage this statement and say he only meant the “tax cuts for the rich” or some nonsense. The truth is, a lot of the “rich” are paying more under the Trump tax reform, namely because of the changes to SALT deductions. Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro has shared his experience multiple times and said that while he supports the tax cuts, he is personally paying more now.

Because the tax reform bill doubled the standard deduction, along with other tweaks, about 65% of the country got a cut, with only 6% paying more. The ones most likely to have no gotten nothing out of it are those who weren’t paying income taxes anyway because they don’t make enough (i.e. those making under $25,000 mostly saw no change). You can’t cut taxes for the poor when they were already zeroing out on their returns anyway. That fact should be common sense but Democrats have purposely weaponized it to claim that the tax cuts were only “for the rich.”

Biden has lied about this before. Just last week he made this wild claim about Trump’s tax reform, asking the Teamsters union these questions.

Did you feel it? Did you get anything from it? Of course not, all of it went to folks at the top.

In typical partisan group think, the crowd (including those you can see behind him) all said no and shook their heads. It’s just mind-blowing to see given that almost everyone in that building was middle class and they factually got a tax cut. But hate for the other side of the aisle can make people do weird things, including begging for the government to tax them more without even realizing it.

It’s ironic that Biden is seen in the original video promising to raise taxes to an audience supposedly focused on helping the poor. Hitting the middle class and yes, even the rich with tax increases will only hurt the lowest income levels in this country. It will cost jobs and harm consumer spending, which means less opportunity is made for those seeking to make it out of poverty.

The Democrat rhetoric on taxes focuses on “fairness” even when that fairness would objectively hurt those they are seeking to help. No one gets richer because their neighbors taxes get raised. It’s illogical and ignores the realities of the economy. Biden doesn’t care though. He’s got a primary to win and he’s going to say whatever he feels like the rabid, socialist base of his party wants to hear.

In the end though, even if Biden were to be elected President, he’d never be able to garner support to repeal the tax cuts. Much like Obamacare, the moment people realize they are about to be affected, they’ll change their minds on the issue very quickly.

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Hunt interview: “I’m clearly second-placed now to Boris, and ready to argue that we have better choices as a country than he is offering.”

Jeremy Hunt lives in the wonderful house in Carlton Gardens where Boris Johnson used to live.

He sets out in this interview, carried out beneath portraits of Castlereagh and other great predecessors which adorn the Foreign Secretary’s official residence, why his approach to Brexit is better than Johnson’s, and accuses his rival of being “really defeatist” for implying “that we’re going to have to leave the EU without a deal”.

The interview took place on Friday morning, the day after Hunt came second in the first round of voting, and shortly before Johnson, the front-runner, agreed to participate in some of the television debates, though not in the first one, to be held on Sunday.

When asked about Sajid Javid’s attack on the old school tie, Hunt, who went to Charterhouse, joked that he would not criticise Johnson for going to Eton.

But Hunt added: “In Britain, we unfortunately still have the remnants of a class system, which I absolutely detest with every bone in my body.”

At the end of the interview, he quotes some good advice about the leadership race given to him by his seven-year-old daughter.

ConHome: “Are you the underdog in this contest?”

Hunt: “Absolutely, the underdog. I’m the anti-Establishment candidate who comes from the heart of the Establishment.”

ConHome: “Did either the Prime Minister or the Chancellor vote for you yesterday?”

Hunt: “I’ve no idea.”

ConHome: “You don’t know?”

Hunt: “I absolutely don’t know.”

ConHome: “Have you canvassed them?”

Hunt: “I welcome all votes. Each and every vote that I can get is most welcome.”

ConHome: “You’ve not saying you haven’t canvassed them, but you don’t know how they voted.”

Hunt [laughter]: “All votes are welcome!”

ConHome: “What do you want to say about the debates?”

Hunt: “We have got to have a proper contest with proper scrutiny. Lots of people feel that is what did not happen in 2016. I’m going to make sure this is not the 2016 leadership election.

“It is the 2005 leadership election where the underdog came from the outside, came second in the first round of MPs’ ballots, but then when you had the proper scrutiny, people started thinking about who they wanted to be the leader, David Cameron came through.

“So we’ve got to absolutely make sure that we have that scrutiny, and we cannot do that if the front runner hides away. We have got to have proper media questioning, proper involvement in all the debates. This is to be Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. This is a big, big job, and we just need Boris to be a little bit more brave.”

ConHome: “You’re saying to him, ‘Come over here if you’re hard enough.’”

Hunt: “I’m saying, ‘Subject yourself to the scrutiny that the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom is going to be facing every single day inside Number Ten. Because if you’re up to this job now you’ll certainly be up to the job of taking part in some TV debates ahead of going in there.”

ConHome: “At one point it was said that you were unwilling to debate if Johnson wouldn’t debate.”

Hunt: “Well I do think that all the candidates should take part in these debates. I’ve always said that I’m delighted to do it. I will do it whatever. But yes, I wanted to try and do something that would encourage Boris to take part, and that’s what I’m calling on him to do today.”

ConHome: “On Thursday morning you tweeted, ‘Woke up this morning and felt a bit like the morning of my wedding’. Does today feel like the day after your wedding?”

Hunt: “Well I had a wonderful wedding. It was actually in the mountains of south-west China. So I felt nothing but elation and joy the morning after my wedding.

“And I’m very excited this morning. You know, lots of speculation that some of the other candidates who are running extremely professional and well-organised campaigns were going to overtake me, but they didn’t.

“And I’m clearly second-placed now to Boris, and ready to make the argument that we have better choices as a country than Boris is now offering us.”

ConHome: “On our figures, yesterday morning we had 74 people undeclared, roughly. Johnson took 30, you took seven, on our figures. You must have been a bit disappointed.”

Hunt: “In these campaigns, anyone who knows the way Westminster works knows there is always a front-runner bandwagon effect. And so I’m not at all surprised if people make the calculation that Boris is most likely to win that they flock behind him.

“That doesn’t mean they really think he would be the best Prime Minister. And that doesn’t mean they think he’s offering this country the best choices it could have.

“And he’s not. And I am.

“I’ve always said I’m willing to embrace no deal if that’s the only way to leave the European Union. But his hard stop of the 31st October means that we would effectively be committing to a no deal Brexit, or a general election if Parliament managed to stop it.

“And I think if we have a Prime Minister who is a negotiator we can get a better deal which changes or removes the backstop and allows us to leave the EU without the risks to businesses and the risks to the Union that a no deal Brexit could involve.”

ConHome: “Do you think you’re reasonably placed if some of the candidates lower down the order drop out?”

Hunt: “I’ve got lots of supporters who are lending their support to other candidates in the first round and have said to me that when their person gets knocked out they will come in behind me.

“But the argument I’m making is it’s not just that my vision of how we leave the EU gives us better options than Boris, but I’ve also got the experience that means I can deliver that. I mean I’ve been in government now, in the Cabinet for nine years.

“I’ve negotiated extremely complex deals, whether it was more funding for the NHS, the junior doctors’ dispute, the BBC licence fee. But I’m an entrepreneur by background. I did negotiation every day of my life before I came into politics.

“In my bones, I don’t think this is going to be easy, but in my bones, there is a deal there. And I want to get that deal for the country because I think that would be way better if we possibly can. In extremis, I’d leave without a deal, of course. We have to deliver the referendum result.

“We’re not at that point yet, and I think it’s really defeatist to say that we’re going to have to leave the EU without a deal, which is effectively what Boris is saying.”

ConHome: “You would serve under Boris?”

Hunt: “I would serve under Boris and I hope he would serve under me.”

ConHome: “Sajid Javid has made a lot of his state education. You would be the first Old Carthusian Prime Minister since Lord Liverpool, who held office from 1812-1827 and ran a big team including Wellington [gestures at the picture of Wellington on the wall].

“Is there too much class war in today’s Conservative Party?”

Hunt: “I am not going to criticise Boris for going to a posher public school than me [laughter]. You know, that is the politics of envy gone completely mad, and I’m just not going to go there at all.”

ConHome: “Javid was doing a lot of anti-old-school- tie stuff, which to me at least sounded a bit old-fashioned.”

Hunt: “In Britain, we unfortunately still have the remnants of a class system, which I absolutely detest with every bone in my body. But we are a country where everyone has a background of some sort, but what British people are interested in is what you’re going to do as Prime Minister.

“I think if anyone looks at my background they’ll see I’m someone who started a business from scratch, without any capital. I’ve faced massive challenges in my life, I was the longest serving Health Secretary, hardly the easiest job in government.

“They want to know, are you up for all the challenges, all the battles any Prime Minister has. And I think my background speaks for itself.”

ConHome: “Coming out of the traps fighting, aren’t you.”

Hunt: “Because I think that our country deserves better choices that it’s be offered by Boris Johnson at the moment, and I’m going to make that argument to the very end.”

ConHome: “Just on the Brexit policy and all that, you said in The Daily Telegraph on 27th May, ‘With the current deal, I cannot see a way forward.’

“So we want to be clear what you’re going to do with the negotiation. Is the whole deal dead? Are you dropping the Withdrawal Agreement, or are you trying to build on it?”

Hunt: “With the backstop as it is, the Withdrawal Agreement is dead. I believe that if you could remove the elements of the current deal that mean we could be trapped in the Customs Union indefinitely, it may still be possible to get a parliamentary majority for that Withdrawal Agreement.

“Certainly I think it would have been earlier this year. But to do that you’re going to have to rebuild the Conservative/DUP coalition, which is badly frayed, and that’s why I would have the DUP, the Scottish Tories, Welsh Tories, the ERG, in my negotiating team.

“So that we only put forward proposals that Brussels knows the British Government can deliver through Parliament.”

ConHome: “And you’re prepared to extend if necessary? That’s what you were saying earlier. You can’t treat this as a hard deadline.”

Hunt: “Any extension is highly undesirable. But it is impossible to know what situation you may be in on 31st October.

“A wise Prime Minister will make choices on the basis of the situation as it is then. We don’t know for example what Parliament might have done with the law around no deal.

“We don’t know who the new people taking over the European Commission are.

“If we got to 31st October and there was no prospect of a good deal that could get through Parliament, then I would consider no deal if Parliament had kept it on the table at that point.

“But I’m not going to get drawn about the choice I would make on that date when I don’t actually know what the real choices are. I don’t think any wise Prime Minister would do that.”

ConHome: “You did think aloud, actually it got you into a bit of hot water, about what would happen if the Conservative Party faced an election and hadn’t delivered Brexit – you used the word ‘disastrous’.”

Hunt: “Suicide.”

ConHome: “Does that mean, you’re the leader, for whatever reason things go wrong and you can’t get what you want through the Commons, are you therefore, in that situation, doomed to lead a campaign that’s going to lose?”

Hunt: “Look, the one choice I will not make, and this is my absolute commitment, is that I will not lead the party into a general election or provoke a general election until we’ve delivered Brexit.

“We cannot go back for another mandate from the British people until we deliver what we promised we’d do in the last mandate. So that’s what I was talking about in terms of political suicide.

“And my concern about the hard deadline is if Parliament then blocked it, it’s not as likely thankfully after last week but it’s still not impossible, and there’s always the no confidence motion route, you could then be in a situation where the only way you overcame a difficult Parliament was to force an election, and I think that would be catastrophic.

“Because if you look at what happened with the Peterborough by-election, we were squeezed by the Brexit Party on the Right and the Lib Dems on the Left. Labour comes through the middle.”

ConHome: “The question isn’t whether you’d choose one or provoke one, which would obviously be a crazy thing to do. It’s could you win one if it’s forced on you.”

Hunt: “You say I wouldn’t choose one or provoke one, but the candidates who said they will leave on 31st October come what May are choosing one if the Parliament blocks it.

“Because in order to honour that promise, they would have to take measures to overturn what Parliament is trying to do.

“That’s why I’m saying it’s a dangerous thing to do to have that hard deadline. It might be the only way you can keep that promise is to get a general election in order to change the parliamentary arithmetic.

“If I was forced into an election, well I don’t want to go there, that’s not what I want, but I think someone who had tried hard to get a deal would be far more likely to get the votes of 48 per cent of the country who voted Remain than someone who hadn’t tried.

“And if you look at the polling I saw yesterday that said I am best placed to get votes from both Remainers and Leavers, because Leavers know I am absolutely committed to leaving, but Remainers know I am absolutely committed to do so in a way that is positive.”

ConHome: “Do you now regret that in your party conference speech you compared the European Union to the Soviet Union?”

Hunt: “The point I was making in that speech is one that I stand behind, which is that the EU was set up as a club of free countries to stand together in the face of Soviet totalitarianism and to maintain freedom and democracy in Europe.

“And therefore it is not appropriate for the EU to act in a way that makes it impossible for someone to leave a club of free nations. That was the point I was making, and I do think the EU needs to behave in a fair way in these negotiations.

“And I believe that if we give them the right Prime Minister, who is prepared to engage with them, but also negotiate with the toughness and the determination that we need, I think we can get a deal that is right for the UK and allows us to leave.”

ConHome: “So does the EU need a sort of Gorbachev figure?”

Hunt: “Well I think that if you talk to European leaders, they do understand that Britain is one of the oldest democracies in Europe, and we have to respect what the people have decided.

“And it has to be a deal that allows us the parliamentary sovereignty that we voted for, including leaving the Customs Union. So I think they do understand that.

“I think they have sincere worries about the Northern Irish border. And so given that we’re clearly not going to be able to address those through the backstop, we have to find another way of doing it.

“And I happen to think the technology-led solutions are the right ones. But if they’re going to be the right way forward, then we’ll need to find a way of dealing with the issues that happen when people disagree about what technology’s capable of doing.”

ConHome: “Can they be done quickly?”

Hunt: “I believe they can be. The EU believes they can’t be. So that’s why we need to find a mechanism to arbitrate when there’s a disagreement.”

ConHome: “Because the Steve Baker/ERG position seems to be that you don’t need new technology at the moment to make alternative arrangements work.”

Hunt: “Yes, and I think their arguments are very compelling on that. But, you know, if you’re going to sign an agreement where there is a disagreement about something as fundamental as whether the technology can work, you need a mechanism to resolve that disagreement.”

ConHome: “Just on that Soviet Union point, no doubt some of this is anti-Hunt propaganda, but what is put around is ‘oh well, we can’t have Jeremy because he’s already blotted his copybook with the EU by comparing it to the Soviet Union, and Tusk got very cross and the Poles were infuriated, so he didn’t really understand the complexities of the issue and all that.’

“What do you say to that?”

Hunt: “I think it’s a curious argument to make when my rival is Boris. But look, the argument I was making is that if the EU is reasonable we will be reasonable, and we will find a way to leave the EU which means we can remain good neighbours and the best of friends.

“And I think that’s what people in this country want. If you leave without a deal, which in extremis I would do, but only in extremis, you are making it likely we will have very difficult relations with our neighbours for generations to come, and, you know, I don’t think that should be our first choice.”

ConHome: “For the party, one of the choices near the heart of this leadership election is this. The Prime Minister is on record as having said a hundred times we leave on 29th March. We didn’t leave.

“She then said we should leave in June. We didn’t leave in June. She said having European elections would be unacceptable. They happened.

“Now throughout this you and the other people at the top of the Cabinet, you’ve done your duty and served on, because that’s what you do, you’re serious people and serious ministers.

“But some people would say the danger is you’ve now been tarnished by association with what happened. And with the Brexit Party rampaging around we need something new.

“And people are just going to look at Jeremy Hunt or some of the other candidates and say, ‘It’s more of the same’.”

Hunt: “You don’t solve a problem by walking away from it. And I have many profound disagreements with Theresa May.

“Over the course of the Brexit negotiations, I did not want to settle when we had the backstop in place.

“I didn’t think that it would get through Parliament and I was unhappy with some of its provisions.

“But in the end the choice people are going to be making is who is going to do the right thing for the country and give us the best possible choices.

“And with respect to the Brexit Party, Lynton’s own polling, which let’s be clear has been produced for furthering the interests of one particular candidate, says that the majority of Brexit Party voters will not come back to us, even if Boris is leader.

“The only way we deal with the Brexit Party is to Brexit.

“So the question is who the person who is most likely to get us a Brexit that allows the country to move on.”

ConHome: “When the Prime Minister sought at one point to move you from Health, you stayed on for a bit, and it’s said you drew a comparison with an admiral or a captain in charge of a ship who didn’t think it was right to go.

“People don’t ask you very much about your background. Did you pick up this sense of duty from your father? What did you learn from having an admiral for a father?”

Hunt: “Well, my dad did have a very big influence on me, he’s not with us any more, I think everyone’s father has a big influence on them.

“In my dad’s case he had a tremendous sense of duty, but he always believed in basic human decency. He always believed that people, even if they get to the very top of the tree, should show decency to everyone around them.

“So in a probably rather imperfect way that is something I try to follow.”

ConHome: “When did you decide to go into politics? You were politically active at Oxford, weren’t you, before you then went abroad.”

Hunt: “I got very interested in politics at Oxford. I was hugely inspired by Margaret Thatcher, who was at the height of her powers between 1985 and 1988.

“And I got active with the Oxford University Conservative Association. But actually what she inspired me to do was start my business.”

ConHome: “Had you contested a seat before you contested the one you won?”

Hunt: “No, and I was rather horrified when I was selected for South West Surrey, because I didn’t for a moment think they’d choose me. It was a highly marginal seat and I really put my name forward for interview practice, because I had no experience of politics apart from university politics.

“Then to my shock they chose me, and I suddenly had the battle of my life, with a very dug-in Lib Dem candidate, who’d been doing nothing but politics his whole life, and had reduced the Conservative majority to just 861 votes.”

ConHome: “Although your head was not above the parapet, you were a decapitation seat in 2005.”

Hunt: “We were the number three Lib Dem target in the country. It was a time when the Lib Dems were very strong and were doing very very well. They had posters all over the constituency saying ‘861 to go’.

“I have an amazing team of people in South West Surrey but I know what it’s like to knock on every single door.”

ConHome: “There have been so many policy pledges flying around in this campaign it’s been quite difficult to keep up with them. You’ve been quite limited, haven’t you.

“You’ve made the point about corporation tax. What else have you pushed?”

Hunt: “To make a success of Brexit we have to turbo-charge the economy. In a decade’s time the verdict of history will be that Brexit was a success if our growth outpaced our European neighbours, and Brexit is a failure if it doesn’t.

“You look at America, which has GDP growth double ours at the moment, through some very smart business tax cuts that Trump introduced, and I think you’ve got to do something at the point of Brexit that shows the world that we are absolutely determined to become the most pro-business, pro-enterprise, fastest growing high-tech economy in Europe.

“And so the big symbolic thing that I would do would be to cut corporation tax to Irish levels, 12.5 per cent, which is one of the very lowest in Europe and even in the world.

“I would also look at capital allowances and cut business rates. These are not populist tax cuts. These are to send a message to the world that we are going to land an economic jumbo jet on the doorstep of Europe at the point of Brexit.

“My second big pledge is that we also need to send a signal to the world that Britain is out there, we are reaffirming our global vocation, and so I’ve said we will increase defence spending to beyond two per cent of GDP.

“The two other areas where I’ve made pledges are education, where our national blind spot is the 50 per cent of school leavers who don’t go to university.

“And then the final one is, as a party, our strategic priority has to be young people. I think the single thing that jars most with young people is the interest rate on tuition fees. I cannot explain on the doorstep why someone should be paying six per cent interest rate. It’s just not fair and I think we need to address that.”

ConHome: “It’s not a very long list compared to some of the other candidates.”

Hunt: “No, it’s a simple list, and I’ll tell you why. Because I think I’ve learned in government you have to have a very short list of things that you’re actually going to change.”

ConHome: “What’s Mrs Hunt making of all this?”

Hunt: “Mrs Hunt is the first to admit that when we got married she knew nothing at all about British politics. I was actually an MP when we met, but she didn’t even know what that meant.

“So she has been on a learning curve. But she is the most competitive, driven person I know. She is absolutely determined for me to succeed.

“And she’s an absolutely incredible person. For me, the benefit of having a foreign wife is they sometimes have a sensible sense of perspective about the madness of British politics.

“My daughter said to me this morning – by the way this is a seven-year-old girl – I’ve got some advice for you daddy: ‘Don’t criticise your rivals. Copy their best ideas.’

“That’s not bad for a seven-year-old.”

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Why can’t Trump convince Americans that the tax cuts worked?

Westlake Legal Group why-cant-trump-convince-americans-that-the-tax-cuts-worked Why can’t Trump convince Americans that the tax cuts worked? The Blog tax cuts refunds liberal media bias Joe Biden Economy donald trump

Westlake Legal Group TrumpPoints Why can’t Trump convince Americans that the tax cuts worked? The Blog tax cuts refunds liberal media bias Joe Biden Economy donald trump

With the economy booming and showing positive signs across the board, it’s something of a mystery why so many people continue to insist that everything is terrible and the world is about to end. That’s the issue being tackled by our friend Andrew Malcolm this week at his new home, Issues & Insights. (Be sure to check out the rest of the site as well. They have quite the stable of reporters and analysts.) The answer is probably to be found in perceptions rather than facts, as so often happens in politics these days.

After the weak growth of that endless Obama reign of error, along comes a New York billionaire businessman who leads a Republican Congress to pass historic tax cuts aimed at the middle class. Almost immediately, as Trump predicted, economic growth took off.

The ranks of employed Americans reached historically high levels while unemployment – even in historically high sectors like Hispanics and blacks — dropped to historic lows, 3.8% nationally. In a tightening labor market, wages grew for the first time this century.

And yet virtually every single major polling organization consistently finds more Americans disapprove of the tax cuts that benefitted them than approve. It’s 49 to 40 in Gallup, 49 to 36 in Pew, 43 to 34 in Monmouth.

Democrats won the tax-cut message battle saying it benefitted mainly the wealthy.

How did that happen? As Andrew points out, a casual study of what cable news and the major newspapers consider newsworthy probably has a lot to do with it. The President himself touts economic growth virtually every time there’s a microphone in front of his face or when he starts on a Twitter binge. But a 3.2 percent annualized first-quarter growth rate doesn’t seem to be “news” to most of the Fourth Estate, so you don’t have those numbers drilled into your head on a daily basis. Thus, when the pollsters come calling, people are saying that the tax cuts only benefited “the wealthy” in many cases.

Of course, it doesn’t help that the leader in the Democratic primary polling race, former VP Joe Biden, is out there repeating lies about the tax cuts. His recent attempt to undercut the economic effects of this policy was so bad that even the Washington Post fact checker had to award him four Pinocchios for it.

But on top of obvious media bias, I suspect Trump is battling something broader and more difficult to define. I’ve definitely sensed a growing tendency toward pessimism, cynicism or doom and gloom among political activists on both sides of the aisle these days. Jokes about how stupid or insane 2018 was were quickly replaced with snide comments about how “that’s so 2019.” I’ve been guilty of it myself.

Perhaps we’ve managed to condition ourselves to expect something awful to happen every day to the point that we’re unable to recognize the good news when it comes along. It’s as if we’re perpetually waiting for the other shoe to drop. By all metrics, we are living in what should be considered one of the more encouraging and hopeful periods the country has experienced in years. We should make an effort to focus on that for a while and just brighten up a little.

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Kessler gives Biden four Pinocchios on tax cuts

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Did you happen to catch this moment from Joe Biden’s campaign rally in Pittsburgh? As he worked to gin up the crowd and convince them that the Bad Orange Man wasn’t doing anything to help the little guy, he decided to take a swing at the 2017 tax cuts. Here’s what he said:

There’s a $2 trillion tax cut last year. Did you feel it? Did you get anything from it? Of course not. Of course not. All of it went to folks at the top and corporations.

Huh. That doesn’t seem to comport with what most reports have been saying. In fact, it was such a whopper that even Glenn Kessler, the WaPo fact checker, was forced to award Uncle Joe with the full four Pinocchios. And when you’ve lost Glenn Kessler (as a Democrat), you’ve developed a problem.

Here we go again. Democrats have long attacked President Trump’s tax cut in misleading ways, just as the president had peddled his own share of falsehoods.

The former vice president has never been known for turning a phrase with precision, but in his opening campaign speech, he told a whopper. Let’s take a look.

As we have explained before, any broad-based tax cut is going to mostly benefit the wealthy because they already pay a large share of income taxes. According to Treasury Department data, the top 20 percent of income earners paid 95.2 percent of individual income taxes in 2017. The top 10 percent paid 81 percent. The top 0.1 percent paid an astonishing 24.1 percent of taxes.

Because there are far more people in the middle class, there are fewer dollars to share per taxpayer when the savings from a tax cut are divvied up. The nonpartisan Joint Committee of Taxation estimates that 572,000 taxpayers will file returns with an income category of more than $1 million, compared with more than 27 million in the $50,000 to $75,000 category and almost 70 million in the under-$50,000 category.

There’s a lot of math to wade through, but Glenn eventually gets around to breaking down how the tax cuts wound up working for everyone, ranging from the very wealthy to the very poor. In the median income range – those individuals making between 50K and 75K per year – 82 percent received tax cuts averaging around $1,000. At the further ends of the income spectrum, it obviously works out differently. The highest earners got large tax cuts because they already pay the lion’s share of the taxes. (The top 10 percent of earners pay 81 percent of the taxes. The top 0.1 percent pay what Kessler describes as “an astonishing 24.1 percent of taxes.”)

But what about the poorest, low-income earners? That came up in Biden’s speech as well. And it’s true that the bottom ten percent on the income ladder didn’t get much of a tax cut to speak of. But that’s because they already pay almost no taxes to begin with. Somebody should pass a note to Joe Biden and remind him not to be afraid of the maths.

So what do we think? Was Joe Biden simply wrong about this because he hasn’t looked into it and didn’t know any better? Or was he lying about it? You’d think someone with that many years working inside the machinery of the legislative branch where tax laws are hammered out would be something of an expert on it., right? And if Joe is out there on the stump lying, I assume that the Washington Post is now under an obligation to call it “lying” and keep track of how often he does that. I mean, that’s the new standard in journalism where democracy dies in darkness and an apple isn’t a banana, right?

A likely explanation is that Biden has already calculated that he can’t run against Trump on claims that the President has done a bad job or that the country is going in the wrong direction. Absent a severe crash next winter, Donald Trump will be running on one of the best economies seen in many years. So Biden has to figure out ways to make success look like a failure, in addition to running on questions of character, morality or what have you. And I suppose part of that strategy is going to be asking voters who they believe about their own paychecks… Joe Biden or their own lying eyes?

The post Kessler gives Biden four Pinocchios on tax cuts appeared first on Hot Air.

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