Real tax reform…

…won’t happen. It never does. Lobbyists and special interests vie for their special deals, the GOP hauls out its debunked trickle-down economics theory to make the rich richer and widen the income gap, the middle class gets the shaft yet again, and the poor just become poorer as always. We don’t need a Sheriff of Nottingham or Prince John when federal, state, and local taxes are much more egregious than Robin Hood’s foes’ and make the revolutionary mantra “No taxation without representation!” completely meaningless.

The average citizen is burdened with tiers of taxes. Local ones are usually in the form of property taxes. They are often the worst in the sense that they’re not progressive; the many fees charged locally are regressive too. You start asking yourself, “Why can’t renters and businesses also pay for schools?” and “What can I do that doesn’t have an associated fee?” (In our town, for example, you have to pay $250 to chop down a diseased tree on your property, but I suppose the pain would be much worse if it ever fell on the easement the town owns in front—they own ten yards or so, yet we’re responsible for maintaining THEIR sidewalks!)

What’s good about Trump’s plan? Zero. Zilch. Nada. Nil. Everything is bad, but some items are worse than others. The major evil is the institutionalization of trickle-down: corporate taxes go from 35% to 20%. That will make Corporate America happy, I suppose, and the rich even richer—a GOP mantra—but it won’t help the economy at all because ordinary people will have even less wherewithal to spend on industry’s products. If Trump and the GOP don’t use trickle-down as justification, they haul out something more stupid and hypocritical like “taxing Corporate America is communism!” because those rich SOBs riding in from Connecticut to Wall Street on the commuter rail or driving on Silicon Valley’s highways equate socialism and communism and yet using the government-provided transportation system. Etc. Etc.

And every inane argument between those two extremes is spewed from the pulpits of people preaching Corporate America’s gospel! And sadly the latter’s congressional sycophants swallow this crap like it was caviar at one of their fancy Washington cocktail parties. Generic platitudes are regurgitated because corporations are all for helping people as long as they don’t have to pay for it. In fact, most of them pay more for advertising than they do in donations to social programs, and the latter are often written off as advertising too. Corporate moguls become philanthropic only after they become richer than many countries and philanthropy becomes a really good tax write-off. Even Hollywood, the biggest corporate entity in America when taken altogether, has jumped on that bandwagon.

But the benefits Corporate America accrues from a lopsided tax code don’t smack the middle class directly. Losing the deduction for state and local taxes does. The only reason Trump doesn’t want to eliminate the mortgage deduction is that his business interests are primarily in real estate—he’s a real estate mogul and pariah, he knows the real estate industry would crash as well as the banks that feed off it, and he needs the latter to borrow money because he feeds off that easy money too.

Many people can own their homes (if you consider being in debt to greedy and lawless banks “owning”) only because they can deduct mortgage interest and state and local taxes. Eliminating the last two takes two legs away from the three-legged stool home ownership sits on. We will find fewer people buying homes, which is also a negative for the housing industry. And Trump says he’s making the economy great again? C’mon!

There is no question we need real tax reform. Ending all those loopholes that Corporate America and the rich use often to end up paying zero taxes, for example. Prohibiting double and triple taxation by allowing deductions for ALL state and local taxes, including sales taxes, property taxes, and fees, and making ALL taxes progressive, NOT regressive. There are some deductions that need elimination—for example, we can eliminate a lot of the childcare deduction by making corporations of any size provide full-time employees with adequate childcare services as well as health care.

If there are any deficit hawks left in the GOP who are reading this and just don’t get it, they could ask how I’d pay for this? Any parasitic politico might ask that. So let’s start with the DoD, the most bloated and wasteful department in the federal government. Let’s have progressive taxes in communities so that corporations, renters, and home owners pay in proportion to their incomes. Government inefficiency and waste has to be curtailed and those responsible sent to jail—and I mean long jail terms, not home arrest.

But, like I said, real tax reform won’t happen. The tax code is like an old tire on one of those old cars Cuban drivers keep running in Cuba—there are more patches than original tire. That’s not reform; it’s a disaster waiting to happen.

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Rembrandt’s Angel (Penmore Press). How far would you go to recover a missing masterpiece? Have great fun this fall reading about the adventures of Scotland Yard’s Art and Antiques Inspector Esther Brookstone and her paramour/sidekick, Interpol agent Bastiann van Coevorden. Esther becomes obsessed with recovering Rembrandt’s “An Angel with Titus’ Features,” a painting stolen by the Nazis for Hitler’s museum. The crime-fighting duo goes after the painting and those currently possessing the painting, but the whole caper becomes much more dangerous as they uncover a conspiracy that threatens the security of Europe. With all the danger, their budding romance becomes full-blown. This book is available as an ebook on Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo, B&N, and Apple, and also as a print book from Amazon and your local bookstore (if they don’t have it, ask for them to order it). Check out the review and interview at Feathered Quill.

And so it goes….

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