Fricke column: Who killed America?
No, I am not promoting a book by Bill O’Reilly. A book with this title would be writing itself every day with Donald Trump as the president.
(By the way, I am still doing the happy dance since O’Reilly was fired from Fox News.)
Trump’s tax cuts will kill America. Specific details of Trump’s tax plan have not been published yet. It is not clear yet whether the newly proposed tax bracket reduction for individual Americans from seven to three contain any significant tax cuts.
Trump’s plan of reducing corporate and business taxes from 35 percent to 14 percent is the biggest joke ever. American corporations and the wealthy 1 percent who do pay taxes, always pay a much lower rate than 35 percent.
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According to the Citizens for Tax Justice, 73 percent of Fortune 500 companies have stashed $2.8 trillion in offshore tax havens in 2015. These companies have avoided up to $717.8 billion in U.S. taxes at that time. That tab has probably increased by now. This same group of companies collectively maintain at least 10,366 tax haven subsidiaries, some of which are located in Bermuda, the Cayman Islands and other popular offshore financial locations. I don’t see Trump reforming this giant loophole.
Who are the biggest tax avoiders? Apple, Goldman Sachs, General Electric, Pfizer, IBM, Boeing, Citigroup, Verizon, Johnson Controls and American Airlines, just to name a few of the biggest offenders. These companies also receive large amounts of corporate welfare ($92 billion a year, most of which goes to oil and gas companies) and $58 billion in offshore tax breaks and more.
In news coverage provided by the Associated Press last week, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Gary Cohn, an economic adviser, boasted that Trump’s tax reform would be the biggest and that it would pay for itself in economic growth. According to interviews of tax experts, Trump’s tax cuts would not create economic growth, and it would lose at least $5 trillion in revenue over a decade.
It is a big myth that tax cuts equal economic growth. Apparently, Trump’s advisers have a memory loss about President Reagan’s tax cuts. They were a financial and economic disaster. Reagan had to raise taxes later while the national debt increased. Trump and his advisers don’t get it. The old Reaganomics model has never worked. American history has proven that high taxes on corporations and the wealthy boost the middle class and grow the economy.
The Federal Reserve is sitting on $4 trillion it accrued due to its bogus bond-buying spree during the Great Recession called quantitative easing. The Fed claimed that it would stimulate the economy during the recession. Quantitative easing worked only for Wall Street, though. It increased the price of oil and inflated the price of shares on Wall Street. It did nothing to help the American people or the rest of the economy.
The Fed will make a decision later this year where the $4 trillion will be spent. Will the Fed invest it wisely in America or squander it on Wall Street again?
The Fed needs to invest part of this $4 trillion on the American people — free health insurance, free college tuition and more. Then the tax-avoiding corporations should be forced to adopt highways, bridges, sewer and water systems, and finance reconstruction of these infrastructure needs.
At first glance, Trump’s budget proposal looked like it would kill America, too, but Trump backed off the wall on Mexico’s border for now. Democrats and Republicans have negotiated a $1.1 trillion budget for the remainder of this fiscal year. Democrats negotiated to keep some key areas that Trump wanted to cut, such as Planned Parenthood funding, community block grants, health research and most of the EPA. If Trump signs this budget bill, the political battle over the 2018 budget will begin soon.
Trump will rely on the American taxpayers to hold this country together as other recent presidents have done. Corporate America has been killing America for a long time. Due to its financial hoarding, there has been little or no reinvestment in America for years. This is why our infrastructure is terrible. This is why American workers have low wages. This is why more than 43 million Americans are living in poverty. Trump’s economic policies will increase inequality in America.
Trump’s first 100 days have been the worst nightmare for the environment and for our nation.
Randy Fricke is an environmental advocate and political activist who lives in New Castle. He is the author of “If I Were President/Saving Main Street America.”
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