House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)
House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) said Wednesday that congressional Republicans will aim next year to reduce spending on both federal health care and anti-poverty programs, citing the need to reduce America's deficit.
“We're going to have to get back next year at entitlement reform, which is how you tackle the debt and the deficit,” Ryan said during an appearance on Ross Kaminsky's talk radio show. "... Frankly, it's the health care entitlements that are the big drivers of our debt, so we spend more time on the health care entitlements — because that's really where the problem lies, fiscally speaking.”
Ryan said that he believes he has begun convincing President Trump in their private conversations about the need to rein in Medicare, the federal health program that primarily insures the elderly. As a candidate, Trump vowed not to cut spending on Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid. (Ryan also suggested congressional Republicans were unlikely to try changing Social Security, because the rules of the Senate forbid changes to the program through reconciliation — the procedure the Senate can use to pass legislation with only 50 votes.)
“I think the president is understanding that choice and competition works everywhere in health care, especially in Medicare,” Ryan said. "...This has been my big thing for many, many years. I think it's the biggest entitlement we've got to reform.”
Ryan's remarks add to the growing signs that top Republicans aim to cut government spending next year. Republicans are close to passing a tax bill nonpartisan analysts say would increase the deficit by at least $1 trillion over a decade. Trump recently called on Congress to move to cut welfare spending after the tax bill, and Senate Republicans have cited the need to reduce the national deficit while growing the economy.
“You also have to bring spending under control. And not discretionary spending. That isn't the driver of our debt. The driver of our debt is the structure of Social Security and Medicare for future beneficiaries,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said last week.
While whipping votes for the tax bill, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) attacked “liberal programs” for the poor and said Congress needed to stop wasting Americans' money.
“We're spending ourselves into bankruptcy,” Hatch said. “Now, let's just be honest about it: We're in trouble. This country is in deep debt. You don't help the poor by not solving the problems of debt, and you don't help the poor by continually pushing more and more liberal programs through.”
Trump has not clarified which specific programs would be affected by the proposed “welfare reform,” though congressional Republicans are signaling that they aim to impose work requirements on food stamps and direct cash assistance for the poor.
“We have a welfare system that's trapping people in poverty and effectively paying people not to work,” Ryan told Kaminsky on Wednesday. “We've got to work on that.”
Liberals have alleged that the GOP will use higher deficits — in part caused by their tax bill — as a pretext to accomplish the long-held conservative policy objective of cutting government health-care and social-service spending, which the left believes would hit the poor the hardest.
“What’s coming next is all too predictable: The deficit hawks will come flying back after this bill becomes law,” said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), the ranking Democrat on the finance committee, during a speech on the tax debate. “Republicans are already saying 'entitlement reform' and 'welfare reform' are next up on the docket. But nobody should be fooled — that’s just code for attacks on Medicaid, on Medicare, on Social Security, on anti-hunger programs.”
On the Senate floor during the tax debate, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) asked Rubio and Sen. Patrick J. Toomey (R-Pa.) to promise that Republicans would not advance cuts to Medicare and Social Security after their tax bill. Toomey said that there was “no secret plan” to do so, while Rubio said he opposed cuts to either program for current beneficiaries. However, neither closed the door to changing the programs for future beneficiaries.
“I am not going to support any cuts to people who are on the program and need those benefits. But I want this program to survive,” Toomey said. To which Sanders responded: “He just told you he's going to cut Social Security.”
Many conservatives have long argued for cutting and changing social safety net programs, arguing that anti-poverty programs have failed and that Social Security spending is growing at an unsustainable rate.
Still, members of both parties have long been reluctant to cut benefits, especially for seniors, due in part to the potential political cost of doing so. In discussing changes, Republicans, including Rubio, have largely confined their ideas to plans that would affect new beneficiaries, rather than current ones.
But it may be particularly difficult for Republicans to push those measures ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, in which many in swing states and districts face well-funded Democratic challengers hoping to ride an anti-Trump wave into office.
Ryan said he's optimistic, adding that Republicans could target the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid next year in addition to Medicare, despite their failure to repeal the health care law in 2017.
“What it is we really need to convert our health care system to a patient-centered system, so we have more choices and more competition. Choice and competition brings down prices and improves quality; government-run health care is the opposite of that,” Ryan said. “So I think these reforms that we've been talking about, that we're still going to keep pushing, that will help not just make Medicaid less expensive ... but it will help Medicare as well.”

Trump tax cut plan will devastate public education

By Patrick Martin
6 December 2017
The tax cut legislation backed by the Trump White House is more than just a trillion-dollar windfall for the super-rich. The bills passed by the House and Senate in different forms will now be reconciled in a special conference, but both versions contain provisions that will devastate public education while promoting the growth of private and religious schools.
The largest single impact will come from eliminating the deduction for state and local income taxes, as proposed in both the House and Senate versions of the tax overhaul. Both versions also put a $10,000 cap on the deduction for state and local property taxes. These two forms of taxation supply the bulk of the funds for public education.
School districts across the country have warned that without the federal deductions to cushion the impact, it will be much harder to maintain existing state and local taxes to support public schools, let alone win the approval of millage increases. If state and local taxes are lowered to offset the loss of the federal deduction (or simply frozen at present levels, which means a reduction over time in real terms), the result would be a sharp fall in funding for public schools.
According to the National Education Association (NEA), the largest US teachers’ union, the House bill would threaten $250 billion in funding over 10 years, the Senate bill would threaten $370 billion in funding over the same period. At an average cost of $100,000 per employee, counting wages, health care, taxes and pension contributions, that means 250,000 to 370,000 school jobs would be at risk.
In other words, the Trump tax cut could have as devastating an impact on education as the 2008 Wall Street crash. The deep recession that followed the crash led to huge spending cuts by state and local government, resulting in the elimination of 366,000 school jobs during the ensuing six years. The Obama administration’s “stimulus” program did little or nothing to offset these drastic cuts.
The NEA released last month a state-by-state analysis of the prospective cuts in school spending, which would see the biggest impact in a handful of states with higher local and state tax rates: California ($63 billion), Georgia ($12.5 billion), Illinois ($14.3 billion), New Jersey ($22.2 billion), New York ($34.4 billion), Pennsylvania ($12.6 billion), Texas ($22.1 billion) and Virginia ($13.5 billion).
The tax bill also prohibits a form of local school funding: tax-free “advance refund bonds,” which allow school districts to refinance debt when interest rates are low, as they are now. This is simply a handout to bondholders, most of whom are wealthy investors, at the expense of the public schools.
The political goal of undermining and ultimately destroying public education was reflected in the passage of an amendment to the Senate bill, sponsored by ultra-right Texas Republican Ted Cruz, which allows holders of tax-free 529 accounts, originally set up to provide for college education, to use the money for private and religious elementary and secondary schools.
This is both a boon to the wealthy and a blow to public education: those who can afford to contribute up to $10,000 a year to 529 accounts will be able to use the money tax-free for private and religious school tuition. At the same time, working people who pay state and local taxes to support public schools will not be able to take a tax deduction on those payments.
In a statement to the press, Sasha Pudelski, assistant director for policy and advocacy at the American Association of School Administrators, said, “It’s crazy that we’re eliminating the ability of people to deduct their state and local taxes that go directly to local services, including schools... while at the same time providing a $10,000 incentive for folks to send their kids to private schools.”
What seems obviously crazy to school professionals, however, is perfectly logical to millionaire senators who represent the interests of the financial aristocracy. In the wake of the passage of the tax bill through the Senate, there have been a number of statements of open class hatred spewing from the mouths of top Republican leaders.
Charles Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, defended the sharp reduction—or outright elimination—of the estate tax on inherited wealth. “I think not having the estate tax recognizes the people that are investing,” he told the Des Moines Register. “As opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies.”
Orrin Hatch, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, who played a central role in drafting the tax legislation, made similar comments defending the Senate’s failure to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which extends Medicaid coverage to 9 million children in low-income families. “I have a rough time wanting to spend billions and billions and trillions of dollars to help people who won’t help themselves, won’t lift a finger and expect the federal government to do everything,” he said, referring to poor children, not the idle rich.
The attack on public education is veiled and not explicit in the language of both the House and Senate versions of the tax legislation. But the next round of congressional action will include public and open attacks on critical domestic social programs, justified, according to Trump and the congressional Republicans, by the very deficits they have aggravated through tax cuts for the wealthy.
As the Wall Street Journal noted, in a headline Tuesday, “After Push on Taxes, Republicans Line Up Welfare Revamp Next.” Trump signaled this shift in his appearance last week in Missouri at a campaign-style rally for the tax bill, which included a vicious denunciation of those who need social programs to survive in an attempt to pit low-paid workers against low-income welfare recipients in a race to the bottom.
“I know people that work three jobs and they live next to somebody who doesn’t work at all,” he declared. “And the person who is not working at all and has no intention of working at all is making more money and doing better than the person that’s working his and her ass off… So we’re going to go into welfare reform.”
The Democratic Party offers no alternative to this reactionary, ultra-right populism, because, like the Republicans, it is a political servant of the financial elite. The Democrats will offer different political rhetoric, with appeals to identity politics and even, in the form of Bernie Sanders, a claim to defend working people against the “millionaires and billionaires.”
But the Democratic Party also supports a major reduction in the corporate tax rate, the centerpiece of the Trump-Republican plan. Democratic-controlled state governments, as in California and New York, have pursued austerity policies just as ruthlessly as their Republican counterparts. And the Obama administration, in eight years in office, presided over the greatest transfer of wealth from the working class to the financial aristocracy in history. It is that experience that disillusioned millions of working people with the Democrats and created the conditions for the victory of Trump in 2016.
It is up to the working class to carry out an independent political struggle to defend public education and all basic social services, jobs, decent living standards and democratic rights. This requires a political break with the capitalist two-party system and the building of an independent party of the working class, based on a socialist program.


Last week, Trump declared at a Missouri rally, 

“We’re going to go on to welfare reform.” On 

Wednesday, Republican Senator Marco Rubio of 

Florida told business executives: “Many argue that 

you can’t cut taxes because it will drive up the 

deficit.” On the contrary, he argued, the costs can be 

offset by imposing “structural changes to Social 

Security and Medicare for the future.”



Following passage of Senate tax bill, US ruling class takes aim at Social Security and Medicare

4 December 2017
The passage by the Senate of the Trump administration’s tax bill is a landmark in the decades-long ruling class offensive against the working class in the United States.
With no serious opposition from the Democrats, and with final passage of a tax bill by the end of the month following negotiations with the House all but assured, congressional Republicans are moving on to the next stage of the class war agenda: the gutting of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.
The Senate version of the bill adds $1.5 trillion to the federal budget deficit, triggering automatic cuts in spending for Medicare, the federal health insurance program for the elderly, of half a trillion dollars over 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office, and setting the stage for massive cuts in other social programs.
Last week, Trump declared at a Missouri rally, “We’re going to go on to welfare reform.” On Wednesday, Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida told business executives: “Many argue that you can’t cut taxes because it will drive up the deficit.” On the contrary, he argued, the costs can be offset by imposing “structural changes to Social Security and Medicare for the future.”
Talk of “structural changes” is political jargon for the privatization of these bedrock programs upon which hundreds of millions of people depend and their destruction as guaranteed entitlements.
The envisioned cuts to entitlements will come on top of the hugely regressive provisions of the bill itself. Within 10 years, the Senate bill will increase taxes for households making under $75,000 while cutting taxes for households making more than that amount, with the richest 5 percent of the population getting the lion’s share of the total benefits. By 2027, the top 0.1 percent will see a two percent increase in their after-tax income, while the bottom 20 percent will suffer a decrease.
Both the Senate and House versions of the bill cut the corporate tax rate nearly in half, from 35 percent to 20 percent. They allow corporations to repatriate profits stashed overseas at a bargain basement tax rate of 14.5 percent or less, a windfall worth hundreds of billions of dollars for the world’s largest companies, already flush with cash.
The Senate version sharply reduces the estate tax on inherited wealth; the House version eliminates it entirely. The richest 0.2 percent of households, those with estates of $11 million or more, will be able to pass on their wealth to succeeding generations virtually intact, creating a modern version of a dynastic aristocracy. The House version of the bill imposes a huge tax increase on graduate students and the Senate version shifts funds from public schools to private and religious schools.
This brazen plundering of society by and for the rich is sailing through Congress with no real opposition from the Democrats. They support a massive tax cut for corporations, proposing only a somewhat smaller reduction, and have repeatedly complained that the Republicans are shutting them out and refusing to negotiate a bipartisan tax cut for the rich.
Such a piece of legislation could be adopted only because there is no organized resistance. The Democrats have made no appeal to popular opposition, which is widespread according to multiple opinion polls, and instead have concentrated on promoting the witch-hunt over alleged sexual mistreatment of women and the hysteria over supposed Russian meddling in the 2016 elections, both of which are being used to attack democratic principles of due process and the presumption of innocence and create the conditions for repression and censorship. These reactionary campaigns at the same time serve as a distraction while the ruling class raids the US Treasury and awards itself trillions in tax cuts.
The trade unions have likewise done nothing to oppose the tax bill, which comes as no surprise since they are controlled by people whose six-figure salaries place them among the elite who will personally profit.
The tax overhaul marks an escalation of the social counterrevolution carried out over the past four decades under Democratic as well as Republican administrations, in which tax cuts for corporations and the rich have played a central role. Following the 2008 Wall Street crash, this offensive was intensified.
The Obama administration pumped trillions of dollars into Wall Street through bank bailouts, near-zero interest rates and “quantitative easing” money-printing operations. This was accompanied by attacks on wages and pensions and budget cuts at the federal, state and local levels. Obama’s signature domestic program, Obamacare, was aimed at shifting the cost of health care from corporations and the government to working people.
The assault on the working class arises inexorably out of the capitalist system. For decades, the US ruling class has sought to offset the declining economic power of the United States, and the consequent pressure on corporate profits, through the redistribution of wealth and income from the working class to the rich.
This has been accompanied by the creation of a series of speculative bubbles, including the bubble of the late 1990s, the real estate bubble of the 2000s, and the present boom in the value of financial assets. Warnings abound that the latest bubble, which started after the bank bailout and has seen the Dow Jones Industrial Average more than triple, is overdue for a massive correction, possibly eclipsing the 2008 financial crisis.
The maintenance of the dizzying run-up in stock values requires an ever-more-aggressive upward redistribution of wealth to keep fresh cash flowing into the Ponzi scheme. As Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin put it, “To the extent we get the tax deal done, the stock market will go up higher.” He added a warning: “But there’s no question in my mind that if we don’t get it done you’re going to see a reversal of a significant amount of these gains.”
This helps explain the frantic pace with which the ruling elite has moved to rush the tax bill through Congress. The Senate vote concluded at about 2 AM Saturday morning without members having had a chance to review the bill, which arrived with changes scribbled in the margins in barely-legible handwriting.
In 2009, the World Socialist Web Site published a lecture by David North, “The Capitalist Crisis and the Return of History,” which argued that “the most essential feature of a historically significant crisis is that it leads to a situation where the major class forces within the affected country (and countries) are compelled to formulate and adopt an independent position in relationship to the crisis.”
North noted, “For the ruling classes, this process takes place rather naturally. They assume that their interests, political and economic, are the only ones of any importance.” For the working class, however, “the formulation of an independent attitude toward the crisis, with the necessary program and policies, is a more protracted social and political process.”
The ruling class has made clear its class response to the economic, political and social crisis gripping American society: More inequality, austerity and war.
The new stage in the social counterrevolution will inevitably provoke mass opposition. The critical question for the working class is the formulation of, and mobilization around, a political program as determined and thoroughly worked out as that of the ruling class—one that articulates its needs and interests. Such a program must call for the confiscation of the wealth of the capitalist class, the seizure of the major corporations and their transformation into public utilities under democratic ownership and control, and the reorganization of social and economic life on the basis of social equality—that is, a socialist program.
Andre Damon


"Huge tax cuts for the wealthy combined with a 

savage attack on working class wages to drive up 

economic inequality to staggering levels. Today, 

three American billionaires own more wealth than 

the bottom half of the population. Real wages have 

stagnated or declined since 1972."

Senate races to pass Trump tax cut for corporate America

By Barry Grey
1 December 2017
Following procedural votes that won the support of all 52 Republican senators, the US Senate on Thursday raced toward passage of a sweeping tax cut for corporations and the wealthy that will raise taxes on the working class and large sections of the middle class, starve the federal, state and local governments of revenues, and set the stage for the dismantling of basic entitlement programs such as Medicare and Social Security.
In a travesty of democratic procedure, a measure that will further restructure American society to benefit the ruling oligarchy at the expense of the mass of the population is being rushed through Congress without so much as a public hearing. Parliamentary gimmicks and backroom horse-trading are being used to impose the tax overhaul on a public that has been largely kept in the dark about its provisions, but nevertheless expresses mass opposition in opinion polls.
A floor vote is expected on Friday, and Republican leaders of the House of Representatives are calling on their members to reassemble early Monday to begin reconciling the Senate bill with a House version passed earlier this month. The prospect of early passage of a final bill, to be signed into law by President Trump before the end of the year, set off an explosion of euphoria and greed on Wall Street.
All of the major stock indexes soared to new record highs. The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 331 points, its biggest one-day gain of the year, to close well beyond the 24,000 mark, ending the session at 24,272.
A party-line vote on Wednesday to bring the Senate bill to the floor triggered a 20-hour debate followed by a so-called “vote-a-rama,” in which hundreds of amendments are submitted and disposed of in a rapid-fire and meaningless parliamentary charade.
Senate Republicans were hoping to hold a floor vote Thursday night, but were delayed when the nonpartisan congressional Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) reported Thursday afternoon that the Republican plans, even assuming increased federal tax revenues from faster economic growth, would still result in a $1 trillion deficit by 2027. This analysis, broadly confirming a host of previous reports by economic think tanks and organizations, shattered one of the Big Lies being used to ram through the tax overhaul—the claim that the loss of $1.5 trillion in federal revenues due to tax breaks, going overwhelmingly to corporations and the rich, would be offset by a massive growth in tax income resulting from a more rapid rate of economic expansion.
Three Republican senators who had expressed reservations about the tax bill, including retiring senators Bob Corker and Jeff Flake, responded to the JTC report by demanding changes in the bill to add $500 billion in additional tax revenues. This sent Republican leaders and the White House scrambling to come up with band-aid fixes that would satisfy the Republican holdouts. With a narrow margin of 52 Republicans to 46 Democrats and two nominal independents who vote with the Democrats, the Republicans can afford to lose only two votes from their caucus to obtain a majority, including, if necessary, a tie-breaking vote by Vice President Mike Pence.
Nevertheless, Corker and Flake indicated they were prepared to vote in favor of the bill in its final form.
The ruthless and antidemocratic class character of the bill is reflected in the absurd lies being marshaled on its behalf. The cynically misnamed “Tax Cut and Jobs Act” is being promoted as a “middle-class” tax cut designed to create jobs and increase wages for “hard-working” taxpayers.
Leading the charge in this exercise in mass deceit is the billionaire con man-turned-president, Donald Trump. At a campaign-style event in Missouri on Wednesday, Trump declared, “Our focus is on helping the folks who work in the mailrooms and machine shops of America, the plumbers and the carpenters, the cops and the teachers, the truck drivers and the pipe fitters.”
He added, “This is going to cost me a fortune, this thing, believe me.” In fact, it is estimated that the Trump family will personally benefit from the tax overhaul to the tune of $1.1 billion.
The basic outlines of the House and Senate bills make a mockery of claims that they are geared to the needs of working people. The heart of both bills is a drastic cut in corporate taxes from 35 percent to 20 percent, which will save corporations $2 trillion over the next decade and increase their revenues by $6.7 trillion by 2037.
The official line that this will make US corporations more internationally competitive, leading to a surge in productive investment and the creation of good-paying, secure jobs, is belied by the fact that US corporations already pay an effective (i.e., real) tax rate of 19.4 percent, less than that of their global competitors. Corporate tax revenue in the US has fallen from 4 percent of the gross domestic product in 1967 to just 1.6 percent in 2016.
Moreover, US corporations are already making record profits, but instead of investing in new plants and equipment and hiring workers at decent wage rates, they are hoarding some $2 trillion and plowing most of the rest into stock buybacks and other forms of parasitical activities designed to drive up the personal wealth of CEOs and big investors.
Other provisions in both the House and Senate bills include drastic cuts or outright elimination of the estate tax, a measure that will benefit the richest 0.2 percent of the population and establish a de facto aristocracy of inherited wealth. The tax plans eliminate the alternative minimum tax, which is paid by the wealthiest households, and lower the top individual tax rate or raise the threshold for its application.
The Senate bill repeals the Obamacare individual mandate requiring people not covered by their employer or the government to purchase private health insurance, a change that will result in 13 million fewer people with health insurance by 2027 and a 10 percent per year increase in premiums for those who continue to purchase insurance on government-managed exchanges, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
The bill also eliminates all income tax deductions on state and local taxes. This provision, which will jack up federal taxes for millions of working people, is designed to achieve two goals: first, to rob ordinary taxpayers to help defray the cost of massive tax cuts for corporations and the rich; and, second, to make it politically impossible for state and local governments to raise taxes and force them to slash social services.
The House version eliminates most state and local tax deductions and, in addition, repeals tax deductions for medical expenses and nursing home care, limits tax deductions for home mortgage interest, and attacks college students by ending tax deductions for student loan interest and taxing tuition waivers for graduate students. Both versions impose taxes on university endowments. It is estimated that the House bill will cost college students $65 billion over the next ten years.
Both bills adopt the so-called “chained” Consumer Price Index for adjusting tax brackets and other tax provisions for inflation. Since the chained CPI underestimates inflation, more low- and middle-income families will be pushed into higher tax brackets and receive fewer benefits such as the earned income tax credit. Over the next decade, this change will cost families $134 billion, and the impact will worsen in future years. In 2027 alone, according to Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation, families will lose $31.5 billion.
As a result, households earning less than $30,000 will begin to pay higher taxes as early as 2019. By 2021, all income groups making less than $40,000 a year will be net losers, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). As of 2027, everyone making less than $75,000 will be paying higher taxes.
The rich, and especially the very rich, will, on the other hand, make huge gains. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, half of all tax cuts will go to the top 1 percent, those making more than $700,000 a year. The top 0.1 percent will receive up to 30 percent of total tax cuts.
Moreover, the tax plan is designed to provide the biggest percentage tax savings to the richest Americans, assuring that America, already the world’s most unequal developed economy, will become far more unequal.
There are other reactionary provisions, completely unrelated to tax policy. These include the repeal of a 1954 law banning churches from partisan political activity and the opening up of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.
In a Wall Street Journal column on Thursday, Republican operative Karl Rove spelled out the agenda for using the sharp increase in the federal deficit as justification for gutting basic social programs. Noting that the Congressional Budget Office predicts that the public debt will rise from 75.5 percent of GDP in fiscal year 2017 to 85.6 percent in 2026, he says, “This will require congressional Republicans to tackle mandatory spending, which is made up mostly of Social Security and Medicare.”
The CBO has warned that the tax bills could trigger automatic cuts in Medicare totaling $25 billion a year.
In the face of this unprecedented plundering of society for the benefit of a criminal financial elite, the Democrats are carrying out a token and two-faced show of opposition. They fully support a massive tax cut for corporations, quibbling only over the scale of the windfall for the rich. At the same time, they are pleading for Trump and the Republicans to enter into negotiations on a bipartisan tax cut plan.
They are far more focused on their witch hunts over alleged Russian meddling and alleged sexual improprieties by male entertainers and politicians, reactionary diversions that facilitate the assault on the social and democratic rights of the working class.

A massive tax cut for his plundering Goldman Sachs infested administration.


"During the same month that Schlafly had backed Trump for his “America First”


agenda, Nielsen’s committee released an ideologically-globalist report, promoting


the European migrant crisis as a win for big business who would profit greatly


from a never-ending stream of cheap, foreign migrants."


Graduate students protest Republican tax bill

By our reporters
1 December 2017
Thousands of graduate students and faculty members from over 40 US universities protested Wednesday against the provision to tax graduate student tuition waivers included in the Republican tax plan which passed the US Senate Committee earlier this week.
The protests, which were mostly called by various graduate student unions, took place in New York City, Alabama, California, Minnesota and Kansas. Two of the largest demonstrations occurred at UC Berkeley (300-400 graduate students) and the University of Minnesota.
The American Council for Education has calculated that the combined effect of all the House bill’s provisions on higher education would increase its cost by $65 billion over the next 10 years. Graduate students would be the hardest hit.
According to an analysis by UC Berkeley, taxes for a campus teaching assistant at this institution, which charges some $13,793 of tuition per year, would rise by 61 percent or $1,400 per year, and by 31 percent for a research assistant.
Emma Carroll, a Ph.D. student at UC Berkeley’s molecular and cell biology department, told that her stipend was “just enough to cover basic expenses.” The extra taxes could force many of her fellow students to drop out and younger ones to avoid graduate education altogether. She said: “In our field, you have to go to graduate school. It’s akin to an attack on biomedical research as a whole, which is not a partisan issue. Everyone gets cancer.”
The increase would be even higher at private institutions such as New York University, the University of Southern California or MIT, which charge around $50,000 in annual tuition. At MIT, for instance, which has an annual tuition rate of $49,600, taxes for graduate students would more than triple to $13,577, according to a report by Most graduate students have an annual stipend of less than $30,000. Most of the American graduate students have to pay off massive amounts of student debt from their undergraduate studies.
Especially in California and New York, where rents and the total cost of living are extremely high, graduate student life would become impossible if this tax provision was to be implemented. Graduate student education would become accessible only to the super-rich and virtually all branches of the natural sciences and humanities would be starved of new researchers.
Reporters for the World Socialist Web Site spoke to protesters at the graduate student walkout in New York City’s Union Square which drew some 100 students from Columbia University, New York University, the City University of New York and the New School University. Banners said, “Kill the bill” and “Tax the rich.” Chants included, “Tax the rich, not the poor, you won’t have TA’s [Teaching Assistants] no more.”
Taylor, a graduate student of history at NYU, said: “I came here to protest the GOP bill because I just want to be able to exist in this world, in academia. Especially living in New York City, I don’t think I would be able to go to grad school anymore if this bill gets through. I also need to pay off student loans. I think education should just be kept accessible for people from all economic backgrounds. It is true that it is hardly accessible for everyone now, but this bill would make it even worse.”
Irinia, a Ph.D. student in psychology at CUNY, told the WSWS: “I'm an international student, I’m from Argentina and am studying here on a research fellowship. I think that if this bill passes, international students won’t be coming to the US anymore and at this point, they often constitute about 50 percent of the classes [at the graduate level]. In general, what is going on politically now in the US is pretty scary.”
Austin, who is a graduate student in the physics department of NYU, said: “It is clear that this bill is for the wealthy and the donors who finance those who are proposing this legislation. It will be difficult to remove all the money from the political system, I think it’s kind of hopeless.”
Kim Adams is in the graduate program for a Ph.D. in English at New York University and a member of Graduate Student Organizing Committee (GSOC). She explained to the WSWS, “Under the tax bill, my tax bill would go up because the tuition charge that NYU waives would be claimed to be income, even though I never see this income. If I were still in course work, my taxable income would double because, with the college charging $8,000 for a class, I would have a larger tuition waiver. I am almost done with my program but the tax charge would mean I need to take on the burden of teaching an extra course to make up the difference. However, for someone just starting out, a newly promising student may just go to another career when faced with this larger cost.”
Pauline, a passerby who decided to join the protest, told a reporter: “I believe that all student debt and medical debt should be canceled. These debts are negatively impacting on our mental health. The corporate media say that we are divided, but there is a growing opposition to austerity. The 2008 bailout of the banks was widely unpopular. There is an increasing opposition to economic inequality.”
The rally was politically dominated by the universities’ graduate unions, especially the GSOC and the pseudo-left organizations such as the International Socialist Organization (ISO) and the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). Encouraging the chant of pro-union songs (“Get up, get down, New York is a union town”), they all avoided discussing both the political significance of the tax bill at large and the role of the Democratic Party in the bipartisan assault on higher education.
Their perspective amounts to pressuring the Democratic Party to make limited and temporary concessions to the interests of academics and graduate students. The Senate tax bill does not include the provision to tax graduate tuition waivers as income. It will likely be put to a full vote this week and if it passes, both tax plans would have to be reconciled. The main aim of the graduate student unions at this point is to pressure Democratic senators and congressmen to vote for a version of the tax bill which, while still providing for a massive transfer of wealth from the working and middle classes to the oligarchy, would not directly attack graduate students.
A genuine and successful struggle in defense of higher education requires a break with precisely this perspective and a turn of students toward the working class.

"Finally, by putting a $1.5 trillion hole in the budget, the tax 

plan will accelerate demands for slashing Medicare, Medicaid 

and Social Security, together with other forms of social 

spending, to plug the gap."

OBAMA’S CRONY BANKSTERISM destroyed a TRILLION DOLLARS in home equity… and they’re still plundering us!
Barack Obama created more debt for the middle class than any president in US history, and also had the only huge QE programs: $4.2 Trillion.

OXFAM reported that during Obama’s terms, 95% of the wealth created went to the top 1% of the world’s wealthy.

The US tax bill: A massive handout to the financial elite

18 November 2017
On Thursday, the US House of Representatives passed a sweeping bill that will slash taxes on the wealthy and hike taxes on millions of working class households, in a move that will further fuel social inequality in the world’s most unequal developed country.
Since the 1960s, the slashing of top income and corporate tax rates has been a major driving force in the phenomenal growth of social inequality in the United States. Now, under the fascistic billionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump, this process is being kicked into overdrive.
The centerpiece of the bill is the reduction of corporate tax rates by almost half, from 35 to 20 percent, at an estimated public cost of $1.5 trillion, making US corporate taxes the lowest since 1939. This will dramatically accelerate the fall in effective corporate taxes that has taken place since the 1950s, when the effective tax rate was 50 percent, to today, when it is less than 20 percent.
Next, the financial elite is salivating over the abolition of the estate tax, which the bill mandates by 2025, providing a massive windfall to the top 0.2 percent of households.
According to a report published last month by UBS, more than half of all billionaire wealth in the US is controlled by individuals older than 70, and the US financial elite has been waiting for the abolition of the estate tax to transfer its wealth to the next generation. The abolition of the estate tax would be a major step toward making the United States a hereditary oligarchy, in which wealth is passed down dynastically without any diminution.
According to the non-partisan Joint Committee on Taxation, under the Senate version of the bill, by 2027 every family earning below $75,000 per year will see a tax hike, and every family making above $100,000 per year will see a tax cut.
The bill includes provisions that are little more than cruel and insulting. Alongside a tax break for the ownership and maintenance of private jets, it mandates the elimination of tax deductions for graduate student stipends and tuition reimbursement. The Harvard Crimson wrote that the result would be a 400 percent tax increase on graduate students, who are often massively underpaid.
Finally, by putting a $1.5 trillion hole in the budget, the tax plan will accelerate demands for slashing Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, together with other forms of social spending, to plug the gap.
While Democratic politicians mouthed criticisms of the Republican-sponsored bill, its most important measure, the corporate tax cut, has been a major element in the Democratic playbook. The Obama administration’s 2016 budget, for example, called for lowering the corporate tax rate to between 28 and 25 percent.
The New York Times, a leading mouthpiece for the Democratic Party, wrote in an editorial this week, “The Right Way to Cut Corporate Taxes,” that “Republicans are right about the corporate tax system being broken.” The newspaper added, “If Republicans worked with Democrats… they could reach a compromise to lower the top corporate tax rate to between 25 percent and 28 percent.”
On Thursday, the Times and leading Democratic politicians were far more concerned with whipping up a series of sex scandals, centered around Republican Alabama senate candidate Roy Moore and Democratic Senator Al Franken.
As expected, all three US stock indexes soared on Thursday following passage of the bill by the House of Representatives. Since the election of Donald Trump, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has shot up by 17 percent, and it has more than tripled in value since the 2008 financial crash.
In an interview last month, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin made clear that a major driving force in the run-up in prices has been the expectation that the Trump administration is going to slash taxes on corporations and the super-rich.
“There is no question that the rally in the stock market has baked into it reasonably high expectations of us getting tax cuts and tax reform done,” said Mnuchin. “To the extent that we get the tax deal done, the stock market will go up higher.” He also made clear that Wall Street would not accept any slowdown in the upward redistribution of wealth. “There’s no question in my mind that if we don’t get it done, you’re going to see a reversal of a significant amount of the gains,” he said.
The comments by Mnuchin, the former Goldman Sachs banker worth nearly half a billion dollars, are just one expression of the stranglehold of the financial elite over political, social and economic life in the United States. The first and last priority of American society is the continuous enrichment of this financial oligarchy.
The United States is the most socially unequal developed country in the world. Just three men— Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Jeff Bezos—have between them more wealth than the bottom half of the American population. The world’s billionaires have had their wealth shoot up by $1 trillion over the past year, driven by central bank money creation, tax cuts and incentives, and the continuous assault on the social position of the working class.
The domination of the financial elite, in the United States and around the world, over human civilization is the root cause of every serious problem of modern society, from poverty, homelessness, and drug addiction, to war. The ending of these evils requires the radical transformation and reorganization of society in the interest of social needs, not private profit.
Andre Damon

THE ENDLESSLY HISPANDERING DEMOCRAT PARTY funded by Wall Street’s biggest criminals says it is “ALL NEW”…. 

Meaning open borders to keep wages depressed and no regulation of plundering banks!

It’s Obama’s wet dream!

"The Dodd-Frank bill, which created it, was an effort by the Obama administration and the Democrats, who then controlled Congress, to pretend to crack down on Wall Street while actually doing very little."

Democrats posture as opponents of Wall Street in CFPB dispute

By Patrick Martin
28 November 2017
In what can only be described as a stage-managed publicity stunt, the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Board, Democrat Richard Cordray, resigned abruptly on Friday after promoting his chief of staff, Leandra English, to the long-vacant position of deputy director.
English then declared herself to be Cordray’s successor and acting director, under the provisions of the Dodd-Frank bill, which established the CFPB in 2010 to act as an extremely limited, essentially toothless consumer watchdog on the depredations of US financial institutions.
The Trump White House, momentarily confused by the maneuver since Cordray had been expected to resign a week later, hastily named Budget Director Mick Mulvaney the acting director of the CFPB, and instructed English to report to Mulvaney as his deputy.
On Sunday night, English filed a civil lawsuit with the US District Court for Washington DC, seeking a declaratory judgment that she was the rightful CFPB director. However, the CFPB’s own general counsel, Mary McLeod, issued a memorandum to the agency’s employees instructing them that Mulvaney, as the nominee of the president, had the legal authority to direct the agency.
On Monday, Mulvaney visited the CFPB and took possession of the director’s office, announcing that he was halting all new hiring and regulatory actions for 30 days, pending a review of the agency’s operations.
While the 1,600 employees of the agency are concerned about an imminent threat to their jobs and livelihood—Mulvaney is an open enemy who, while in Congress, described the CFPB as a “sick joke” and advocated its abolition—the actions of Cordray, English and their Democratic congressional supporters are purely a political stunt.
There is little doubt that Trump has the authority, as president and head of the executive branch, to name interim replacements for vacancies at any executive agency. This authority is further codified in legislation enacted as recently as 1998.
The CFPB has been the subject of political posturing by both Republicans and Democrats since it was established six years ago in the wake of the 2008 Wall Street Crash. The Dodd-Frank bill, which created it, was an effort by the Obama administration and the Democrats, who then controlled Congress, to pretend to crack down on Wall Street while actually doing very little.
The Republicans, for their part, treated the CFPB as the second coming of the Bolsheviks, claiming that the tiny agency, with little enforcement power, was a threat to US financial markets and to the capitalist system itself.
Each capitalist party has used the agency for its own political purposes, while the CFPB itself has been nothing more than a minor annoyance to Wall Street. In six years of operation, it has been responsible for fines and restitution to consumers totaling $12 billion, or $2 billion a year. This amounts to barely one percent of the net profits of the US financial industry ($173 billion in 2016), and less than one half of one percent of bank revenues alone (over $400 billion and rising every year since the 2008 crash).
Cordray’s own role personifies the uses of the CFPB as a political cover. He was named to head the agency after Obama caved in to Republican opposition to Elizabeth Warren, his initial choice. Warren parlayed her undeserved reputation as a scourge of the bankers, and victim of the Republicans, into a successful campaign for a US Senate seat from Massachusetts.
Cordray’s fixed five-year term runs until July 1, 2018, so he was practically the sole Obama appointee to continue serving in the Trump administration. But he decided to abandon the post eight months early—and thus cede control of the CFPB to Trump—in order to seek the Democratic nomination for governor of Ohio. He then engineered the handover of authority to English, setting off the subsequent media firestorm, to jet-propel his own political campaign.

More broadly, the obvious determination of the Trump administration to stamp out even a fig leaf of accountability for the big banks allows the Democratic Party as a whole to adopt the stance of opposition to Wall Street.
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer met with Leandra English and Elizabeth Warren Monday afternoon, and then denounced Trump for “putting the fox in charge of the henhouse.” So says the paid agent of the foxes, who has received more campaign contributions from Wall Street than anyone else in Congress.

Schumer’s deputy, Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois, hailed the CFPB, declaring, “Wall Street hates it like the devil hates holy water”—perhaps uttering an inadvertent truth, since the CFPB is precisely as useless as holy water in fighting the domination of Wall Street over the US economy.



CHICAGO’S BLACK GANG LAND…. Is what happens when bankster Rahm Emanuel and his corrupt Obama party turned the city under!

The Lawlessness of the Obama Administration: A never-ending story

CHICAGO’S BLACK GANG LAND…. Is what happens when bankster Rahm Emanuel and his corrupt Obama party turned the city under!





“Obama’s new home in Washington has been described as the “nerve center” of the anti-Trump opposition. Former attorney general Eric Holder has said that Obama is “ready to roll” and has aligned himself with the “resistance.” Former high-level Obama campaign staffers now work with a variety of  groups organizing direct action against Trump’s initiatives. “Resistance School,” for example, features lectures by former campaign executive Sara El-Amine, author of the Obama Organizing .”

“If the Constitution did not forbid cruel and unusual punishment, the sentence I
would like to see imposed would place both Bill and Hillary Clinton in the same 8-

THE DIRTY DEALS of DIRTY HILLARY….. looting anything that moves!

Harvey Weinstein has been exposed in the media as the sexual predator he is, and Hillary Clinton has been exposed as the craven money-grubber she is; money over morality is the mantra she lives by. PATRICIA Mc CARTHY – AMERICAN THINKERcom
 "But what the Clintons do is criminal because they do it wholly at the expense of the American people. And they feel thoroughly entitled to do it: gain power, use it to enrich themselves and their friends. They are amoral, immoral, and venal. Hillary has no core beliefs beyond power and money. That should be clear to every person on the planet by now."  ----  Patricia McCarthy -

US Senate committee passes tax windfall for the rich

By Barry Grey
29 November 2017
The Senate version of the Republican bill to slash taxes for corporations and the rich won approval on a 12-to-11 party-line vote of the Senate Budget Committee on Tuesday, setting the stage for its likely passage by the full Senate later this week. The House of Representatives passed a similar measure, also on a party-line vote, earlier this month.
Congress, backed by the Trump White House,
is hurtling toward the implementation of the 
most brazen and far-reaching corporate raid 
on the federal Treasury in US history. The 
measure being rushed through Congress, without 
public hearings and by means of legislative short 
cuts, gimmicks and behind-the-scenes horse-trading 
between political frontmen for various financial 
interests, will dramatically cut taxes for big business 
and the wealthy while increasing taxes on the 
working class.
It will reduce federal tax revenues by between $1.4 trillion and $1.5 trillion over the next decade, sharply raising the federal deficit. Republican leaders such as House Speaker Paul Ryan and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady have already indicated that the increased deficit will be used as justification for laying siege to what remains of the basic social programs dating from the 1930s and 1960s: Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
Both the House and Senate bills reduce the corporate tax rate from the current 35 percent to 20 percent, saving corporations trillions of dollars. They also dramatically slash taxes for other business owners and wealthy families, consolidate an aristocratic caste at the very top by cutting or eliminating the estate tax on hereditary wealth, and, in general, plunder the national economy in order to further enrich the ruling class.
The tax “reform” will make the United States, 
already the most unequal developed economy 
in the world, far more unequal.
Wall Street celebrated the forward progress of the Senate bill by driving all three major stock indexes to new record highs. The Dow Jones Industrial Average shot up by 255 points, gaining more than 1 percent and closing in on the 24,000 mark. The broader Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 0.98 percent and the Nasdaq picked up 0.49 percent.
The Budget Committee vote followed a luncheon meeting on Capitol Hill between President Trump and Senate Republicans, which Trump in a later White House appearance described as a “love fest.” Virtually all of the half-dozen Senate Republicans who have withheld support for the Senate bill emerged from the meeting signaling their readiness to back it when it comes up for a floor vote.
Two of these senators, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Bob Corker of Tennessee, are members of the Budget Committee and had threatened to vote against the measure, blocking it from coming up for a vote by the full Senate. Johnson has been holding out for a tax reduction for owners of so-called “pass through” businesses even greater than the 17.4 percent included in the current version of the Senate bill. A recent University of Chicago Study concluded that 69 percent of income from such businesses—where the owners pay the individual income tax rate rather than the corporate rate—goes to the top 1 percent of US earners.
Corker has demanded the addition of a trigger mechanism that would require taxes to be raised if federal revenues after a certain period fall short of congressional projections. Both said Tuesday they were confident their concerns would be addressed before a final bill is worked out between the House and Senate and signed by Trump, who has pledged to do so by Christmas.
Susan Collins of Maine, who has criticized the addition in the Senate bill of a repeal of the Obamacare individual mandate, which requires people not insured by their employer or the government to purchase insurance on the private market, said, “I believe that a lot of my concerns, it appears, are going to be addressed and that I’m going to be getting the opportunity to offer amendments on the senate floor.”
She added that Trump had pledged to support legislation restoring Obamacare subsidies to private insurers, which he had removed by executive order, if the individual mandate was repealed. The Congressional Budget Office has concluded that repeal of the individual mandate will result in four million fewer people having health insurance next year and 13 million fewer by 2027, along with a 10 percent yearly rise in premiums for those who continue to buy insurance on government-managed exchanges.
The Republicans control the Senate by a narrow 52 to 48 margin, meaning they can afford only two “no” votes from their caucus, since the Democrats are expected to vote as a bloc against the measure. A 50-50 tie would result in a Trump-Republican victory, since Vice President Mike Pence would cast the tie-breaking vote.
To avoid a Democratic filibuster and the need to marshal 60 votes, the Republicans are making use of the parliamentary maneuver of moving the bill under the “budget reconciliation” process. This requires, however, that the resulting deficit be kept below $1.5 trillion and not grow further after ten years.
To achieve this while ensuring a $6.7 trillion 
increase in corporate revenues by 2037 and 
hundreds of billions in tax breaks for the 
richest 5 percent, they raise taxes elsewhere, 
resorting to cruel tax measures that punish 
working families and end up raising their 
The Senate bill makes cuts in individual income tax rates temporary, reverting back to the current rates after five years, while corporate tax cuts are permanent. It eliminates deductions on state and local taxes and terminates tax breaks on medical expenses, student loan interest, tuition deferments and a host of other expenses that disproportionately impact low- and middle-income households.
As a result, according to the Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation, on average, households making less than $30,000 will start seeing negative effects in 2019 and households making less than $75,000 will become worse off in 2027. By that time, 50 percent of Americans will see their taxes rise.
Meanwhile, according to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, half of the tax cuts will go to the top 1 percent of households, those making more than $700,000 a year. The top 0.1 percent will receive up to 30 percent of total tax cuts.
The Democrats are putting on a show of opposition to this naked piece of class legislation, but on an entirely cynical and token basis. The Obama administration called for a cut in corporate taxes to between 25 percent and 28 percent, a massive transfer of wealth to the corporate elite that the Democratic Party continues to support.
As part of their political theatrics, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi boycotted a scheduled White House meeting with Trump and Republican congressional leaders on Tuesday to discuss extending the federal budget. The current extension expires on December 8, and without a further one, the federal government will be forced to partially shut down.
The Democratic leaders announced they would not attend after Trump issued a tweet Tuesday morning denouncing the Democrats for raising taxes, starving the military and supporting “illegal” immigration. He added that he did not believe a deal could be reached to avert a government shutdown.
Schumer was more forthright on the Democrats’ position on the tax bill when he spoke on the floor of the Senate later in the day, pleading once again for negotiations with the Republicans to work out a reactionary bipartisan compromise.
“It’s an issue crying out for a bipartisan solution,” Schumer declared. “There are a lot of areas where we agree. We have to work to find a middle ground that’s acceptable to both parties.”

The US Senate tax bill: The financial oligarchy on the rampage

2 December 2017
Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Friday afternoon that he had the necessary 50 votes to pass the tax cut for the wealthy and giant corporations through the Senate. Voting on a series of amendments by Democrats, all rejected on 52-48 party-line votes, will likely culminate in final passage of the measure Friday night or early Saturday morning.
The undemocratic process by which the tax cut bill has been pushed through the House and Senate testifies to its reactionary and socially criminal character. There have been no public hearings, no witness testimony, no submissions from economists or tax experts about the impact of the massive changes proposed in the federal tax code.
As late as 4:15 p.m., as debate continued on amendments to the bill, the actual text of the legislation was not available to senators preparing to vote on it, let alone the American people. Handwritten pages were being pasted into the bill after they had been reviewed and approved by corporate lobbyists. Entire chapters accounting for hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue were being rewritten behind closed doors to satisfy the demands of the last few Republican holdouts.
For Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who voted against Obamacare repeal, the price of her vote was incorporating into the tax bill an unrelated provision opening the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge for oil and gas exploration. For Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Steve Daines of Montana, the price was another $60 billion in tax breaks for “S-corporations,” the mid-sized, multi-million-dollar enterprises that were treated less advantageously in the original bill than giant corporations. The families of both senators own such companies. Senator Susan Collins of Maine extracted a promise from Trump to support increased financial subsidies for big insurance companies participating in Obamacare.
Democratic senators made demagogic statements during the floor debate, denouncing the legislation as a handout to the wealthy and big business. The pretense of concern for the impact on working people is completely bogus, but the outrage on the part of the Democrats is real: they are angry that they have been cut out of the lucrative deal-making. The White House and the Senate Republican leadership decided to push the tax cut through under a procedure known as “reconciliation,” which requires only 50 votes and avoids the threat of a filibuster, depriving the Democrats of any input on the legislation. All previous tax cut bills have been bipartisan affairs, in which the two capitalist parties worked together to deliver the goods to their favored corporate interests.
The Democrats are not seeking to rally popular opposition to a brazen tax giveaway to the super-rich. Rather, they are appealing to the Republicans to let them participate in the grubby legislative horse-trading. At least 15 Democrats appeared at a press conference Tuesday to send a message to the Republican majority: “Why settle for just 50 votes on tax reform when you could get as many as 70?” Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, one of the group, said. “If you’ve heard the rhetoric that Democrats don’t want tax reform, that’s false. We want tax reform. The country needs meaningful tax reform.”
Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer was not in the group, but he has repeatedly indicated his support for the main goals of the tax bill, which are to slash the corporate income tax rate, now 35 percent, and to allow giant companies holding trillions in cash overseas to “repatriate” the funds and pay only a nominal tax. He closed out the Senate debate with unctuous praise for Republicans, “many of whom I admire,” and an appeal for them to reconsider and reach a bipartisan deal with the Democrats.
The White House and the congressional Republicans are seeking to conceal the brazen class character of the tax bill with an unprecedented barrage of lies. Trump appeared at a campaign-style rally in Missouri where he claimed that the tax bill would hurt billionaires like himself, while helping people of more humble means: “Our focus is on helping the folks who work in the mailrooms and machine shops of America, the plumbers and the carpenters, the cops and the teachers, the truck drivers and the pipe fitters.”
Both the New York Times and the Washington Post published analyses Friday of the impact of the tax cuts on Trump, based on his 2005 tax return, the only one available, showing that under the Trump-backed bill the billionaire president would save $31 million of the $38 million he paid in taxes that year, as well as (in the House version) escaping an estimated $1.1 billion in estate taxes.
The class character of the tax cut legislation must be understood historically. During the heyday of American capitalism, when the ruling elite could afford to extend modest concessions to working people, the income tax rate on the wealthiest families rose as high as 90 percent. Even if this rate could be evaded through tax avoidance schemes, it set a marker that those with the highest incomes were expected to pay significant amounts to underwrite federal social spending.
Over the past 40 years, as a central part of the social counterrevolution waged by the US ruling elite, under both Democratic and Republican administrations, the top income tax rate has dropped sharply: from 90 percent to 70 percent in the 1970s, then from 70 percent to 28 percent under Reagan in the 1980s.
Huge tax cuts for the wealthy combined with a savage attack on working class wages to drive up economic inequality to staggering levels. Today, three American billionaires own more wealth than the bottom half of the population. Real wages have stagnated or declined since 1972.
The current tax bill marks a certain culmination in this process. American capitalism is in deepening crisis. The soaring stock market is not a sign of health, but the fever chart of a system on the brink of collapse. There is a genuine element of desperation in the frenzy in Washington to engineer one more transfusion of financial resources taken from working people and pumped into the sclerotic veins of the Wall Street addicts.
The money-grabbing is so reckless that the tax bill does not provide even a fig leaf of “fairness.” In 2027, for example, according to figures provided by the Joint Committee on Taxation and the Congressional Budget Office (both Republican-controlled), the bill raises the taxes of people making $40,000 to $50,000 a year by $5.3 billion and cuts the taxes of those making $1 million a year or more by $5.8 billion.
The methods employed by the ruling elite to resolve its crisis at the expense of the working class will provoke increasing popular resistance. Under the pay-as-you-go rules enacted as part of a series of bipartisan budget deals between the Obama administration and the Republican Congress, the $1.5 trillion tax cut over ten years must be offset by yearly cuts of $150 billion in spending, unless Congress approves a waiver by a super-majority vote.
This means that the new year will begin with demands from the White House and Congress that the budget deficit—which they have made much worse by cutting taxes on the rich—be financed through across-the-board cuts in domestic programs, particularly the largest programs: Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
Wall Street, the biggest beneficiary of the tax cut bonanza, will lead the charge for austerity measures. Goldman Sachs has already sounded the alarm, sending a note to clients Thursday warning that US national debt was on track to hit unsustainable levels, and was already at its highest point, as a percentage of GDP, since 1950.
In its increasingly naked drive to monopolize all the wealth of society, the ruling class is fueling a growing mood of anger and opposition, with revolutionary implications. The coming struggles of the working class will require a complete political break with the two parties of big business, the Democrats and Republicans, and the building of a mass independent political movement based on a socialist program, to put an end to the profit system.

Patrick Martin