Media wanted scam tax bill passed

January 30, 2018

From the January-February 2018 issue of News & Letters

Corporate officers in the mainstream media really, really wanted the GOP tax bill to pass. They knew slashing their corporate tax rate from 35% to 21% would be a bonanza. This might be why we rarely if ever heard, even on progressive stations, how the original House tax bill actually would have raised rates on workers whose income is below the federal poverty line. The tax rate on any non-exempt portion of their income would have risen from 10% to 12%. (Under the final bill signed into law, it remains at 10%.)


Other increases the media decided to mention, like eliminations of deductions, were explained away when commentators claimed these would be “offset by the doubling of the standard deduction,” from $6,350 to $12,000. However, this was an intentional muddying of the waters because what really matters is the total amount of income one gets to keep before taxes; for most low-wage workers this is the sum of the standard deduction and personal exemption. Before the final tax bill became law, that sum was $10,400. After passage, the personal exemption is eliminated and now each individual gets to keep $12,000 tax-free. Hardly a doubling.

This $1,600 increase is supposed to make up for eliminated deductions previously used by students and families, such as college expenses and mortgages on homes. It is supposed to make up for reduced benefits received when states and counties cut social safety net programs. In reality it will dissolve with inflation just like any fixed sum of money. Percentages, such as the 14% corporate cut and the 0% non-cut for the lowest tax bracket, remain the same regardless of inflation.

People need ways to share their own experiences and amplify their own voices. Big media has many hostile gatekeepers and that is why News & Letters and similar grassroots media are so important.

—Buddy Bell

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