Don’t be duped: Trump, Republicans want to raise your taxes

first_imgAt some point, the government will need to pay its bills, through a combination of tax increases and spending cuts.Virtually any future deficit-reduction plan — except for a repeal of the Trump tax plan — would hurt most families more than his plan helps them.This chain of events has happened before.The Reagan and Bush tax cuts may have at first seemed to help the middle class and poor.But the deficits led to later cuts in education, medical research, transportation and anti-poverty programs that almost surely erased the benefits of a modest tax cut.Already, today’s congressional leaders are talking about sizable cuts to Medicare and Medicaid.Trump and his allies are feverishly trying to claim their plan really would benefit the middle class. Last week, a precursor bill barely passed the House, receiving 20 no votes from Republicans, many worried about the tax increases.Republican leaders certainly have a path to passing a tax bill, because nothing unites modern Republicans the way a tax cut does.But the opposition to the recent health care bills also started as an underdog and managed to prevail, by relentlessly talking about the bills’ effects.When enough Americans understood the truth, enough members of Congress felt pressure to vote no.The same could happen on taxes. It is starting to.Recent polls suggest the plan’s approval rating is only about 30 percent.To understand the Trump tax increases, you should first acknowledge the most admirable feature of his plan. It doesn’t aspire to be merely a tax cut. Trump’s plan would not actually cut taxes for many middle-class families. It would raise them.These families are in the minority, yes. But there are a lot of them.About 17 percent of households earning between $50,000 and $150,000 would see their taxes rise immediately, according to the only rigorous analysis so far, by the Tax Policy Center.Among households earning between $150,000 and $250,000, the share is about 35 percent.These numbers would grow over time, for reasons I’ll explain.Ultimately, the plan would be likely to hurt the finances of the vast majority of Americans.No wonder it is starting to look politically vulnerable. It aspires to be tax reform — both cuts and increases. Some deductions shrink, while rates fall, in the name of simplifying the tax code.But after this promising start, the plan commits its cardinal sin.It places the highest priority on huge tax cuts for the very wealthy.They get lower rates and get to keep cherished tax breaks, like the “carried interest” loophole.Herbert Hoover’s Republican Party wanted to put a chicken in every pot. Donald Trump’s wants to put a yacht at every private dock.Having lavished so much money on the wealthy, the tax package — or at least the vague framework that the administration has released — doesn’t have much remaining to spend on middle class and poor families.For them, the package is a mix of pluses and minuses. Their latest talking point is the notion that corporate tax cuts will create an indirect windfall for workers.Funny, though, how the wealthy get most of the direct benefits, while everyone else has to hope for indirect ones somehow to materialize.The main lesson of this year’s health care battle was the political power of facts.They don’t always win the day, but it’s better to have them as an ally than an enemy.Right now, facts are the biggest problem for Trump’s tax plan.David Leonhardt is New York Times columnist writing from a liberal progressive perspective. More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homes Many face a lower tax rate, but some face a higher one, and many families lose deductions. The combination creates a lot of losers.Reduced deductions for children, for example, hurt large families, notes NYU’s Lily Batchelder.And the deduction for state and local taxes — also a target for cuts — now benefits 30 percent of households nationwide.It was the main reason for last week’s House defections, and the tensions over it haven’t been resolved.Then there are the long-term problems I mentioned earlier.First, Trump’s plan takes a skimpy approach to inflation adjustments, which will push many families into higher tax brackets over time.Second, the plan would radically increase the federal deficit, and when it comes to the deficit, what goes up must eventually come down. Categories: Editorial, OpinionThe old formula for passing a big tax cut for the rich was simple: Package it with a modest tax cut for the middle class — and talk endlessly about the middle-class part.President Donald Trump and Congress are following the formula in some ways.Their plan would deliver an average tax cut of $700,000 to the nation’s 175,000 richest families. That’s enough for each to buy a new 50-foot yacht, annually.Meanwhile, Trump and other Republican leaders keep repeating “middle class,” “middle class,” “middle class.”Yet there is also a major difference between the current plan and George W. Bush’s tax cut or Ronald Reagan’s.last_img read more

NBA return plans: What to know about 22-team format, standings for 2020 playoffs & more

first_imgThe 14 NBA Lottery teams will be the eight teams that do not participate in the restart of the season plus the six teams that do participate but do not make the playoffs. These teams will be seeded in the lottery and assigned odds based on their records through March 11.NBA standings 2020Below are the current NBA standings in both the Western Conference and the Eastern Conference, the former of which includes more competitive teams and therefore will have more teams invited to Orlando.(The teams invited to Orlando for the NBA’s restart are bolded.)Eastern ConferenceMilwaukee Bucks (53-12)Totonto Raptors (46-18)Boston Celtics (43-21)Miami Heat (41-24)Indiana Pacers (39-26)Philadelphia 79ers (39-26)Brooklyn Nets (30-34)Orlando Magic (30-35)Washington Wizards (24-40)Charlotte Hornets (23-42)Chicago Bulls (22-43)New York Knicks (21-45)Detroit Pistons (20-46)Atlanta Hawks (20-47)Cleveland Cavaliers (19-46)Western ConferenceLos Angeles Lakers (49-14)Los Angeles Clippers (44-20)Denver Nuggets (43-22)Utah Jazz (41-23)Oklahoma City Thunder (40-24)Houston Rockets (40-24)Dallas Mavericks (40-27)Memphis Grizzlies (32-33)Portland Trail Blazers (29-37)New Orleans Pelicans (28-36)Sacramento Kings (28-36)San Antonio Spurs (27-36)Phoenix Suns (26-39)Minnesota Timberwolves (19-45)Golden State Warriors (15-50) In the words of ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski, “the NBA’s back.”During a Thursday call with commissioner Adam Silver, the league’s board of governors approved a plan that will restart the 2019-20 NBA season in late July. Representatives of the National Basketball Players Association gave their approval Friday in a virtual call. An agreement ends months of uncertainty after the league on March 11 suspended play over health and safety concerns brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.The return-to-play plan will send 22 teams to Orlando, Fla., where eight “regular season” games for each of the 22 teams will determine the seeding for a complete, 16-team playoff field. The season will restart July 31, and the NBA Finals will end no later than Oct. 12.Below is everything we know about the NBA’s plans to restart its season.How many NBA teams will return to play?22 total teams13 from West9 from EastA total of 22 of the NBA’s 30 teams will be invited to take part in the remainder of the NBA season. In an effort to keep players contained and away from the threat of COVID-19 as much as possible, all of the games — playoffs included — will be played in Orlando at the Walt Disney World Resort.From the league: “The NBA and the NBPA are working with infectious disease specialists, public health experts and government officials to establish a rigorous program to prevent and mitigate the risk related to COVID-19, including a regular testing protocol and stringent safety practices. The season restart is also contingent on an agreement with The Walt Disney Company to use Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Florida, as a single site for a campus for all games, practices and housing for the remainder of the season.”As Wojnarowski noted during an interview with Scott Van Pelt on Tuesday night, having to stay and play out the rest of the NBA season in one place is going to be “part of the test for teams to win a championship.”Added Wojnarowski: “While there’s not going to be travel, the playoffs aren’t going to have that grueling nature, but there I think will be a different test of the (mentality) of the players and getting back into physical condition.”Great to have @wojespn join SVP to give us some insight as a lot of people await the new format. pic.twitter.com/8gZhuzP8Ky— Stanford Steve (@StanfordSteve82) June 3, 2020Joining the 16 teams currently in the playoffs based on NBA standings (more on those later) will be the Pelicans, Trail Blazers, Suns, Kings, Spurs and Wizards, the six teams that are currently six games or fewer behind the eighth seed in their respective conferences. That makes a total of 13 teams from the Western Conference and nine teams from the Eastern Conference. This means the seasons for the Hornets, Bulls, Knicks, Pistons, Hawks, Cavaliers, Timberwolves and Warriors have already ended.The NBA season will restart with each of those 22 teams playing eight “regular season” games to determine playoff seeding. There also will be a play-in tournament for the No. 8 seed in either conference, but only if the No. 9 seed is fewer than four games behind in the standings. Otherwise, the No. 8 seed will be safe in the bracket.In a play-in tournament for the No. 8 seed, the current No. 8 seed would need to defeat the No. 9 seed once, and the No. 9 seed would need to defeat the No. 8 seed two games in a row.As for the timing, the first “regular season” games in the NBA’s return will be played July 31, and Game 7 of the NBA Finals (if necessary) is scheduled for Oct. 12.The NBA Draft (Oct. 15) and then free agency (Oct. 18) will follow the completion of the Finals. The 2020-21 NBA regular season likely will begin Dec. 1, 2020.last_img read more