Why does the tax bill promoted by the President and Republicans have low polling support? Maybe because journalists are constantly trashing it. On CBS This Morning, Monday, analyst Jill Schlesinger declared, “I think it's becoming clear that [the tax bill is] very much tilted toward corporations and the wealthiest Americans.”
She then argued that the legislation wasn’t justified: “I think when Americans hear that corporations, which have seen great profitability over the last seven years, stock markets at all-time highs, it's hard to really understand in your belly why did corporations need this tax cut?”
Not discussed was one possible reason: The United States has the highest corporate tax rate in the world.
Yet, Schlesinger sneered, “But an actual gift to corporations at a moment where we are right now, second longest bull market in the history of the United States economy, it's hard to reconcile that.”
Baffled co-host Bianna Golodryga wondered:
Tax cuts historically are very going to say tax cuts historically are very popular with both Republicans and Democrats. This one is at 30 percent approval. Why do you think so many Americans disapprove of this tax cut? Tax bill?
With all the hammering from journalists, it’s not hard to understand.
Later, co-host Gayle King talked to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget and spun the Republicans as uncaring for repealing the individual mandate:
GAYLE KING: Now, the Senate bill would repeal the ObamaCare individual mandate. That’s something that the CBO says would leave 13 million Americans without insurance. Is the President okay with that?
MICK MULVANEY: Think about that for a second. So what the CBO is telling you as soon as the government tells you you don't have to buy something, you're not going to. Is that necessarily a bad thing? I mean, do we want to have some law on the books? This goes back to underlying issue of health care and the fact that Democrats have pitched health care as a tax. So it's entirely appropriate to be dealing with that now. Should the government really be telling you, forcing you to buy something you don't want to buy? We're absolutely comfortable with that.
A transcript of the earlier segment is below:
CBS This Morning
7:12:52 to 7:16:12
NORAH O’DONNELL: CBS news business analyst Jill Schlesinger is here to try and break down what the tax bill could mean for families. Jill, good morning. This is so important. Let's talk about how it affects individual families first.
JILL SCHLESINGER: So, it’s really important to understand this is a bill that's very nuanced. So, it matters not just who you are and how much money you do earn. But how do you earn that money? Do you have a pass-through organization or do you live in a state where you're losing your state and local tax deduction? Do you have a mortgage? How much? Do you want to? So, it's a very strange bill that in the packet when we've done tax reform and deductions, and unfortunately, I remember 30 years ago, it was a much clearer, “This is a winner. this is a loser.” This is going to take a long time to really understand who wins and who loses.
O’DONNELL: Okay, the big differences in the two plans.
SCHLESINGER: Okay, well, the big differences are going down. We know that the tax brackets are very important. So in the House plan they have four tax brackets. They maintain that top bracket at 39.6 The Senate plan — I’m sorry, the House plan goes to four brackets and the Senate maintains seven brackets, but the top bracket goes down. Mortgage interest deduction. House plans say you can only deduct up to half a million of mortgage interest. The Senate plan says no. “We're going to leave it at a million.” What we really know is the big, huge change in the tax code is around corporations. In corporations, they both are slashing the corporate rate. It goes from 35 to 20 percent.
GAYLE KING: Go ahead.
BIANNA GOLODRYGA: Tax cuts historically are very going to say tax cuts historically are very popular with both Republicans and Democrats. This one is at 30 percent approval. Why do you think so many Americans disapprove of this tax cut? Tax bill?
SCHLESINGER: I think it's becoming clear that it's very much tilted toward corporations and the wealthiest Americans. You know, if you're upper middle class, you could actually be a loser in this bill and that's very important to put out there and if you're very poor you would be a loser. And I think when Americans hear that corporations, which have seen great profitability over the last seven years, stock markets at all-time highs, it's hard to really understand in your belly why did corporations need this tax cut? Tax reform is one thing. Making a tax code better, simpler, plainer. But an actual gift to corporations at a moment where we are right now, second longest bull market in the history of the United States economy, it's hard to reconcile that.
GAYLE KING: It still seems very confusing. Even the people who pass it are still trying to read it and figure out exactly what they passed it.
Who really wins and who loses? I heard you talking about two losing situations. Who are the losers?
SCHLESINGER: If you're tenth of one percent of the earner, you're a huge winner. Because we are going to get rid of the state taxation. The tax brackets are going to go down. I think those people win. I think corporations, huge winners. Pass-through organizations. That means you have a big law firm. There’s 200 partners. They have all their money flow through as a pass through. That is going to be a big winners. Whether those folks who are winners who take the money that they save and recycle it into the economy and boost the economy substantially, I think that is a huge question yet to be answered. A lot of academics say they don't believe this is a long-term growth incentive.
O’DONNELL: Randall Stevens the head of AT&T has promises more jobs. You have them on the record saying they'll have more jobs.
SCHLESINGER: So, we'll see where they come up with the jobs.