GOP tax plan is ‘the great con,’ says AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka

The Republican tax reform plan gives more to rich people and corporations, with middle- and lower-income Americans paying for it, Richard Trumka said.
Billionaire investor Tom Steyer agreed, calling it a “reverse Robin Hood.”
However, economist Lawrence Lindsey said the middle class will benefit the most from the bill.
Michelle Fox | @MFoxCNBC
Published 6:24 PM ET Wed, 27 Sept
AFL-CIO Richard Trumka: GOP plan helps the wealthy, not workers  5:17 PM ET Wed, 27 Sept 2017 | 04:34
The Republican tax reform plan gives more to rich people and corporations, with middle- and lower-income Americans paying for it, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka told CNBC on Wednesday.

Republicans unveiled a framework on Wednesday that included sweeping tax cuts for both individuals and businesses, with few details on how the government might pay for them.

“It is the great con,” Trumka said in an interview with “Closing Bell.”

Included in the GOP plan is a proposed 20 percent corporate tax rate, down from the current 35 percent rate. Personal tax brackets would go from seven to just three: 12, 25 and 35 percent, and the standard deduction would be nearly doubled.

Trumka said a tax plan that would be good for working people should have corporations and the rich paying their fair share. It should also create enough revenue to create jobs and should destroy all incentives to offshore jobs and profits, he added.

“This tax plan fails miserably on all three of those things.”

And he doesn’t buy the argument that lowering the corporate tax rate would reduce incentives to send jobs overseas, calling it a “red herring.” In fact, many corporations already pay much less than the 35 percent rate and yet wages have been stagnant, he argued.

“Corporate America has three years of record profits. So it’s not a tax code holding them back,” Trumka said.
‘Reverse Robin Hood’
Billionaire investor Tom Steyer, president and founder of NextGen America, agrees the GOP plan favors the wealthy.

“Everybody would like to see less tax complexity, but I think that this plan is a very thinly disguised reverse Robin Hood,” he told “Closing Bell.”

“This is a tax giveaway to rich people. That is where the bulk of the money is going to go. And we know that the other side of that is it’s going to be paid for by a reduction in services to middle-income Americans.”

However, economist Lawrence Lindsey called that characterization “inaccurate.”

He said high-income taxpayers are going to pay more taxes under the bill, with the bulk of the tax cuts going to families making between $50,000 and $100,000 a year.

“A lot of those families will see their taxes go down by half or two-thirds,” said Lindsey, former director of the National Economic Council.

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Ford extends paid leave for mothers of new children, adds time off for fathers

September 27, 2017 @ 7:00 amMichael Martinez

DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. is expanding paid time for mothers of newborns and newly adopted children, and is introducing paid time off for fathers as part of an updated health plan, the automaker said Wednesday.

Mothers can now take an additional 10 days off any time in the first year of their child’s birth or adoption, or they can add the 10 days to their already allowed six to eight weeks of maternity leave.

In addition, Ford will — for the first time — offer 10 days of paid time off for fathers any point during the first year following a child’s birth or adoption.

The additions come amid a national conversation about the need for mandatory paid leave for new parents. The Trump administration earlier this year proposed a budget that would mandate six weeks of paid leave for fathers and mothers of new children.

Ford, in a statement, said the new benefits are part of a shift away from “offering just a standard health plan to a more holistic approach focused on individual well-being.” As part of that shift, Ford is updating its Dearborn, Mich., headquarters offices with treadmill desks and ergonomically designed workstations that are meant to encourage workers to move around during the day. Ford has also added “reflection rooms” so workers can pray or meditate.

Ford is planning to showcase these efforts on Friday when it hosts yoga on the lawn of the Dearborn Glass House campus. The event, in partnership with Wanderlust — which holds yoga events and festivals across the globe — will also feature meditation, coloring tables and an oxygen bar.

Hundreds of employees are expected to attend, the automaker said.
You can reach Michael Martinez at — Follow Michael on Twitter: @MikeMartinez_AN

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Republican Tax Plan Would Lower Trump’s Taxes By 81 Percent!

One change in particular would give wealthy people like the president a massive break.
09/27/2017 08:48 pm ET Updated 14 hours ago
Carlos Barria / Reuters
The Alternative Minimum Tax (as Rodney Dangerfield might have put it) don’t get no respect. Few who don’t pay it have ever even heard of it. Those who do pay it hate it. The A.M.T. has no real champions among the political class, because there are so many other facets of tax policy to get worked up about. Take the estate tax, for instance ― a tax only paid at death, but one with a rousing political chorus on both sides (Republicans scornfully refer to it as the “death tax”). The estate tax gets some respect in Washington, both pro and anti. The A.M.T., not so much. But it should get a whole lot more attention now that the GOP has released their new tax-cutting outline. Because Donald Trump is effectively trying to cut his own taxes by a whopping 81 percent ― and, really, that’s just the minimum tax break Trump would receive.
Surprisingly, it is also the easiest to figure out, from the most-recent public tax return we have from Trump. How all the rest of the GOP proposal would affect Trump’s taxes is an open question. We’ve never publicly seen a Schedule A from him, so it’s impossible to tell how the changes to deductions would affect him personally. But how the obliteration of the A.M.T. would affect Trump is pathetically easy to see ― in fact, any layman can understand it just by looking at a few numbers on Trump’s 2005 Form 1040.
That year, Trump had $151.8 million dollars in income, before he began to write things off. Here are Trump’s reported tax numbers, in millions of dollars, rounded to the nearest $100,000:
Income tax (line 44) ― $5.3
A.M.T. (line 45) ― $31.3
Total tax (line 63) ― $38.4
About 30 seconds with a calculator shows that Trump paid an effective tax rate of 25.3 percent. This isn’t too unreasonable, considering how much lower Mitt Romney’s reported tax rate was. But if the Alternative Minimum Tax disappeared, then Trump would have only paid a paltry 4.7 percent on an income of over $150 million. By making this single change in the tax code, Trump’s own taxes would have been reduced by $31 million (from a previous total of $38 million down to just over $7 million). That is an eyebrow-raising 81 percent tax cut ― even before considering how any of the other parts of the GOP tax framework would apply to Trump’s taxes.
Democrats looking to attack the GOP’s tax-cutting plan really need look no further than the A.M.T. to make a clear and convincing case to the public. The political talking points really write themselves:
“Donald Trump wants to cut his own taxes 81 percent! Does anyone here think Trump’s tax cuts will cut their taxes by four out of every five dollars? This plan is nothing short of a massive tax giveaway ― and 81 percent is pretty massive, folks ― to the wealthiest one percent. An average family might save a couple hundred dollars ― maybe ― on their taxes, while by one single rule change that most taxpayers have never even heard of, Trump is going to save himself over 31 million dollars on his own taxes, each and every year. That’s what the media should be asking him about ― why he saw fit to reduce his own taxes by such a gargantuan amount!”
Harking back to Rodney Dangerfield again, the A.M.T. needs to get a lot more respect, starting with Democrats absolutely howling about the injustice of Trump cutting his own taxes by four out of every five dollars he pays. Beyond the GOP’s attempts to abolish the A.M.T., though, Democrats really should be championing this particular tax for another very good reason.
The A.M.T. was designed as a check on wealthy taxpayers using too many loopholes and deductions to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. Individuals were using so many tax shelters and other tax schemes that some of them paid little or nothing on substantial incomes. So Congress added the A.M.T. as an adjustment. The idea is simple: the wealthiest taxpayers should not be able to game the system so that they’re paying a lower tax rate than an average middle-class family. If they do game the system in such a fashion, the A.M.T. kicks in and restricts their ability to write everything off while filing their taxes. Donald Trump is the poster child for the A.M.T., since he was forced to pay $38 million in taxes instead of $7 million. That’s how it is supposed to work.
In attacking the A.M.T., Republicans like to point out that it now affects a lot more people than it was originally intended to cover. If this is really a valid complaint, then adjusting the exemption amount (the amount of income allowed before the A.M.T. kicks in) is all that would be required to fix the problem. But they’re not satisfied with that ― they want to abolish the tax entirely.
Democrats should forcefully point out that the A.M.T. was specifically intended to lessen income inequality in the tax system. It specifically targets the wealthy who were previously able to shield much of their income from federal taxes. It adds fairness to the tax system as a whole, by closing loopholes and limiting deductions. If anything, Democrats should be calling for a more robust A.M.T., to force millionaires and billionaires to pay a fairer amount in taxes.
Fortunately for Democrats, doing so is pretty easy. Of all the tax proposals in the GOP plan, this is really the easiest one to attack, and the hardest for Donald Trump and the Republicans to defend. Because in one fell swoop, getting rid of the Alternative Minimum Tax would save Trump over 80 percent on his own taxes. All Democrats have to do is point this basic fact out, over and over again. If they can effectively do so, sooner or later the A.M.T. will begin to get the respect it deserves.

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