Rand Paul Hobbles Back To Washington To Trade Obamacare For Tax Cuts

When

Donald Trump first proposed that Republicans insert a measure into their tax bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate—the very thing that doomed attempts to repeal or replace Obamacare—it seemed as though both chambers of Congress were content to humor the 71-year-old man-child while ignoring his suggestion. “What I don’t want to do is to add things that could again kill tax reform like health care died over there,” House Ways and Means Chairman

Kevin Brady said in an interview soon afterward, seeming to put the idea to bed.

But Trump kept pushing the proposal, adding in a tweet on Monday that not only should the G.O.P. use the savings from an estimated 15 million Americans going uninsured to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy, but it should do so in order to slash the top income tax rate to 35 percent . . . because apparently the current proposed legislation doesn’t do enough for the rich. And luckily for the president, his buddy

Rand Paul also seems to be a fan of the idea. While it was initially unclear whether Paul would make it back to the Capitol in time for the tax-reform debate (he was briefly sidelined after an attack by his neighbor, which left him with several broken ribs and bruised lungs), he made his triumphant return to D.C. to insist that his colleagues ax the mandate, raising some $338 billion over the next decade that will go towards tax cuts.

Taking full advantage of his 280-character limit on Tuesday, Paul tweeted, “Today I am announcing my intention to amend the Senate tax bill to repeal the individual mandate and provide bigger tax cuts for middle income taxpayers. The mandate repeal is a promise we all made and we should keep. It also allows an additional $300 billion+ in tax cuts.” And now, according to >The Wall Street Journal, his dreams are coming true:

Senate Republicans signaled Tuesday they would seek to repeal the Affordable Care Act requirement that most Americans must have insurance coverage as part of their tax-overhaul package, adding an uncertain element to an already complex legislative effort. . . . Sen.

John Thune (R., S.D.), a member of the Senate Finance Committee, said Republicans intend to use the savings generated by repealing the individual mandate to lower taxes for middle-income households. “It’ll be distributed in the form of middle-income tax relief,” he said. . . . Mr. Thune said he didn’t anticipate that adding the repeal of the individual mandate would prompt many G.O.P. defections from the tax package. Republicans, who hold a 52-48 majority in the Senate, can afford to lose no more than two G.O.P. votes if all Democrats vote against the tax bill as expected. Vice President Mike Pence could break a potential 50-50 tie.

At present, the benefits of the Senate’s tax plan overwhelmingly go to corporate America, with approximately 25 percent of the middle class paying higher taxes in 2018, and one-third paying higher taxes in 2026. But sure, the savings from the repeal will totally end up in their wallets.

If you would like to receive the Levin Report in your inbox daily, click here to subscribe.

Gary Cohn abandoned by the one group of people he thought he could count on

Last week, during a cringe-worthy interview with CNBC’s

John Harwood that his fellow Goldman Sachs alums could not watch without experiencing overwhelming second-hand embarrassment, National Economic Council director

Gary Cohn made a number of astounding statements. He insisted that getting rid of the estate tax has everything to do with farmers and nothing to do with people like

Ivanka, Jared, Eric, and

Donny Jr.; that if the wealthy get a tax break it’ll be purely coincidence; that trickle-down economics works; and that the “most excited group of people out there [about the tax plan] are big C.E.O.s.”

The last seems particularly ill-advised when one is attempting to sell the tax bill as all about the middle class. Worse, it seems as though corporate America won’t even play along when it comes to corroborating the G.O.P.’s claim that slashing the corporate tax rate to 20 percent will incentivize companies to invest, which will in turn unleash economic growth, which will in turn benefit the common man. Not only have several of the largest S&P 500 companies literally said they would spend the bulk of their tax savings on dividends and share buybacks, but on Tuesday, they refused to even pretend otherwise. At The Wall Street Journal’s annual C.E.O. Council, which is billed as “connect[ing] the world’s most ambitious and influential business leaders,” and where one would think the ex-Goldman president could find a sympathetic audience, associate editor

John Bussey asked the audience for a “show of hands” indicating if their company planned to increase investment if their rates were cut, and if you’re Cohn, the response wasn‘t exactly what you were hoping for!

https://twitter.com/TimJHanrahan/status/930481095988170757

When you can’t even count on pity hands for the legislation you stuck it out with your Nazi-sympathizing boss to pass, you might want to rethink your life choices.

The Kushners and Trumps won’t benefit at all from proposed tax plans_

Just kidding! In reality, they’ll benefit in ways that don’t just include getting rid of the estate tax and lowering the tax rate on pass-through business to 25 percent. There’s also this:

Owners of office buildings, malls, warehouses, and other commercial property would benefit from lower taxes on their profits and would be able to avoid a 30 percent limit on deductions for interest expense that would be imposed on other businesses, based on two separate bills originating in the House and the Senate. The Senate bill, unveiled last week, also would shorten the depreciation period for commercial property to 25 years from 39 years. Just as important, none of the provisions that commercial real-estate owners feared most were included in either proposal. For example, both the House and Senate bills would preserve the much-loved “1031 exchange” provision that enables sellers of real estate to defer capital-gains taxes by reinvesting the proceeds in “like-kind” properties.

Steven Rosenthal, a senior fellow with the Tax Policy Center, was duly astounded by the boons: “The House and Senate bills are both windfalls for commercial real estate that boggle my mind,” he told the Journal.

Surprise: Trump’s HHS jacked up drug prices at Eli Lilly

We’re sure it will surprise you to hear that Trump’s pick to succeed

Tom Price, who traded health-care stocks for fun and profit while pushing legislation that would benefit those companies, and later became addicted to flying private on taxpayers’ dime, has a professional history that doesn’t completely jibe with Trump’s claim he’ll go to bat for consumers:

President Donald Trump tweeted Monday that his nominee for HHS secretary,

Alex Azar, will “be a star for . . . lower drug prices!” But the record of the former top executive for Eli Lilly, which tripled the price of a top-selling insulin drug while he led its U.S. operation, suggests a different story. Lilly is one of three drug companies targeted by a class-action lawsuit that accuses the company, then under Azar’s watch, of exploiting the drug-pricing system to ensure higher profit for insulin and has been fined in Mexico for colluding on the pricing of the drug.

Wells Fargo will never stop paying fines for screwing over customers

The San Francisco bank shelled out another few million this week for repossessing 860 service members cars, which is completely unrelated to its sham-account scandal, or to the controversy wherein the company charged hundreds of thousands of customers for auto insurance they didn’t need. At this point, Wells might be better off just packing it in.

Elsewhere!

Wall Street Fines Fall During First Year of Trump Administration (>W.S.J.)

Senators Support Rollback of Bank Oversight (>W.S.J.)

Millionaire Bankers Feel Sorry for Struggling Millennials (Bloomberg)

White House Considers Former Pimco C.E.O. Mohamed

El-Erian for Fed Vice Chairman Post (>W.S.J.)

Venezuela’s Bondholder Meeting Is a Bust as S&P Declares Default (Bloomberg)

Goldman Sachs Marks Stake in Weinstein Co. Down to Zero: Source (Reuters)

Wall Street’s Invasion of the Legal Weed Market (Institutional Investor)

Goldman Can Hit $13 Billion in New Consumer Loans in Three Years: C.F.O. (Reuters)

Sean Hannity Decides Enough Keurigs Have Been Destroyed In His Honor (The Hive)

Rand Paul
FOLLOW
Gary Cohn
FOLLOW

Follow to get the latest news and analysis about the players in your inbox.

Source : https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/11/rand-paul-individual-mandate-tax-cuts

Rand Paul Hobbles Back to Washington to Trade Obamacare for Tax Cuts
Senate GOP changes tax bill to add Obamacare mandate repeal, make individual income cuts expire
Senate GOP to add repeal of Obamacare insurance mandate into tax bill
The Finance 202: Math is getting harder for Republicans pushing tax overhaul
GOP senators giving tax bill a health rider
Senate GOP adds amendment to gut Affordable Care Act in tax bill
Trump tax cut plan gains momentum after U.S. budget vote
Obamacare verdict is in, but will Trump let GOP scrap repeal? Andy Slavitt
Rand Paul will be in Louisville Monday, but not for Donald Trump
Trump tax cut plan gains momentum after U.S. budget vote