Pssst… Voters think the TCJA helps the wealthy. Bloomberg reports on the results of an internal GOP poll completed on September 2. The Republican National Committee-commissioned survey says that 61 percent of respondents say the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act benefits “large corporations and rich Americans” over “middle class families.” Self-identified “independent” voters drove the survey’s results. “We’ve lost the messaging battle on the issue,” concludes the RNC, six and a half weeks before the mid-term elections. The reality: According to TPC, the TCJA mostly benefits high-income households and corporations though nearly all households pay less in federal income tax thanks to the 2017 law.
Moving ahead—one step—on Tax Reform 2.0. House GOP leaders say they’ll bring the three bills they call Tax Reform 2.0 to the House floor this week. The measures would make permanent the TCJA’s individual tax cuts and create new tax subsidies for savings and start-up businesses. Nearly all House Democrats and some blue-state Republicans are likely to oppose the TCJA extension on the House floor. Even GOP leaders and Administration aides acknowledge there is no chance the bills will pass the Senate this year.
About those US-China trade talks. China’s called them off, reports The Wall Street Journal (paywall). Two delegations from China were to come to Washington at the end of this week, but they canceled both visits. President Trump’s new round of tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods prompted the move.
Tariff insult to disaster injury after Hurricane Florence. The North Carolina Homebuilders Association tells The New York Times that its members are “all going to pay the price” for President Trump’s tariffs when it comes to rebuilding after the floodwaters recede. Tariffs on lumber, aluminum, countertops, furniture, and gypsum (key in drywall) could boost construction costs by 20 percent to 30 percent.
Trump will bar visas to many who receive public benefits. Proposed new rules announced over the weekend would limit the ability of many non-residents to get visas if the government concludes they are likely to receive certain public benefits such as food stamps, Medicaid, or housing subsidies. In a late change, the Administration decided not to include refundable tax credits in its list of prohibited assistance.
Bad lawmaking begets bad regulations… TPC’s Gene Steuerle considers regulation, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump, and the indexing of capital gains. His bottom line: “Think twice before generalizing about the costs or benefits of regulation or even its constitutional basis….The political and ideological arguments for or against regulation…tend to be selective and supported by weak legal and economic reasoning… [T]he best way to avoid bad regulation or rule making is to avoid bad law making.”
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- © Urban Institute, Brookings Institution, and individual authors, 2016.