aside Corruption Permeating The US Congress With Republicans Poised To Gain With Tax Bill Passage

It is bad enough that the republicans in the US Congress are hard at work to pass their 2017 Donor/ Corporation tax cut bill around December 19, 2016, which does little to grow the economy; where the economy is on an upswing and unemployment numbers are low, where at least 1 trillion dollars will be added to the deficit; where a major blow will be dealt to Obamacare with the ending of its mandate; and where it is very unpopular with Americans (about 26-29%), but it will please their donor base by which some lawmakers have been honest enough to admit this. If a corporation was acting on this bill, it is so bad that the executives would be guilty of malfeasance and for not honoring their fiduciary duties to their clients.

With this bill, we taxpayers who pay their wages are being shortchanged. Every tax break for the middle/ poor class will disappear by 2025 to where it will end up being the biggest tax increase ever at $4.5 trillion dollars. When the republicans are questioned about this fact, they are saying that these cuts can be extended at a later date, but there is nothing guaranteed in writing. If these tax cuts were to be extended, the US deficit would be increased by an additional $4.5 trillion dollars. We folks who make less than $75,000 annually will end up paying for the biggest donor class/ corporation tax cut ever at about $6 trillion dollars. The net amount of $1.5 trillion dollars is the figure that the republicans use to advertise the cost of their tax cut bill where most of this net amount will be added to the US deficit over a 10 year period.

If this slap to the average Joe workers/ taxpayers was not bad enough, many republicans are planning to personally profit bigly from the passage of this 2017 tax cut bill.

Here is the rest of the story….

On December 14, 2017, David Sirota, Alex Kotch and Josh Keefe of IBT International Business Times penned the following report, “Paul Ryan And Top Republican Lawmakers Could Reap Personal Windfall From New Real Estate Tax Breaks.”

Excerpts:

“As Congress races to finalize a landmark $1.4 trillion tax bill, key Republicans legislators  directly overseeing the initiative could reap a personal windfall from provisions designed to reduce levies on so-called “pass-through” income, according to federal records reviewed by International Business Times. Those lawmakers — including U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan — together have tens of millions of dollars invested in scores of real-estate related pass-through corporations and partnerships, collectively earning them millions of dollars of annual income that could be partially exempted from taxes, depending on how the final legislation is structured.”

“IBT reviewed the most recent personal financial disclosure records of 44 Republican lawmakers in the House and Senate leadership, as well as on the chambers’ committees that have overseen the tax bill. In all, 13 of those lawmakers have between $36 million and $163 million worth of ownership stakes in 40 real-estate or property-related partnerships, corporations and investment trusts. In 2016, those 13 legislators earned between $2.6 million and $16 million of annual income from those investments. Those kind of “pass-through” earnings — which experts say disproportionately flow to high-income households — could get new exemptions under the legislation that Congress is now finalizing.”

“The original House and Senate bills both aimed to reduce levies on income generated by partnerships that pass their income through to their investors. Both bills, though, included some limits on the tax breaks for pass-through income — and the final legislation now being worked out in Washington could still eliminate, reduce or cap those tax cuts. Congressional negotiators are reportedly close to agreeing to a 20 percent deduction for pass-through income, with Republicans arguing the deductions would help small businesses.”

“If the GOP ends up applying a 20 percent deduction to all such passive real-estate income, those 13 legislators who have overseen the tax bill could be permitted to deduct a total of between $520,000 and $3.2 million from their taxable income each year, based on their 2016 filings.”

“Congress is not just rigging the system for the idle rich in return for campaign contributions, but is made up in no small part of the type of rich people who want the system rigged,” Jeff Hauser, director of the Revolving Door Project, told IBT. “Too many things which sound like legally problematic conflicts of interest are often legal. The data illustrate why this rushed process is so corrupt. Before passing this bill, there should be time for constituents to force their representatives to justify why their conflicts of interest do not invalidate the broader tax cut bill.”

‘Pass-Through Entities Likely To Benefit’

“Pass-through business structures are prominent in real estate investing. By one estimate of IRS data, more than a third of all income generated by pass-through entities come from real-estate related businesses.”

“In general, the tax bills passed by the House and Senate aim to reduce levies on income from these entities, such as limited partnerships (LPs), limited liability corporations (LLCs) and S-Corporations. These vehicles are attractive to business owners because they aren’t subject to corporate taxes. Instead, the business income is “passed through” the entity to its owners, who then pay individual income taxes on that income. Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), publicly traded pass-through entities that own income-producing real estate, are also eligible for the tax break.”

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“Under current law, the highest income earners can end up having their pass-through income taxed at the highest 39.6 percent rate. But the House- and Senate-passed tax bills are both designed to reduce taxes on that income, with the goal of giving pass-through entities a tax cut comparable to the bill’s other reductions in corporate rates.

“Passive investors in pass-through entities (are) likely to benefit substantially from lower rates under the House plan, but their eligibility for tax deductions are limited by wage provisions under the Senate proposal,” noted a recent report from researchers at real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield.”

GRANLUND MONDAY TRICKLE CARTOON

“How much of a windfall the new tax bill ultimately provides to investors in pass-through vehicles — including those in Congress — will be contingent on any caps or limits lawmakers place on the deductions.”

“The Senate bill allows 23 percent of pass-through income to be deducted from taxable income, but would limit the deduction to 50 percent of the amount the partnership pays out in wages. The House bill has fewer limits, and instead of giving the tax break as a deduction, simply caps taxes on pass-through income at 25 percent.”

“Both bills also included other limits on deductions for “professional services” such as lawyers and accountants who operate their businesses as pass-through entities. However, the House-Senate conference negotiators are under no obligation to incorporate any of these limits into the final bill.”

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A House of Landlords

“The current Congress that is sculpting the final pass-through provisions is filled with Republican lawmakers who have income-generating ownership stakes in real-estate-related partnerships. That includes lawmakers on the Senate Finance Committee, House Ways and Means Committee, and House-Senate conference committee now ironing out the final bill.”

“For example, Tennessee Republican Rep. Diane Black serves on the conference committee as well as on the House Ways and Means Committee that oversaw the original House version of the tax bill. Black and her husband, the CEO of forensic science company Aegis Sciences Corp., co-own Ebon Falcon LLC, a real estate company that owns 12 properties including the Aegis building and several nearby properties, according to Rep. Black’s 2016 financial disclosure.”

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“The properties, mostly in Nashville, appear to be commercial, and together they represent between $21.7 and $108 million in value and between $1.7 and $10.5 million in annual rental income. Black, who is Congress’ 11th-richest member, has a current net worth of $46 million, according to Roll Call.”

“Recently, IBT reported that Black’s former chief of staff has been lobbying the House on real estate issues this year on behalf of the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts.”

“Florida Republican Rep. Vern Buchanan is also on the Ways and Means Committee. Earlier this year, he sponsored standalone legislation to reduce the tax on pass-through entities, saying “it’s clearly time that Washington stopped punishing small businesses and started helping them.” Buchanan’s most recent financial disclosure forms show that he owns between $7 million and $32 million of investments in real-estate related partnerships. In 2016, he earned up to $2 million in annual income from those investments.”

“Family connections are also at play. For instance, Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY) — who sits on the House Ways and Means Committee that wrote the lower chamber’s version of the tax bill — is married to a partner at a real estate LLC, R&R Properties, LLC, from which he and his wife receive income of between $15,000 and $50,000 per year. Reed’s wife is also a partner at R&R Resource Recovery, LLC, the Reeds’ debt collection family business, which specializes in recovering medical debt. The business provides the Reeds with between $15,000 and $50,000 a year in income.”

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Paul Ryan’s Pass-Through Income

“Speaker Paul Ryan has shepherded the tax legislation through the House, and he appointed the House members on the conference committee that is now finalizing the bill. He and his wife could also benefit from pass-through provisions in the tax bill.”

“According to the Wisconsin lawmaker’s 2016 financial disclosure, the couple holds interests in several LLCs reportedly run by Janna Little Ryan’s father, an oil and gas lawyer, including mineral rights and real estate firm Little Land Company LP, gravel rights business Blondie & Brownie, LLC and mining and mineral rights company AVA O Limited CO.”

“The companies reportedly lease land for mining and drilling to leading fossil fuel companies in Oklahoma and Texas including Chesapeake Energy, Devon Energy and ExxonMobil.”

“Ryan’s stakes in these partnerships are worth between $250,000 and $615,000, with annual profits of more than $115,000. Under the pass-through provision in the tax bill, the speaker could potentially deduct part of these earnings from his taxable income.”

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Wealthiest Lawmakers Could Benefit

“IBT additionally calculated how much real estate some of the wealthiest Republican lawmakers own.”

“For example, during the fall, Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson — the 26th-richest member of Congress — withheld his support for the bill, leveraging his vote to pressure lawmakers to add provisions to the bill increasing tax breaks for investors in pass-through entities. The most recent federal records show Johnson has up to $30 million of ownership stakes in three LLCs that generate rental income. Johnson earned between $115,000 and $1,050,000 of income from those investments in 2016. Levies on that income could be reduced by the GOP’s pass-through tax provisions.”

“Similarly, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), the second-richest member of Congress, is the owner of 11 different real estate partnerships that, in total, are worth between $21.5 and $103 million, and generate between $410,000 and $5 million in annual income. Dave Trott (R-MI), the seventh-richest member of Congress, has interests in two real estate LLCs worth between $6 and $27 million and generating between $1.1 and as $6.1 million in annual income.”

“Congress’ third-richest member, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), has up to $750,000 worth of real estate partnerships, and Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY), the 20th-richest member, holds as much as $12.5 million in real estate partnership interests that delivers up to $350,000 in annual income.”

“Some members of the conference committee generate income from their rentals, including Republican Rep. John Shimkus of Illinois, who owns a rental property worth up to $100,000 in Collinsville, Illinois and takes in between $15,001 and $50,000 per year in rent from his “second home” in Washington, D.C., which is worth up to $1 million.”

“Also on the committee, Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) owns a “tower property” in his hometown of Hood River, Oregon with a maximum value of $500,000, generating up to $50,000 of income per year, as well as a “home lot” in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, which appears undeveloped, according to Zillow.”

Ed Wexler / Cagle Cartoons”As the tax legislation moves ahead and its details are finalized, its most vociferous critics have continued to single out the tax cuts for pass-through income as a particularly problematic part of the legislation, which they argue is designed to redistribute wealth to the very rich. A recent study from researchers at the U.S. Treasury Department, the University of Chicago and the University of California-Berkeley underscores their argument.”

“Pass-through income (is) especially concentrated among high-earners,” they wrote in their 2015 report for the National Bureau of Economic Research. “Relative to households in the bottom half of the income distribution, households in the top 1 percent of the income distribution are over 50 times as likely to receive positive partnership income. And the average top 1 percent household earns over 600 times the amount of partnership income as the average household in the bottom half. Overall, 69 percent of pass-through income earned by individuals accrues to the top 1 percent.”

20 comments

    • Dear Horty,

      These republicans in the WH and the US Congress exemplify the corruption of big monies in our politics.

      As per 11/7/17 VOX article, Why (are lawmakers passing this unpopular bill where only 26% peoples approve?)

      Consider this comment from Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY), one of those New York Republicans who theoretically might be upset that his constituents would be expected to lose under the GOP bill.

      Cristina Marcos

      @cimarcos
      .@RepChrisCollins (R-NY) on tax reform: “My donors are basically saying, ‘Get it done or don’t ever call me again.'”

      10:16 AM – Nov 7, 2017
      2,664 2,664 Replies 3,538 3,538 Retweets 4,274 4,274 likes
      Twitter Ads info and privacy

      The Republican donor class — i.e., corporate and wealthy America — expects Republican lawmakers to pass a Republican tax bill. It’s as simple as that.

      We know donor pressure is a big reason that Republicans kept trying to repeal Obamacare. But they still failed. Tax reform is their next — and maybe last — chance to deliver a big legislative victory. Republicans know it.

      “We haven’t repealed Obamacare, so if we don’t get tax reform done, we are in trouble,” Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) said back in September. “We might as well flip up our tent and go home.”

      So House Republicans aren’t going to sweat the details. Their donors put them in office to cut their taxes.

      Now we know the rest of the story…

      Thanks a million times over for all of your support and for this reblog.

      Hugs, Gronda

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Gronda, the promised shut down of donor money is the reason for being. We have declining middle class and poverty problem in this country and this is their solution? We have a debt problem and this is their solution? We have well over 100 consecutive months of growth and are at the top of the market, and this is the time they choose to stimulate the economy? Company CEOs have told Treasury they will be buying back shares and increasing dividends. At the top of the market, an easy way to increase EPS is to lower the denominator of outstanding shares through a buyback. Keith

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Keith,

      On the blog, “Crooked.com” the writers referred to the republicans’ tax cut bill as the 2017 Donor Relief Act.” There is no legitimate reason for passing this horrible bill except that it meets the demands of the donor class.

      Why couldn’t they do something right for a change like passing a bill like the 2010 Simpson-Bowles proposal?

      Hugs, Gronda

      Liked by 1 person

      • Gronda, I have been in meetings with representatives of The Concord Coalition, Fix the Debt and Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. They shared with me that when they meet with GOP politicians, they get a lot of head nodding on expense cuts until they get to the part about also needing to increase taxes. The legislators then shut down and ask them to leave. This Grover Norquist mantra hinders the GOP’s ability to look at financial problems. The Simpson Bowles effort was shelved by the GOP because it asked for some tax increases, while the Dems shelved it as it asked for spending cuts. I love Bernie Sanders, but that tax increase he was asking for to pay for national healthcare is needed for paying our bills. Keith

        Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Gradmama2011,

      Nothing short of a miracle will derail this tax cut bill from passing. Of course, this is the right season for it and I am not above saying my prayers towards this end.

      These republicans have forgotten who really pays their salaries. They have sold out their constituents for 30 pieces of silver.

      Thanks a million times over for all of your support and for this reblog.

      Hugs, Gronda

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks, Gronda. I have been AWOL the last couple of months, fretting about the fiasco in DC. None of it will really affect me after 10 or 15 years (a generous time table since I am 83 now, and although it is feasible to live to 100, I count each day as a bonus now. 🙂 I shudder to think of the evil coming down the pike for future generations.

        Liked by 2 people

      • For the life of me I can’t understand why these people don’t ask their own constituents for guidance. Although I do understand the heinous menacing of party politics at work! I personally lost a city council election back in the day because I refused to toe the party line…

        Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Gradmama2011,

      I want to take this moment to wish you and yours a wonderful Happy New Year in 2018. Thanks a million times for being a part of this blogging family.

      Hugs, Gronda

      Like

  2. Reblogged this on SOMETIMES and commented:
    This post from Gronda Morin is excellent… sort of like a kick in the gut!

    As comedian Flip Wilson once said in his “Ruby Begonia” monologue: “The King said: The people shall have nothing, and that what they have will be taken from them.” And the people cheered, “Yay King, Yay King…”

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Ravenhawks magazine,

      I should have referred to this tax cuts bill as the 2017 Donor Relief And US Lawmakers Windfall Act. Thanks a million times over for all of your support and for this reblog.

      Hugs, Gronda

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Suzanne,

      We now know that we can count on our US Congress republican representatives to NOT DO ONE THING that would benefit the average Joe voters.

      The only silver lining in all of this, is that we will return the sentiment.

      Thanks a million times over for all of your support and for this reblog.

      Hugs,Gronda

      Like

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