The GOP tax plan is a 'catastrophe' that will make inequality 'materially worse'

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  • The Senate version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act isn’t just ill advised, it’s “mean-spirited,” ex-American Airlines CEO Robert Crandall tells Business Insider.
  • The plan would preserve many of the loopholes that help the wealthy both at the corporate and individual levels, analyses show.
  • “They want to tax poor people in order to give new breaks for the rich,” Crandall said.

The Senate version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which is widely and accurately perceived as heavily tilted in favour of wealth families and corporations, isn’t just bad economic policy – “it’s simply mean-spirited,” veteran businessman and former American Airlines CEO Robert Crandall told Business Insider.

Crandall said the tax cuts, which look like they have a solid chance of making it through Congress on a narrow, partisan basis as early as Thursday night, will definitely not boost economic growth or employment in the way President Donald Trump has promised.

Worse, however, Crandall views the tax bill’s details, which include cuts to everything from medical spending on the elderly and poor to educational subsidies for low-income and middle-class Americans, as an effort to dismantle what is left of America’s post-Depression social safety net, including Medicare and Social Security.

“They want to tax poor people in order to give new breaks for the rich,” Crandall said. “Give me a break. The bill is a catastrophe. It’s built around making inequality materially worse.”

Crandall worries that the planned repeal of the estate tax, which affects only ultra-wealthy families like his own, is distinctly un-American.

Class society

“We created America in the first place because they wanted to escape a class society,” he said. “The estate tax repeal will save me $US50 million – my kids are going to have it. They shouldn’t have the $US50 million. The country needs it.”

Larry White, economics professor at New York University, is similarly concerned about the bill, which has been rushed through Congress with little time for debate or review.

He worries the bill leaves open many of the loopholes Republicans claimed they would close as a part of reforming the tax system.

“The reduction in the corporate tax rate probably makes sense – if all of the loopholes were closed,” White said in an email. “As it is, they want to lower the rate to 20% – but leave most of the loopholes, so the effective rate will be much less, just as currently the nominal rate is 35% but the effective rate is only 22%.”

“It’s an outrage that loopholes in the individual tax code – such as lower rates for ‘carried interest’ – are not being eliminated,” he added.

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