Trump Wants to Kill the Filibuster to Cut Taxes for the Rich

(CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

President Donald Trump shakes hands with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell after delivering his address to a joint session of Congress.

Big surprise: Donald Trump wants the U.S. Senate to blow up the legislative filibuster to pass big tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy and to rip health-care coverage from 23 million people.

Amid a scatterbrained trio of Tweets Tuesday morning, Trump wrote the following:



Even though Senate Republicans are expected to use the budget reconciliation process (which requires just 51 votes to pass legislation) to approve the American Health Care Act and additional tax cuts, the fact that Trump is calling on them to blow up the legislative filibuster—one of the Senate’s few remaining sacred cows, requiring most bills in the Senate to get 60 votes—shows just how desperate he is to push through his regressive agenda.

When House Republicans failed to muster the votes to pass the AHCA in April, they went back to the drawing board to write a bill that was even more devastatingly draconian—and passed it in early May without any scoring from the Congressional Budget Office.

When the CBO did score the legislation, it found that the AHCA would boot 23 million people off health insurance and cut Medicaid spending by $834 billion. The plan would also cut subsidies that help individuals afford coverage by $276 billion.  

All those cuts will help pay for the cost of repealing the Obamacare taxes, which will generate generous tax savings for the wealthiest few. The top 1 percent, for instance, would save about $37,320 a year in taxes, according to the Tax Policy Center. The top 0.1 percent would see $200,000 in annual savings.

In short, the AHCA is a tax cut bill for the rich, subsidized on the backs of struggling Americans who will no longer have access to affordable health care. And Trump wants Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to obliterate the filibuster and pass it with a simple majority.

On top of that, Trump wants to open the upper chamber's floodgates to pass his tax plan, which would slash corporate tax rates and top marginal tax rates for the wealthy, claiming the lost revenue could be generated by a magical spark of economic growth and vague promises about closing tax loopholes for the rich. Don’t be fooled: It’s straight-up trickle-down fundamentalism.

Slashing the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent is merely a giveaway for companies that, through a series of loopholes and evasion tactics, are already paying nowhere near the top rate. Even worse, to think that they’ll take any additional tax savings and invest them in jobs, research, and other growth-spurring initiatives instead of further enriching their shareholders is to indulge in the sheerest of fantasies. As is hoping that slicing the top marginal income tax rate from 39.6 percent to 15 percent will finally convince the almighty job creators to wave their job-creating wands and singlehandedly resurrect the manufacturing sector.

Tax cuts do not pay for themselves with magical amounts of economic growth—this trickle-down fallacy has been proven wrong time and time again. Yet Trump wants to double down on that losing bet by blowing up the filibuster in the Senate—and the only the obstacle keeping Republicans from fully implementing their political crusade against working people.  

But if you can’t break the rules to benefit the rich, why go into politics at all?

Tax Cuts for the rich. Deregulation for the powerful. Wage suppression for everyone else. These are the tenets of trickle-down economics, the conservatives’ age-old strategy for advantaging the interests of the rich and powerful over those of the middle class and poor. The articles in Trickle-Downers are devoted, first, to exposing and refuting these lies, but equally, to reminding Americans that these claims aren’t made because they are true. Rather, they are made because they are the most effective way elites have found to bully, confuse and intimidate middle- and working-class voters. Trickle-down claims are not real economics. They are negotiating strategies. Here at the Prospect, we hope to help you win that negotiation.

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