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President Trump’s new tax plan will cut seven tax brackets down to three, with rates of 10, 25 and 35 percent. The Trump plan also drops the top rate of taxation from 39.6 to 35 percent. The corporate income tax rate falls from 35 to 15 percent, and the estate tax is eliminated. Those who see this as serious tax reform might consider what the plan does not do.
It does not change the basic system, which statist types call “progressive,” of punishing high earners with higher rates of taxation. The plan is not a flat tax, and a drop of less than 5 percent in the most punitive rate is essentially tokenism. On the other hand, the plan does not “give” anything to anybody, as statists contend. To allow workers to keep more of what they earn is not to give them anything.
The government currently gets workers’ money before they do, in the form of withholding from their paychecks. This practice dates from World War II and was supposed to be temporary. As a matter of basic justice, nobody should get workers’ money before they do. This is sheer government greed and the Trump plan leaves it in place.
The Trump plan does nothing to reduce the power of the Internal Revenue Service, a powerful, intrusive agency that violates basic rights by presuming guilt in tax matters. The previous president deployed the IRS against groups that favor lower taxes, limited government, and clean elections. The point man for that campaign was IRS boss John Koskinen, a terrible administrator and professional prevaricator. He should have been fired long ago and probably prosecuted, but President Trump has kept Koskinen in place. Turns out, on one of Trump’s first major real-estate deals back in the day, John Koskinen handled the sale as vice president of the Palmieri Company.
This kind of cronyism is typical of Washington. Like other presidents, Donald Trump talks a good game on reform, but he’s essentially an establishment man. His tax plan tinkers with a ponderous code, and the president is content to leave basic injustices in place. The harder you work, the more government takes, and the government still gets your money before you do.