Tracker Pixel for Entry

​Christmas tax cuts or long-term Krampus run?

by C.S. Hagen | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | News | December 19th, 2017

WASHINGTON D.C. – As the Republican $1.5 trillion tax bill headed for a final vote Tuesday, opposition to the bill, known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, was growing. The House approved the bill Tuesday afternoon, by a vote of 227-203, but questions were raised soon after the vote.

The bill is expected to pass in the Senate this week, and President Donald Trump has promised to sign it into law by Christmas. If passed, the bill would mark the first major legislation passed during Trump’s first year in the Oval Office. Late Tuesday night Vice News reported the House had to re-vote after the Senate votes due to deficiencies in the bill. The New Yorker Magazine called the bill unworkable; Bloomberg Politics cries procedural hiccup. 

Some of the issues in the bill as it stands now include 529 tax-advantaged accounts to cover expenses for home-schooling children, and schools that would be excluded from a new excise tax on private universities’ endowments above a certain threshold, according to Bloomberg Politics.

More than half of Americans, 57 percent, on both sides of the political aisle, reported that the proposed cuts, called the most sweeping tax rewrite in decades, would not help their family’s financial situations, according to a December 6 Gallup News poll.

Despite criticism, Republicans are promoting the benefits of the tax cuts -- to be tapered off by 2027 -- and Democrats are attacking the bill as a $49.4 billion gift for corporations and the wealthy.

The bill in its current form will raise taxes on individuals by $83 billion in 2027, Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), said.

“It’s Congress’s job to put our country on a strong path forward,” Heitkamp said. Heitkamp is also a former North Dakota tax commissioner. “Unfortunately, this bill does the opposite. It will put nearly $1.5 trillion on the country’s credit card, passing those costs on to our children and grandchildren. And it will increase costs to most North Dakotans in the long-term, while corporations and the wealthy reap permanent benefits.”

The bill was hastily crafted and pushed to the legislature by one party, Heitkamp said.

Congressman Kevin Cramer disagreed.

“At the beginning of this year, Congress and the Trump Administration pledged to enact meaningful tax reform, making American businesses globally competitive again, and giving middle-class taxpayers the tax cut they deserve,” Cramer said.

A family of four earning $73,000 a year will receive a $2,059 tax cut, Cramer reported on December 15. “Without questions, the final version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act released… will save Americans thousands of dollars in taxes. Farmers will save money; local businesses will save money; young working families will save money; single individuals will save money; nearly everyone in America will keep more of their hard-earned money. This is a win for the American people, and people should expect to see more money in their paychecks beginning February 2018.”

Ben Hanson, a Fargo real estate agent who is running against Cramer for the state’s only seat in Congress, said he would vote no on the bill.

"This bill betrays seniors, farmers and ranchers, college students and the workers who live off the paychecks they earn,” Hanson said. “Kevin Cramer can claim that this bill is good for our state, but saying it over and over doesn't make it so. He just voted to raise taxes on most North Dakotans and cut critical programs for those who depend on them.

"North Dakotans deserve a congressman who puts people over profits, and Kevin Cramer is not that person. His vote harms families, harms our communities and it harms our state."

Senator John Hoeven (R-ND), said the bill’s tax cuts, coupled with regulatory relief, will empower the economy to grow and increase government revenues.

“We worked hard to ensure the tax relief bill works for North Dakota,” Hoeven said. “The legislation lowers rates across the board for individuals and families, enabling hard-working Americans to keep more of their paychecks. At the same time, it lowers rates and provides relief for small businesses, including our farmers and ranchers.

According to Hoeven’s explanation of the bill, the tax cuts will provide more than $2,059 for a median-income family of four, Americans will not be taxed on the first $12,000 of income for individuals, $24,000 for married couples, and $18,000 for single parent with dependents.

Child tax credits are doubled to $2,000 per child, and child and dependent tax credits are left alone. The bill also continues deductions for student loan interest and tuition waivers, medical expenses, charitable contributions, and home mortgage interest.

Heitkamp’s description of the bill couldn’t be more different: the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will provide permanent tax cuts to corporations and large tax cuts for the wealthy, while the middle-income families lose out in the long run. The gap between large and small businesses will widen, just as the wealth between today’s rich and poor will be exacerbated.

“The bill will essentially punish smaller businesses that can’t afford to pay high-priced tax attorneys and accountants to exploit loopholes and glitches in the rules,” Heitkamp said. “The largest loopholes enable the wealthy to declare their income as business income to benefit from the new lower corporate tax rates.”

The tax cuts could also continue the American trend of shifting income and companies overseas instead of creating more jobs in America, Heitkamp said. Senior citizens may also see their taxes rise with inflating health care premiums.

“It will also drastically increase the nation’s debt by nearly $1.5 trillion, which could lead to $400 billion in cuts to Medicare over 10 years, and slash other programs that support seniors.”

Instead of helping farmers and ranchers, as Cramer and Hoeven maintain, middle-income families in rural America will lose out after “modest tax decreases” disappear after 2025.

“The wealthy and corporations will reap permanent rewards,” Heitkamp said.

Millennials will also inherit a massive national debt. “The structure of the tax bill will be particularly devastating for young men and women entering the workforce who will face a nearly $1.5 trillion bill in the next 10 years, just as they are entering their prime working years,” Heitkamp said.

“Although millennials will be paying for these tax cuts, they won’t see much in terms of tax reductions, because these cuts are geared toward higher earning workers who are more developed in their careers. And by the time most millennials will be entering into their prime earning years, the tax cuts will be completely phased out.” 

Recently in:

FARGO - Hundreds of thousands of women and men, young and old, took to the streets across America on Saturday, raising awareness for issues from women's rights, Black Lives Matter, missing Indigenous women, DACA, immigration…

When I was a young boy of five I was lucky enough to have a black and white TV in our house. I had a lot of friends in those day because I let the whole neighborhood come over on Saturday morning to watch cartoons. I distinctly…

Wednesday, January 24, 6pmFargo Theatre, 314 Broadway NThe very first showing of “Homegrown: From Farm to Fargo,” a half-hour documentary shot, written, edited and produced by mass communication and journalism students at…

Last week I was asked to appear and speak on behalf of Matt Pausch, owner of the Oasis, before the Public Works and Safety Committee in Wahpeton. The Pausches are great people and I will never forget the time I spent at the Oasis.…

Corky had a knee replaced in late December and she has been diligently doing the physical therapy connected with the rehab. Although the operation was done in Fargo, I imagine the procedure would have cost about the same if it had…

Rhombus GuysWhile they may be known locally and throughout the region for their restaurants, which feature over thirty different pizzas, and their recent addition of a brewery in Grand Forks, Rhombus Guys also proudly pour from a…

Do you eat enough vegetables? Almost no one does. The current USDA nutrition guidelines for adults recommend 2.5 to 3 cups of vegetables to be eaten daily. Other nutrition sources indicate this number can be upwards of 6 cups of…

No one who has lived in Fargo for any length of time has to be told how bitterly cold it can get here during the winter. As much as we might complain about the cold temperatures, the biting winds, or the copious amounts of snow, we…

Now playing on Netflix Instant Watch, Voyeur is the curious story of strange bedfellows Gay Talese -- the once influential and celebrated journalist -- and Gerald Foos, a creepy peeper who spied on the guests at his hotel,…

High Plains Reader: How did the idea for Daily Trump Cartoon come to you -- what was your call to action?Peter Yuenger: It wasn't really a call to action, It was more of a New Year’s resolution to get back in the habit of drawing…

Smoke starts to seep from the sides of the stage and a rocker’s voice echoes over the crowd: “Are you ready to rock?!”You might think that you’re at a rock concert, if you weren’t seated in a black box theatre. For the…

Humor

​Talking to strangers

by Sabrina Hornung

“I don’t have a tour, like, on the back of a sweatshirt,” comedian Paula Poundstone says. “I go out every weekend. This weekend I went out Friday, Saturday and Monday. Mostly it’s Friday/Saturday or Thursday through…

“What are some of your favorite bottles of whiskey?” is a question I get asked quite frequently and is often harder to answer than one might think. One of the great rewards of my profession is getting to sample some of the…

Essential oils. They are all the buzz lately. It seems everyone has heard of them or is purchasing them. Some people know how to use them; others are just interested in the wonder of their complex scents.Essential oils are as…

Live and Learn

​The other shoe

by HPR Contributor

By Elizabeth Nawrotnawrot@mnstate.eduI look up from my hotel lobby breakfast astonished to see a framed print of Wassily Kandinsky's "Mit und Gegen,” a masterpiece of color and composition that just happens to be my favorite…

By Gary Olsonolsong@moravian.edu“Kissing a man without a beard is like eating an egg without salt.”— Dutch proverb, probably written by a man.“Kissing a man with a beard is like going on a picnic. You don’t mind going…