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Trump push for ‘middle class’ tax cut ahead of 2020 derided as admission that ‘his first tax cut was a scam’

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Advisers to President Donald Trump are reportedly working on a plan to slash the “middle class” tax rate to 15 percent, a pre-election effort that tax experts and progressive critics slammed as an admission that the first round of Republican tax cuts did nothing for most Americans while further enriching the wealthiest.

“Here we go again,” Americans for Tax Fairness executive director Frank Clemente said in a statement Tuesday, pointing out that the 2017 GOP tax law was also sold as a “middle class tax cut.”

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“Raising the idea of a new ‘middle class tax cut’ is an admission by the president that his first tax cut was a scam. It wasn’t aimed at the middle class but aimed at his wealthy friends and big corporations.”
—Frank Clemente, Americans for Tax Fairness

“What’s the line, fool me once…? A vague, election-year promise of a huge tax cut for the middle-class should be viewed very skeptically,” said Clemente. “Raising the idea of a new ‘middle class tax cut’ is an admission by the president that his first tax cut was a scam. It wasn’t aimed at the middle class but aimed at his wealthy friends and big corporations. Why should we expect anything different now?”

The Washington Post reported Tuesday that a team of Trump aides led by National Economic Council director and Wall Street ally Larry Kudlow is exploring a number of proposals that would further cut taxes, including some that would disproportionately reward the rich.

The plan under consideration would likely aim to cut the tax rate for those who earn between $30,000 and $100,000 to 15 percent. The Post notes that the “current marginal tax rate for someone making $90,000 is 24 percent.”

Such a tax cut, according to the Post, “would give tax relief to the middle class and the rich, since the rich also pay marginal taxes on the lower rates.”

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Michael Linden, a tax expert at the Roosevelt Institute, said “depending on where it starts, a 15 percent rate would be a relatively small tax cut for middle income people.”

“This is an acknowledgement that Republicans’ original tax plan was heavily skewed to the wealthy, the middle got almost nothing, and people at the bottom got literally nothing,” said Linden. “I’m not sure having a second go at it is going to solve anything.”

Stephen Moore, a right-wing Heritage Foundation economist who has worked with the Trump White House on tax policy, is “also pushing for a change that would allow capital gains to ‘roll-over’ tax-free if they are reinvested in a different stock,” the Post reported.

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In response to Moore’s proposal, Post columnist Catherine Rampell warned on Twitter, “Don’t be fooled.”

“That ‘middle-class tax cut’ the Trump administration is floating is actually a Trojan Horse designed to effectively eliminate capital gains taxes for the rich,” said Rampell.

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2020 Election

Susan Collins had a 67% approval rating when Trump first took office — it’s collapsed to just 36% today

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Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, trails leading Democratic challenger Sara Gideon by four points in her re-election race as her support continues to sag.

Gideon, the speaker of the Maine House of Representatives, leads Collins 46-42 in a new Public Policy Polling survey, which sampled more than 1,000 Maine voters and has a margin of error of 3.1%.

Gideon held a similar four-point lead in a PPP poll in March and edged out Collins by a single point in a Colby College poll from February, meaning this is the third straight poll to show Collins behind. She led the race by 16 points when it was first polled in June 2019.

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2020 Election

Trump can’t think past his own ego and can’t see the ‘utter disaster’ America has become

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Presidents become known for their words. Particular phrases seep into public memory and create the signposts of their legacy. George H. W. Bush was marked, for example, by the phrase "read my lips: no new taxes," perhaps more for the wonky way he said it than for the fact that he didn't deliver. Richard Nixon famously liked to repeat "let me make one thing perfectly clear," a phrase that hangs heavily given the irony of its source.

Sometimes these phrases are ominous. Lyndon B. Johnson's legacy is haunted by the time he uttered "we still seek no wider war," shortly before escalating the conflict in Vietnam. George W. Bush's administration left us with many disturbing phrases, including "extraordinary rendition," which Salman Rushdie described as an "ugly phrase that conceals an uglier truth."

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2020 Election

Trump claims ‘Biden is incompetent while he’s getting crowds to clap for drinking with one hand’: reporter Yamiche Alcindor

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PBS's Yamiche Alcindor joined MSNBC's Chris Hayes Monday evening, noting the strange way that President Donald Trump's campaign seems to be running several contrasting campaigns against former Vice President Joe Biden.

Trump has spent the better part of a year attacking the former VP as "Sleepy Joe Biden," claiming that he's mentally ill, senile and lacking the mental ability to be president. At the same time, however, Trump tried to generate a campaign where he calls Biden corrupt. It begs the question: how can someone be senile while leading some kind of nefarious corruption ring?

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