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Forgotten Again

 

Forgotten Again

Courtesy of Joshua Brown 

“The bill is investing heavily in the wealthy and their children — by boosting the value of their stock portfolios, creating new loopholes for them to avoid tax on their labor income, and cutting taxes on massive inheritances. At the same time, it leaves low- and middle-income workers with even fewer resources to invest in their children, and increases the number of Americans without health insurance.”

Remember the “forgotten men and women” who were “left behind” by the economic recovery? The folks who believed that only Donald Trump could step in and do something? Based on what the Senate passed last night, they were forgotten again. Maybe worse than forgotten, they may have been obliterated.

The Senate’s version of tax reform is going to be incredible for people like me – I make my living in the investment market, cater to wealthy people, own a business and have large holdings in stocks. I’ll be fine. But this wasn’t supposed to be about helping people like me – the 20% of households who own 80% of the stock market – it was supposed to be about everyone else.

I doubt they were forgotten. It looks like they were forsaken.

You know who wasn’t forgotten? Steve Schwarzman at Blackstone. Neither were Bain Capital, KKR, the Carlyle Group or any of the other enormously wealthy private equity firms.  They’ve navigated the Trump tax debate flawlessly, preserving their carried interest loophole and possibly benefitting even further if the pass-through tax rate drops along with the corporate rate.

I don’t think there’s anything on earth or in the stars that can kill the hedge fund industry’s preferential tax structure. Thanks to Citizens United, these people have an unlimited and unchecked ability to dominate both political parties with donations and the promise of future donations.

Back to last night. There’s a possibility that last night’s preliminary step toward final legislation will take the number one issue facing America and balloon it into Rubenesque proportions. Economic inequality, which largely drove voters to lose their minds and cotton to candidates like Bernie Sanders and Trump, could explode over the next few years as a result of fiscal stimulus targeted almost precisely at the part of the economy that doesn’t need it. The fact that the people who do need the most help could end up paying for that is perhaps the sickest, most cruelly ironic joke that’s ever been told.

Unless you believe in magic, which I don’t. And remember, I’m speaking here against my own immediate self-interest. I’m not stupid and this isn’t virtue signaling – I genuinely believe the economy is better when participation is broader and not as concentrated as it’s been. Obama attempted to solve this but he failed. Trump is not even trying. He’d sign anything brought to his desk at this point, just to say he did it.

Please read this and digest it.


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