This week the Senate finally passed the controversial Republican tax plan. While everyone's taxes will fall, by far the biggest beneficiaries of the tax cuts by over the next decade would be the top 1% and the top 0.1% of American households, says Ben Chu in The Independent. What's more, the way the bill is drafted implies that, by 2027, taxes would rise for the lowest income groups. At the same time, the bill also repeals the Obama administrationrequirement that all Americans obtain health insurance. As a result, 13 million fewer Americans, most of them poor, will have health coverage by 2027.
"This is a tax plan conjured up by people who have spent their lives lining their wallets at the expense of the hard-working Americans' they so piously claim to protect", says Michael Moritz in the Financial Times. Indeed, "instead of stiffing the banks as was his past practice when one of his many misbegotten real-estate adventures failed", President Donald Trump is "now stiffing the generations who will be left to deal with the consequences of this tax plan". Still, "I suppose we should have expected this, since piling up debt is the one arena where, before arriving in Washington, Trump can genuinely claim to have excelled".
So much for the Republicans' endless "fiscal moralising", says Economist.com. They have cast aside their Obama-era insistence on balanced budgets, showing that they have no objection to government borrowing when it suits them. "The overarching policy objective that unifies them is cutting taxes and damn the fiscal consequences." Those consequences will be more serious than they have consistently claimed.
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The Republican leadership and the Trump administration have said that these tax cuts will pay for themselves. But the Joint Committee on taxation thinks that they will cost $1 trillion by 2027. The implication is that they could generate enough growth to pay for around a third of the overall package. These cuts will add another 3-4% to America's debt-to-GDP ratio, which current projections suggest will be around 91% that year.
While the passage of the bill is being seen as a major victory for Trump, it is actually "yet more evidence of the president's weakness, rather than as a sudden demonstration of new stature", argues Matthew Glassman on Vox.com. After all, he "appears to have had littleinfluence over the timing or substance of the policies the House and Senate devised" and was "content to simplysign on to whatever agendacongressional Republican leaders set". So, "far from unifying Republicans around a Trump agenda, he appears reduced to cheerleading for a Republican one".
Matthew graduated from the University of Durham in 2004; he then gained an MSc, followed by a PhD at the London School of Economics.
He has previously written for a wide range of publications, including the Guardian and the Economist, and also helped to run a newsletter on terrorism. He has spent time at Lehman Brothers, Citigroup and the consultancy Lombard Street Research.
Matthew is the author of Superinvestors: Lessons from the greatest investors in history, published by Harriman House, which has been translated into several languages. His second book, Investing Explained: The Accessible Guide to Building an Investment Portfolio, is published by Kogan Page.
As senior writer, he writes the shares and politics & economics pages, as well as weekly Blowing It and Great Frauds in History columns He also writes a fortnightly reviews page and trading tips, as well as regular cover stories and multi-page investment focus features.
Follow Matthew on Twitter: @DrMatthewPartri
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