42 top economists were asked if the Trump tax plan would significantly grow the economy. 1 said yes.

Rebekah Entralgo

Rebekah Entralgo Reporter, ThinkProgress

Overhauling the tax code before Christmas would be a difficult task under “normal” conditions, yet Republicans in Congress are pledging to do just that with their tax bill.

There’s just one big problem: It is a supremely poor tax plan that doesn’t provide middle-class tax relief while also serving as a substantial handout to the wealthy.

A University of Chicago survey released Tuesday polled 42 of the nation’s leading economists about the Republican tax plan — and all but one said they do not agree with claims that the plan will grow the economy.

This survey is yet another piece of analysis that eviscerates a popular White House talking point that by cutting taxes for corporations, the GOP tax plan would create so much economic growth that the average American family would get a raise of about $4,000 dollars.

Earlier this week, analysis from the non-partisan Tax Policy Center found that, despite claims from White House officials like chief economic adviser Gary Cohn, the tax cuts will not pay for themselves through growth. In total, the House bill would yield around $169 billion in additional tax revenue, nowhere near enough to cover the roughly $1.5 trillion in revenue loss from a corporate tax cut.

This University of Chicago survey echoes another survey conducted by the institution in May. Back then, 35 out of 37 economists believed the Trump tax cuts wouldn’t pay for themselves; the other two didn’t understand the question.

Not only is the GOP tax plan unpopular among prominent economists, but the American public is also beginning to catch on. An ABC News-Washington poll from earlier in the month found that Americans oppose the tax plan by a 17 point margin, believing it only benefits the wealthy. This polling was conducted before the Senate Finance Committee announced it would include a repeal of the individual mandate — a provision of the Affordable Care Act that requires individuals be insured — to help pay for a corporate tax cut.

In addition to leaving 13 million Americans uninsured, repealing the individual mandate might also cost Republicans a few key votes in the Senate. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) was instrumental in ultimately voting against the multiple Republican efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare and has stated the plan would harm middle class families.

“I have data that demonstrates for certain middle-income individuals and couples, who do not qualify for subsidies under the ACA… that the premium increase will outweigh the tax cut that they get,” Collins told reporters. “I suspected this, based on what I know about insurance markets, but now I have the actual data.”

Senate Republicans can only afford to lose two votes.

***

Reposted from ThinkProgress

Posted In: Allied Approaches

Union Matters

Failing Bridges Hold Public Hostage

From the USW

From tumbledown bridges to decrepit roads and failing water systems, crumbling infrastructure undermines America’s safety and prosperity. In coming weeks, Union Matters will delve into this neglect and the urgent need for a rebuilding campaign that creates jobs, fuels economic growth and revitalizes communities.

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) gave the public just a few hours’ notice before closing a major bridge in March, citing significant safety concerns.

The West Seattle Bridge functioned as an essential component of  the city’s local and regional transportation network, carrying 125,000 travelers a day while serving Seattle’s critical maritime and freight industries. Closing it was a huge blow to the city and its citizens. 

Yet neither Seattle’s struggle with bridge maintenance nor the inconvenience now facing the city’s motorists is unusual. Decades of neglect left bridges across the country crumbling or near collapse, requiring a massive investment to keep traffic flowing safely.

When they opened it in 1984, officials predicted the West Seattle Bridge would last 75 years.

But in 2013, cracks started appearing in the center span’s box girders, the main horizontal support beams below the roadway. These cracks spread 2 feet in a little more than two weeks, prompting the bridge’s closure.

And it’s still at risk of falling.  

The city set up an emergency alert system so those in the “fall zone” could be quickly evacuated if the bridge deteriorates to the point of collapse.

More than one-third of U.S. bridges similarly need repair work or replacement, a reminder of America’s urgent need to invest in long-ignored infrastructure.

Fixing or replacing America’s bridges wouldn’t just keep Americans moving. It would also provide millions of family-supporting jobs for steel and cement workers, while also boosting the building trades and other industries.

With bridges across the country close to failure and millions unemployed, America needs a major infrastructure campaign now more than ever.

 

More ...

There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work