Somewhere in the chasm between the direst predictions of harm and doom, and the wildest promises of joy and prosperity will land the true day-to-day impact of the new tax law.
If we know anything by now about President Donald Trump, it is that, at any given moment, he will try to sell as fact what he wants everyone, including himself, to believe.
But remember that the law bearing his signature is not uniquely Trump’s own. Nor is it all about him: The GOP-led Congress crafted the law, perhaps along the lines of what any red-state-empowered Republican president would enact.
The Democrats, fighting to recoup influence in the midterm elections, will play in 2018 on the widespread notion that the measure Trump signed Friday represents a rip-off for the rich.
“This tax bill will be an anchor around the ankles of every Republican,” warned Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). “If they haven’t learned it yet, they’re going to learn it next November.”
Of course, Schumer also said early last year that GOP lawmakers realized if Trump or Sen. Ted Cruz were nominated for president, they’d lose the White House and Senate in 2016.
So it’s best to ignore the hyperbole and look ahead to answers that emerge from an early fog surrounding this sweeping $1.5 trillion tax measure.
Now that the deductibility of state and local taxes (SALT) gets capped at $10,000, officials in high-tax areas face new political pressure to rein in their take from homeowners.
Democrats and others who head school and other taxing districts may find it most expedient to blame new, harder choices on partisan tax decisions made far away in Washington.
As the complexities of individual returns are figured out, the coming debate between “Oh, this is terrible” versus “Oh, you’re OK” could involve other deductions that get eased or eliminated under the new law.
One example: The new threshold for paying an alternative minimum tax goes to $1 million in income for married couples — up dramatically from $160,900. Tax pros on Long Island will look to see for whom this could offset the new SALT limit.
Some of the more macro questions — with hot political meaning — involve the impact of a big corporate tax rate cut.
Fans call it economic adrenaline. Critics call it a boon to foreign investors.
Partisan role-reversal is under way over debt and deficits. Democrats argue that the budget gap’s expansion will threaten Medicare and Social Security; Republicans insist growth will sensationally boost tax revenue.
In 2018 we’ll start to learn who really wins and loses.