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Kochs Push Hard For Tax Cuts

Conservative groups seeking support for tax cuts find it a hard sell. NYT: “A dozen high school students working for Americans for Prosperity, the conservative political network funded by Charles G. and David H. Koch, fanned out across the Little Havana neighborhood one day last week to make the case that the Republican tax bill was something to get excited about… It’s the trickle down theory of selling tax cuts to the American voter. Conservative activist groups like Americans for Prosperity, celebrating what they expect is the imminent passage of a tax package that they and the Republican Party’s corporate backers have sought for a generation, now need to convince ordinary Americans that this is good for them too… The problem, as Republicans are learning, is that most Americans do not believe that is what the tax plan will do.”

GOP Tax Plan Full Of Loopholes

‘Holy crap’: Experts find tax plan riddled with glitches. Politico: “Republicans’ tax-rewrite plans are riddled with bugs, loopholes and other potential problems that could plague lawmakers long after their legislation is signed into law. Some of the provisions could be easily gamed, tax lawyers say. Their plans to cut taxes on “pass-through” businesses in particular could open broad avenues for tax avoidance. Others would have unintended results, like a last-minute decision by the Senate to keep the alternative minimum tax, which was designed to make sure wealthy people and corporations don’t escape taxes altogether. For many businesses, that would nullify the value of a hugely popular break for research and development expenses.”

Banks Plan Share Buybacks, Not Investment

BofA plans to increase share buybacks with overseas profits. CNBC: “Bank of America announced Tuesday that it plans to buy back another $5 billion of its stock through the middle of next year, and that is proof enough that tax reform is bound to fail, according to New York Democrat Sen. Chuck Schumer. U.S. banks have been required to get Fed approval for share buybacks and dividend payments since the central bank began stress testing them after the financial crisis to make sure they had enough capital on hand to weather a severe downturn. But Schumer says the buyback plan just underscores how major corporations are likely to use the tax cuts they are due under the tax reform being pushed by Republican members of Congress. That is to say, they won’t be using their windfalls to expand business and create jobs. ‘Big corporations can smell the huge tax cut they have coming, and rather than raising workers’ pay or hiring new workers, they’re buying back stock and prepping huge dividend payments,’ Schumer said in a statement. ‘CEOs have made no secret of their intention to spend a coming tax windfall on executive bonuses, stock buybacks and dividends.'”

Senate Panel Moves To Roll Back Dodd-Frank

Senate panel moves forward with bill to roll back Dodd-Frank. The Hill: “Republicans and a block of moderate Democrats advanced on Tuesday significant proposed changes to the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The Senate Banking Committee approved by a 16 to 7 vote a sweeping bill that would exempt dozens of banks from Dodd-Frank and loosen the rules imposed after the financial crisis on smaller firms… Liberals claimed the bill was little more than a wish list for bank lobbyists meant to boost a financial sector already reaping record profits. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said she was ‘disturbed’ that her colleagues would consider rolling back financial rules amid the series of scandals exposed at banks such as Wells Fargo.

What’s At Stake With The CFPB

What’s at Stake in the Fight Over the CFPB. The Atlantic: “Prior to the founding of the CFPB, disputes between individual customers and their banks could be daunting and expensive pursuits. The financial industry has never been known for its transparency or accessibility, and banks managed to sneak all types of dangerous, expensive, or exploitative provisions into the fine print of contracts on everything from credit-card applications to mortgages. The subprime-debt crisis highlights just how badly that can turn out for everyone. While state-level consumer protections existed and banks were regulated by entities such as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the CFPB was the first federal regulator to take a critical look at such a wide variety of banking practices with an eye toward fairness and protection of consumers above all else.”

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