It must be nice to write your own tax breaks

Sheila Nowinski


Last week Rep. Mike Kelly and Sen. Pat Toomey voted for a $1.4 trillion tax bill. For years they promised “reform,” like simplifying the tax code, ending loopholes and cutting everyone’s rate. This bill does not do any of those things. Instead, it makes the tax code more complicated by favoring certain types of income and firms over others and eliminating some deductions but not others. The result is a system that is easier for the super wealthy to game with expensive attorneys and byzantine accounting tricks.

Just before the bill passed we learned of cynical, predatory carve-outs for certain types of income. The “Corker Kickback” is a special rate for those who own real estate through LLCs. An investigation by the International Business Times showed that Congress is filled with Republicans who earn income this way, including Speaker Paul Ryan, who made more than $115,000 last year, and Sen. Rob Portman, who made $275,000. Others like Sen. Bob Corker made millions.

Another carve-out was for energy-related MLPs, which are primarily used by oil and gas pipeline companies. Thirteen Republicans in Congress, including Sen. Toomey who helped write the bill, collectively own millions of dollars in these MLPs. And let’s not forget millionaire Rep. Kelly, who stands to gain tens of thousands of dollars a year from the tax bill. It must be nice to write your own tax break. In the Trump era, self-dealing for personal gain is business-as-usual.