Larry Pressler: GOP tax bill shows it’s time for Democrats to move to real issues


This bill has totally abandoned any concern for the staggeringly high federal deficit. I am one who believes that the huge deficit will eventually bring our economy grinding to a halt.

We are now two years, 10 months and two weeks away from the next presidential election. As yet, no clear issues coalition has emerged to challenge President Trump. The biggest news in Washington is the tax bill, and although it is much criticized, there has been no alternative tax bill offered by the Democrats. The stock markets have reacted very well by going up and up. Thus, most of the smart men and women in the financial world seem delighted by the bill.

However, I must be out of touch; I think the bill will be a complete, dismal failure because it will balloon the deficit. I usually try to be as positive about Congress and the Trump administration as possible, but my hopes for real tax reform have been dashed by this artificial bill.

For example, I thought from the speech running up to the election that we would do away with the “carried interest.” For several years now, all presidential candidates of both parties (including President Trump) have said they are for repealing the privilege of Wall Street hedge funds paying a capital gains rate (about 20 percent) on income from “carried interest.” Everybody appeared to have agreed that it should be taxed at the individual rate, which has been up to 39 percent and is apparently 37 percent in the new tax bill. However, the hedge fund lobbyists got to the Congress big time on this, and it was silently dropped.

Most of the top-level media companies, ranging from Gannett to Disney to CBS, have quietly favored keeping “carried interest” at a…

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