A pork barrel Corker

If this is true it’s an extreme example of how dysfunctional and dominated by dollars that US politics has become.

Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the majority whip, on Sunday said a provision that could personally enrich key Republican lawmakers was added to the final tax bill as part of an effort to “cobble together the votes we needed to get this bill passed.”

Cornyn was pressed about the provision on ABC’s “This Week,” after an International Business Times investigation showed that Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee suddenly switched his vote to “yes” after GOP leaders added the provision, which could boost Corker’s real estate income.

A top Democratic senator, Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, responded to Cornyn’s explanation by saying the language put into the bill also “would be a windfall to Donald Trump.”

As IBT first reported, the provision potentially enriching Corker, Trump and a handful of other top Republican lawmakers, was not part of the House- or Senate-passed bill, but was added by GOP lawmakers to the final bill, which was publicly released on Friday afternoon.

Corker, who is not seeking re-election and is considered a crucial swing vote due to his criticism of President Trump, suddenly said he would support the final bill. He initially voted against the original bill in the Senate, which did not have the provision.

Corker subsequently asserted to IBT that he did not know about the provision being added to the final bill, and he also declared he has not even read the tax bill he announced he is voting for.

The provision at issue would provide a special tax deduction on income made from so-called “pass through” entities, like real estate LLCs. The specific language would provide the lucrative tax deduction for such entities, even when they employ few or no employees — a structure that tax experts say is designed to give a tax break to real estate moguls.

It looks like a corrupt mess.

At first, Cornyn said the criticism of the provision was unfair, declaring: “Picking out one piece in a 1,000-page bill and saying, ‘well, this is going to benefit somebody’ — I just think that takes the whole bill out of context.”

But then Stephanopoulos pressed Cornyn, noting that “this provision wasn’t included in either the House or the Senate bill and apparently was added at the last minute. Why was that done? Why was it necessary to include that provision?”

Cornyn responded: “Well, we were working very hard. It was a very intense process. As I said, the Democrats refused to participate. And what we’ve tried to do is cobble together the votes we needed to get this bill passed.”

Just as well only a few trillion dollars and probably the future of the Us economy and the future of the world economy is at stake.

34 Comments

  1. robertguyton

     /  December 18, 2017

    Reminds me of sheepgate…

    • High Flying Duck

       /  December 18, 2017

      Other than being completely different, you are right – they are exactly the same!

      • robertguyton

         /  December 18, 2017

        Correct, HFD. Both stink of corruption and neither is acceptable.

      • Blazer

         /  December 18, 2017

        Hey HFD..what does a consultant at MBIE do to ‘earn’.. $12000 a DAY?

        • Pickled Possum

           /  December 18, 2017

          WHAAAT!!!!!!!! Say it again in a link pleze Blaza.

        • High Flying Duck

           /  December 18, 2017

          I’m not going to defend MBIE – they are empire building purveyors of corporate welfare and should be disbanded.
          That said, there are consultants who earn that much and moire and are worth every cent for the value they bring.

          • Gezza

             /  December 18, 2017

            I worked with a consultant for two years as a business analyst in my last department. No idea how much he was paid but he was brought in by a smart GM because he was an experienced project manager & a problem solver & he had the skills & drive to pull complex changes to policy, procedures & systems together & get things done.

            I initially didn’t like him much but as time progressed I saw that he was needed as after numerous restructurings under a succession of CEOs so few of our senior managers (appointed basically for knowing the management jargon of the day) actually had that capability. All they could do was spout bullshit at management meetings.

            By the time he left we had half a dozen people who could manage change projects & get things done in spite of the uselessness management.

            • High Flying Duck

               /  December 18, 2017

              Exactly right. There are many who are tits on a bull and a complete waste of space, spouting corporate mumbo jumbo and psuedo science in the name of trying to justify high hourly rates, but the good ones can be transformative and make significant beneficial changes to an organisation.

            • Gezza

               /  December 18, 2017

              Yes, he was good. We were on very friendly terms when he left. As an outsider he wasn’t liked or trusted. But he came in with no preconceptions about anyone, no hierarchical constraints, & no interest in office or organisational politics. He was good at what he did. He was upfront & honest. He didn’t waste time on moaners. He ran the two biggest change projects himself – 110% commitment, with a small team of interested staff, who he then mentored to project manage others.

  2. Alan Wilkinson

     /  December 18, 2017

    Is it a tax break or just a protection from double taxation like imputation tax that we already have?

    • Gezza

       /  December 18, 2017

      As it’s the US it’s probably a rort.

    • Then Corker who is should know what is in the bill and why should be able to answer that question.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  December 18, 2017

      Surely the obvious question should be answered before making accusations of corruption?

      Except that nothing matters to the Progressives except attacking Trump. If Corker is against him that is good but if he is for him he is the enemy. Pathetic.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  December 18, 2017

        As far as I can see this removes an exception on existing tax law. Without knowing more about how depreciation is handled and other tax rates and thresholds I can’t know if this is a simplification towards consistency or not.

    • Joe Bloggs

       /  December 18, 2017

      “Pass-through” companies like limited liability companies, partnerships, sole proprietorships, and S-corps, which are overwhelmingly owned by rich individuals like trump and currently pay normal income tax rates after their earnings are returned to the companies’ owners, get a significant tax break:

      – Most taxpayers with pass-through income would be able to deduct 20% of that income, effectively lowering the top rate they pay

      – The deduction creates a substantial loophole for people to incorporate as sole proprietorships and “contract” with their employers so employee income is counted as pass-through income rather than wages.

      The ‘Corker provision’, which was not part of either the House or Senate tax bills, allows the owners of large real estate holdings through LLCs to deduct a percentage of their pass-through income from their taxes.

      Given that the 13 GOP lawmakers who sculpted the bill have close to US$130 million worth of ownership stakes in real estate-related LLCs, and given trump and kushner both have extensive holdings in real estate LLCs, it walks like a rort and talks like a rort.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  December 18, 2017

        Of course to the Left any tax deduction is a rort – unless it’s to themselves. I prefer to withhold judgement until I know the relevant facts.

        • Gezza

           /  December 18, 2017

          Stop it, Al! I fell off the sofa larfing at your last line & knocked my head on the occasional table on the way down!

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  December 18, 2017

            Ok, I guess that helps explain your confusion, Sir Gerald. Has it happened often?

            I don’t make a judgement on whether this is a rort. I do make a judgement that those who claim it is without knowing enough relevant facts are clueless.

            • Gezza

               /  December 18, 2017

              Aww … come on Sir Alan! I know you too well now. You know I might be a bit lazy sometimes, but I’m not clueless. And you might be a hopelessly right wing bastard, but I’ve never met any who stirs & larfs so much. 😉

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  December 18, 2017

              Ok, you are not clueless, Sir Gerald. But you are supporting those who are, albeit with your strategic “probably”.

              Is this a good tax reform overall? Does it have bad bits? I have no idea because I haven’t seen any in-depth analysis by someone objective and competent enough to know. So I reserve judgement.

            • Joe Bloggs

               /  December 18, 2017

              So Alan you’ve made 6 comments on this thread and admit to having no idea what you’re posting on… that’d be par for the course.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  December 18, 2017

              I know exactly what I’m posting on, Joe: clueless people like you who jump to conclusions without evidence.

            • Joe Bloggs

               /  December 18, 2017

              Is this a good tax reform overall? Does it have bad bits? I have no idea

              8 comments – still has no idea, still offers no insights into tax breaks for pass-through income, still a shill for trump

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  December 18, 2017

              I know what I don’t know, Joe, unlike you.

          • Hopefully the table is okay… I am concerned you may have damaged it G..

            • Gezza

               /  December 18, 2017

              Thanks for your genuine concern for my furniture dave.
              It should be ok. It’s used to it. 😀

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  December 18, 2017

              I can vouch for that, dave. I’ve seen his face.

            • Well given that you’ve seen Gezza’s face – hopefully your eyes are ok Al….

            • Gezza

               /  December 18, 2017

              It was just bad lighting.

        • Joe Bloggs

           /  December 18, 2017

          Then Alan it’s incumbent on you to pull your head out of your arse and start studying so that you’re a little better prepared to comment.