Now, Tax Reform Gets Real 稅改嚟真㗎啦!



In the wake of last year’s election, a humiliated press corps was forced to reassess, to explain how it had gotten the presidential race so monumentally wrong. Conclusions: It had been too blinded by its own biases, too sheltered from Middle America. It apologized. It promised to do better. 在去年的大選後,一個被羞辱的新聞團隊被迫作自我評估,以解釋為何預測大選結果如此大錯特錯。結論:由於偏見太大以致盲目了、太偏離了美國的中產家庭。它道歉。它答應以後會改過自新。

Or not. 或不。

Yahoo News: “Meet some victims of the Trump tax bill.” Washington Post: “10 Reasons Democrats think the tax bill will be a political loser for Trump’s GOP.” New York Times: “In Tax Overhaul, Trump Tries to Defy Economic Odds.” Business Insider: “Americans have already made up their minds about the tax bill—and it looks brutal for the GOP.”雅虎新聞:“來看看特朗普稅改的一些受害者”華盛頓郵報:“十大理由民主黨人認為稅改將成為特朗普共和黨的政治輸家。”紐約時報:“在稅務改革方面,特朗普試圖做經濟學上不可能的事“商業內幕:”美國人已經對稅改下了定論,共和黨面對嚴厲打擊。“

To read all this coverage, you’d be justified in believing that the entire Republican Party had been hit with a stupid stick. Its members united to jack up the taxes of millions of middle-income voters, throw the country into recession, and saddle today’s toddlers with a future debt crisis—all to enable the transfer of tax plunder to fat-cat donors. And not only did it pass this colossally idiotic policy, it did so enthusiastically, in full view of the public—guaranteeing a 2018 GOP midterm wipeout. What dimwits! 閱讀這些報導,你有理由相信整個共和黨做了愚蠢的事,因為他們聯合起來向數百萬中等收入的選民加稅,使國家陷入衰退,並為新生一代帶來債務危機 — 做這一切都是為了可以將搶來的稅款轉移給捐助共和黨的富翁。他們不僅通過了這個極度愚蠢的政策,而且公開地和熱烈地去通過稅改,因而保證在2018年中期選舉中將徹底地落敗,這班大傻瓜!

This is the Democratic line, and the media is embracing it. Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi bet that the GOP would fail to enact tax reform, so they pressed their members to boycott negotiations. Instead, Republicans are delivering bigger paychecks and the prospect of accelerated economic growth, and not a single Democrat can take credit. The Democratic Party’s only path is therefore to spin an obvious GOP victory into a disaster. The press, with all its biases and insularity, once again is all in, with another attack on reality. 這就是民主黨的講稿,它正被傳媒擁抱。舒默(Chuck Schumer)和佩洛西(Nancy Pelosi)認為共和黨將不會真正推動稅改,所以他們迫使成員們抵制談判。相反地,共和黨人將為美國人提供更高的薪水,和加速經濟增長的前景,沒有一個民主黨人有份領功。因此,民主黨唯一的道路就是把一個明顯的共和黨勝利描繪成災難。充滿了偏見的傳媒再次陷入困境,再次拒絕接受現實。

Nearly every story quotes a variation of Mrs. Pelosi’s line that the bill is “wholesale robbery of the middle class.” Mr. Schumer continues to claim the reform helps “only the wealthiest few.” These are Trumpian-size whoppers, which the media eagerly repeats. Yet even the liberal Tax Policy Center has acknowledged that 90% of the middle class will get a tax cut in 2018, and that the average cut will be $1,600. 傳媒幾乎每一個故事都引用了佩洛西的講法,就是這個法案是“大規模地搶劫中產階級”。舒默先生繼續認為,改革只有助於“最富有的少數人”。這些都是有關特朗普的誤導,媒體卻熱切地重複。然而,即使是左翼的稅務政策中心也承認:2018年9成的中產階級將減稅,而平均減稅將達到1600元。

USA Today was so desperate to depict the bill as a tax hike that its analysis of “5 household situations” included a childless single renter earning $1 million a year, paying $50,000 in state and local taxes, and claiming $40,000 in charitable deductions. The paper triumphantly pointed out that this downtrodden soul would pay $1,887 more in taxes. And therefore have to forgo a bottle of Chateau Lafite-Rothschild. “今日美國”拼命地將稅改法案描述為增稅法案,其“五個家庭情況”分析中包括一個無子女的單身租客,每年賺100萬美元,他支付5萬美元州和地方稅,並要為4萬美元慈善捐款扣稅。該報勝利地指出,這個受壓迫的靈魂將會多繳納1887美元的稅款,因此,他必須放棄一瓶昂貴的Chateau Lafite-Rothschild香檳酒。

Democrats spent months insisting that corporations would pocket their tax cuts rather than invest in their workers. The press continues to parrot this line—even as AT&T, Comcast, Wells Fargo and others immediately announced bonuses, pay hikes, higher starting wages, better benefits and plans for new hiring. Democrats call these PR stunts, but so what? Workers are benefiting. 民主黨花了幾個月堅持企業會將減稅據為己有,而不會投資在僱員身上,傳煤也繼續重覆這個預測,即使AT&T、Comcast、富國銀行等企業馬上宣布派發員工獎金、加薪、提高起薪點、增加員工福利和新的招聘計劃。民主黨人聲稱這些乃是公關技倆,但工人正在受惠,即使是公關手段又何妨呢?。

The left and the press claim the bill—which abolishes ObamaCare’s individual mandate starting in 2019—will throw 13 million people off health care. They don’t seem to know any of the millions of Americans who will be relieved from paying a tax that can run more than $2,000 a family for being uninsured. The left and the press belittle the average cut as “only” $100 a month. They are out of touch with millions of solidly middle-income Americans who follow tight budgets. A hundred dollars can be enough for piano lessons, a family night out or new winter coats. The left and the press are suggesting the reform will primarily benefit Donald Trump’s empire—as if the Republican caucus, including Sens. Jeff Flake and Ben Sasse, love Mr. Trump so much that they were willing to spend all fall on a bill for his personal enrichment. 左派和傳媒聲稱因該法案由2019年開始取消了奧巴馬健保的罰金,將使1千3百萬人喪失醫療保健。他們似乎並不了解,成千上萬的美國人,即使選擇不買保險也可以避免每年每個家庭超過2000元的稅款。左派和傳媒貶低平均每月100美元省稅,它們與數以百萬計中等收入的美國人脫節:一百美元可以足夠付鋼琴課、全家到外面進晚餐或添置新的冬季大衣。左派和傳媒認為稅改將主要使特朗普的商業王國得益,就好像共和黨元老(包括一向不喜歡特朗普的Jeff Flake和Sasse議員)因熱愛特朗普,因此他們願意花整個秋天去通過一個令特朗普中飽私囊的法案。

They are running with these upside-down-world stories because so far they’ve gotten away with it. The tax bill has been but a theoretical proposition up to now, defined by press coverage. A recent Monmouth poll showed that 50% of Americans think their taxes will go up under this reform (the actual proportion is estimated at 5%). No wonder approximately 50% of Americans disapprove of the reform. 他們正在推行這些顛倒黑白的故事,因為到目前為止他們可以為所欲為。稅改在通過前只是一個理論,受制於傳媒的報導。Monmouth 機構最近的一項民意調查顯示,50%的美國人認為稅改會增加稅金(實際增加稅金的比例僅為5%)。難怪大約有50%的美國人不贊成稅改。

The left and its media enablers got away with their Hillary fictions, too—until they had to report Donald Trump’s victory. The risk for the GOP here is that the early impression that this tax cut is “bad” could remain stuck in American minds. 左派及傳媒也曾肆無忌憚地向美國人推銷希拉莉神話,直到他們不得不報導特朗普勝選。共和黨在稅改一事的風險是:這種減稅“不好”的早期印象一直停留在美國人的頭腦中。

Then again, those $1,000 AT&T and Comcast bonuses—destined for hundreds of thousands of workers—are quite real. By February, the Internal Revenue Service should have recalculated its withholding formulas so millions of workers will be taking home larger paychecks. In the months that follow, the country should begin to see the early benefits of new U.S. investment—in jobs, benefits, and opportunity. 但再者,這1000元的AT&T和Comcast派發給成千上萬的員工的獎金 – 都是真金實銀。到了明年二月,國稅局應該完成重新計算工資扣稅的公式,數以百萬計的僱員將拿到手更多的薪金。在接下來的幾個月裡,美國人應該開始看到美國新投資和就業機會增加。

Whatever happens, the anti-tax-reform campaign is a reminder to Republicans of the unprecedented hostility they face in the age of Trump. The best way to triumph in this war of spin is to produce real policy results that help real people—as they just did with tax reform, no matter what you read to the contrary. 無論如何,反稅改運動都在提醒共和黨人,他們在特朗普時代所面對的和前所未有的敵意。在這場宣傳戰中勝利的最好辦法,就是推行好的政策去讓國人受惠–就好像這個稅改方案,不理你讀到甚麼反調。