Tax cuts worth £1.1 trillion were passed in the US Senate last Saturday—and the rich cheered.
Many in the US establishment may see Donald Trump as a destabilising and unpredictable force—but he has delivered everything they want with these measures.
The main pillar of the bill is a reduction in corporation tax from 35 to 20 percent.
Both the Republican-controlled joint committee on taxation and the congressional budget office said the reforms were regressive. They estimated the bill raises taxes for the lowest paid while cutting taxes for those at the top.
Extra taxes and welfare cuts will be piled on the poorest in US society to fund the handouts for those at the top.
The US is already more unequal in terms of income than at any time in a century and a half. It’s about to get worse.
In an outrageous move Republicans submitted 479 pages of amendments about other issues to the bill at the last minute.
The bill now includes the repeal of part of the Affordable Care Act, known as “Obamacare”.
That will leave some 13 million people without health insurance. Other measures include the opening up of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil and gas exploration.
A spokesperson for the Fair Tax campaign told Socialist Worker, “Watching the way the Republicans are approaching tax reform just makes you want to sit down and cry.
“They want to remove deductions for state and local taxes, which penalises Democratic-run states.
“They want to change individual tax brackets but leave the top bracket unchanged.”
Republicans outnumber Democrats by 52 to 48 in the Senate. On previous legislation Trump has been unable to get enough of his own party’s senators to vote for his policies.
But they united to force through this brutal class war measure.
Senators who had opposed Trump on previous legislation, such as the original repeal of Obamacare, backed him this time round.
Senator John McCain won praise for helping to defeat Trump’s attacks in the Senate earlier in the year. McCain supported the tax bill, even though it included the precise health proposals he had voted against.
The Democrats in the Senate put up a show of resisting the tax reform bill with angry but impotent speeches against it.
They have nothing against handouts for big business and the rich in principle.
A group of Democratic senators proposed a slightly different set of tax cuts for the rich last week.
“Why settle for just 50 votes on tax reform when you could get as many as 70?” they asked the Republicans.
Top team tangled up in lies and accusations over Russian links
The FBI’s investigation into Russian involvement in the US elections is drawing closer to Donald Trump.
Former National Security Agency head Michael Flynn has said he will work with the investigation, headed by Department of Justice special counsel Robert Mueller.
Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his dealings with Russia and Israel.
The lenient terms of his plea bargain—a six-month maximum sentence and a small fine—suggest Mueller will use Flynn to testify against members of Trump’s campaign team.
Jared Kushner, Trump’s son in law, could be one of those who Flynn has information on.
Trump’s team know this and have clipped Kushner’s wings—he previously had a wide-ranging brief including Middle East policy. Flynn’s plea deal alleges “a very senior member of the presidential transition team” asked him to delay a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements.
US news site ABC News claim that “sources” say Jared Kushner was that “very senior member”.
Between 2006 and 2015 Kushner was co-director of the Charles and Seryl Kushner Foundation. It has funded an organisation in the Beit El illegal settlement.
Meanwhile, Trump’s Twitter interventions are causing his legal team a headache. Trump appeared to confirm that he had known Flynn lied at the time.
He tweeted that he fired Flynn “because he lied to the vice-president and the FBI”.
He had asked the previous inquiry head James Comey to back off from investigating Flynn, according to Comey. Trump’s tweet suggests he knew about Flynn lying at the time he allegedly did this.
That raises the possibility of Trump being indicted for obstruction of justice.
This sent Trump’s lawyers scrambling. One claimed he, not Trump, had sent the tweet.
The Democrats are hoping the scandal will be enough to bring down Trump on its own. They don’t want any political crisis to mobilise ordinary people.
A reinvigoration of the protest movement against Trump is needed to deliver the final blow and pull the resistance towards the interests of workers.
Capital grab to boost Israel
Donald Trump was expected to make a speech this week recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Such a claim would give legitimacy to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land and its claim to rightfully own Jerusalem.
Israel has occupied the western part of Jerusalem since it was divided in 1949.
The division came after tens of thousands of Arabs were forced to flee Palestine when the state of Israel was established.
The Six Day War in 1967 saw Israel occupy the rest of Jerusalem and claim it as its own.
Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas said that such a speech by Trump could end possible peace talks with Israel. Israel has used the peace process to extend and deepen its control of Palestinian land.
Palestinian resistance group Hamas said Trump’s announcement would spark a new Palestinian “intifada” or uprising
It comes as a deal between the PA which governs the West Bank, and Hamas which controls the Gaza Strip, is breaking down.
Mass protests for Britain visit
Donald Trump is set to visit Britain in February.
That’s according to a Sunday Times newspaper report which gives the dates as 26 and 27 February of next year. The visit would be due to coincide with the opening of the new US embassy in Vauxhall, south London.
Trump needs to be met with huge demonstrations if he sets foot in Britain.
Maz Saleem from Stand Up To Trump said, “Huge numbers have already said they will publicly protest if Donald Trump comes.
“Theresa May should be ashamed of herself for allowing this to happen—he should not be given a visit at all.”