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Digital Subscriptions > Newsweek International > 24 November 2017 > The Tax-Cut Orgy

The Tax-Cut Orgy

Trump and the GOP are hosting a special-interest bacchanal the likes of which Washington has never seen

TRUMP

@mattizcoop

THERE’S CHAOS IN WASHINGTON —and many of Al Mottur’s clients are worried. A leading lobbyist for Brownstein Hyatt Farber and Schreck, Mottur has been in the capital for decades. But the 50-yearold has never seen anything like Congress’s attempt to completely rewrite the tax code by Christmas. And many of his firm’s clients are afraid they’ll get slapped with new taxes. “The enormity of what [the Trump administration is] trying to do to the economy and the tax code,” he says, “is inversely proportionate to the time they’re giving it.”

Is Donald Trump really draining the swamp? Not so much. He’s just changing the water. The December holidays are about a month away, but the Republicans are already decorating their bill with trillions of sparkly ornaments. The biggest giveaways include a huge reduction in the corporate income tax rate— from 35 percent to 20 percent— and the elimination of the estate tax. (It affects only a few thousand extremely wealthy families, including the Trumps and their in-laws, the Kushners.) Beyond the bill’s big-ticket items, there are small ones that have special interests eager to hire top talent like Mottur to cover their assets. He’s loath to talk about what he’s doing behind the scenes, but he’s urging clients to remember that any deduction Congress preserves means lawmakers have to find another perk to eliminate. “It’s like moving place cards for a wedding,” says Maya MacGuineas, head of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a D.C.-based think tank focused on the deficit. “If you cut one thing, you have to replace it with another.”

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OUT-FOXED: DONALD TRUMP IS THE BEST AND WORST THING TO FOX NEWS Fox News isn’t a network; it’s a worldview. That worldview is shared by Donald Trump, who reportedly watches several hours of Fox News each day. There has never been a relationship this close between a sitting president and an American media organization. Trump and Rupert Murdoch, chairman of the network’s parent company, 21st Century Fox, are friends who talk regularly. Murdoch has offered him advice on media strategy; last March, Trump fired the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, who was conducting a federal investigation into how Fox News handled sexual misconduct claims.
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