The German bank’s most recent economic policy proposal tells you all you need to know…
Deutsche Bank is proposing that people who work from home in the future pay a 5% tax for working from home. That’d be in addition to the income tax they already pay wherever they live. Deutsche Bank says more than half of U.S. workers are currently working at home at least part of the time, and more than half of those say they’d like to continue to, even after the pandemic is over.
Now, it’s true in some big cities like Philadelphia, people who don’t live there pay tax for the privilege of working there. A lot of people don’t know this because it’s just taken out of their paychecks. New York used to have a similar tax; it doesn’t anymore. However, it does have a tax to subsidize mass transit going in and out of the city.
And that kind of makes sense: you’re still likely using some city services like police and fire and sanitation and public transportation, even if you’re commuting in. So if fewer people are commuting in, that is already creating a budget shortfall for some cash strapped cities and municipalities. And at a time when their expenses are soaring, because of COVID-19. So they will be looking for new sources of revenue, especially if—with Joe Biden in the White House—Republicans suddenly get “responsible” again about the budget deficit, after a record amount of free spending under Trump, where they just kept printing up money to boost up the stock market even before the Coronavirus crisis actually gave them a legitimate reason to, other than making really rich people richer. Also, Trump is specifically refusing to put out money right now to help out cities and municipalities, which actually means he’s the one who’s actively trying to defund the police, since most of their salaries come from those budgets. And they have to be paid with real money that already exists, because only Trump and Congress have the power to just print up as much new money as they want.
Deutsche Bank even couches its new proposed tax in altruistic terms: arguing workers “lucky enough to be in a position to ‘disconnect’ themselves from the face-to-face economy owe it” to people who can’t work from home/offices. And its proposed tax could “subsidize income lost by lower-earners”, who have to put themselves on the line every day because of the nature of their jobs. And there should be some way of getting those people more money. And in our opinion, that doesn’t necessarily mean “lower-earners” but anybody–like health care workers–that are putting themselves at highly increased risk.
But is Deutsche Bank’s deep-seated interest really the public good? Nah.
As one of the biggest commercial real estate lenders in the world, the direct benefit to Deutsche Bank of a “work from home” tax would be if it turns out to be a deterrent to people working at home, and in turn, a deterrent to corporations backing out of office space leases.
Because if lots of people continue working from home, it hurts the commercial real estate market, which hurts the developers who own the office buildings, who owe piles and piles of cash to Deutsche Bank. More than you could possibly imagine.
Including Trump. Who owes at least $300-million to the German bank.
Of course, other banks and finance outfits lend money too. But Deutsche Bank is known as particularly aggressive in its willingness to take risks. And it’s the only really big bank that’s been willing to lend money to Trump in recent years.
Yes, since the election, Trump’s launched broadside after broadside against Democracy, but his actions of late have also led us to wonder who the hell would ever be willing to do business with this guy? After this, but even before?
And we’ve also always wondered why the simple fact itself that Trump owes $300-million dollars to a foreign bank never became more of an issue?
Never mind where Deutsche Bank got the money to lend him that kind of money, which is where most of the reporting has focused, but yielded very few firm answers thus far.
We do kind of understand why. Because it’s endlessly, temptingly fascinating, and there’s been some great reporting on it, especially by the New York Times. They revealed that even Deutsche Bank cut Trump off at one point, after he refused to pay them money he owed, and sued them. For what? Loosely, he accused them of being in part responsible for causing the 2008 financial crisis, so in their lending money to him, they actually harmed him.
But then, suddenly, another branch inside Deutsche Bank lent him the money to pay the other part of the bank what he owed.
And then lent him more.
So we can see where that would raise questions. Although to us, personally owing $300-million to a foreign bank is a huge question mark on its own, and could’ve been a lot bigger campaign issue.
Anyway, point is Deutsche Bank’s “work at home” tax proposal is the same as a lot of what Trump does: beneath some made-up excuse of an exterior—and really not too deep beneath—it’s a scheme to prop up real estate developers so they don’t default on iffy loans the banks made to them in the first place. Including, maybe, Trump’s.
Upshot? Deutsche Bank is doing something intended to pad its own pockets under the pretense of helping people who are suffering.
There are a couple of big differences though: President Trump’s not even proposing ways to get extra money into the pockets of people who are taking the risk of going into work everyday. Or anybody for that matter, at this point.
And also, Deutschbank’s main objective is supposed to be squeezing as big a wad of cash into its own wallet as it can; in fact, it has an obligation to its shareholders to do so. Trump’s obligation, as President, is supposed to be putting the American people first.
Speaking of “America First”: Remember Trump’s promise right before the election that right “after the election, we’ll get the best stimulus package you’ve ever seen”? Nope. Congress just went on its Thanksgiving break. No such deal. The Republican controlled Senate spent the week confirming a raft of Conservative judges to lifetime appointments on federal courts, including their youngest ever, just 33.
You know, Trump could’ve pressed Congress on a new stimulus package and litigated the hell out of the election and spread false rumors about it on Twitter. None of that stuff’s mutually exclusive.
And the fact that he hasn’t followed up may be the clearest sign to us that he knows he lost. Because if he won, why wouldn’t he be showering the people of this country with gifts of gratitude? Instead, he’s punishing everybody, even if they’re having a hard time getting by right now, or literally putting their lives on the line every day, whether they voted for him or not. Because they didn’t make him happy. Of course there’s another equally likely option: he was just lying all along about that stimulus package; was just an empty campaign promise.
“My Wallet And Ego First, Not Necessarily In That Order”, may a better slogan for him than “America First”.
Many people who support him actually do see this, but are convinced that his displays of greed are evidence he’s a good businessman. Sort of a trickle down Executive. Where that’s bound to help them at some point, on some level. Guess what? It hasn’t. Trump’s made a lot of money off his presidency and will continue to do so after he’s president. Yet the jobs he’s promised would come back from overseas as a result of his massive corporate tax cut haven’t, and when he saw they weren’t, he had plenty of power to do something about it, and didn’t. But those tax cuts did make it easier for him and his friends to avoid even more taxes and pay even less.
Our point being, a lot of stuff matters to Trump when it matters to his personal fortunes. As soon as it doesn’t, he stops caring at all. And while there may be some benefits in having a businessperson as President, not caring about anyone but yourself—which he’s demonstrated time and time again—is not one of them.