Those who track the positive financial outcomes of President Trump’s tax reform can consider a potential new category to their list: legal marijuana.
New Frontier Data — which follows the analytics and business intelligence for the “cannabis industry” — has released a comprehensive study charting the impact of Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on this specialized field.
“Under the new business tax rate of 21 percent, the Trump tax cuts will come as welcome relief to cannabis business owners who already face tax hurdles because of 280E,” says Giadha Aguirre De Carcer, CEO of the data group.
She is referring to Section 280E of the Internal Revue tax code, which was enacted in 1982 to prevent drug traffickers dealing in illegal substances from deducting business expenses.
“Lower tax rates may provide cannabis business owners greater capacity to grow and create more jobs. New Frontier Data projects increased domestic and international expansion of new legal cannabis markets and $106 billion in tax revenue over an eight-year period in the U.S.,” Ms. De Carcer says.
The group has more predictions, built around their hopes of full federal legalization of marijuana in all 50 states — an idea that would have been unthinkable in previous eras. Ms. De Carcer says that, in theory, the legal cannabis industry could create a million jobs by 2025.
“Full legalization would result in more legal businesses entering the market, more consumers participating in the legal market, and more employees on official payrolls, resulting in $3.3 billion in payroll taxes. By 2025, payroll deductions would increase to $5.3 billion,” she reasons. “Assuming a sales tax at the federal level was implemented at 15 percent, the total tax revenues from 2017—2025 would theoretically be $46 billion. This amount of revenue would be entirely new revenue to the U.S. Treasury, as there are currently no federal sales or excise taxes.”
It gets complicated. Suffice it to say that between business tax revenues, payroll withholding based on the theoretical employment and the retail sales tax, the total federal tax revenue potential of legalization could reach that $106 billion billion.
THE TILLERSON PRESS
The news media had much to say regarding the parting of ways between President Trump and outgoing Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson. The situation was subject to interpretation. A few headlines of note:
“The Rexit: Tillerson is out” (Bloomberg); “Rexit: Right move for the wrong reason” (USA Today); “Stocks fly out of the gate as traders shrug off the Rexit” (Yahoo Finance); “Tillerson’s firing brings America closer to war with North Korea” (New York Magazine); “Rex Tillerson proved CEOs are DOA in Washington” (Foreign Policy); “Tillerson ouster shows Trump is unleashed” (CNN); “Why did Trump fire Tillerson now?” (The Atlantic).
WOES OF AN ‘ENTRENCHED STATE DEPARTMENT’
Talk of a “shadow government” at work against President Trump has surfaced once again, and from a source with some unique insight. That would be Donald Trump Jr., who spoke out following the ouster of Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson, whose career trajectory comes to a close at month’s end. Like his father, Mr. Trump the younger is concerned about the toxic “swamp” of bureaucracy and partisan interests within the administration.
“That is the problem with these Washington bureaucrats. I think Tillerson is an incredible guy, a brilliant guy who ran Exxon. But I think you also have a problem of an entrenched State Department — where all of these former Obama people are in there. They are more concerned about making sure Trump doesn’t do anything than they are about worrying about America and its future standing in the world,” Mr. Trump told Fox News Radio host Brian Kilmeade.
“We have to figure out those issues. My father obviously can’t do that himself. He can’t know all 2 billion employees of the federal government and deal with it. You need people in those positions who will deal with it and who aren’t going to be susceptible to the swamp, who aren’t going to just listen to this bureaucratic gospel and take it as such. You need people who will actually make intelligent and independent decisions based on what is right for America for a change,” the Trump son advised.
Fans of a shadow government have been around for a while, however.
Even before Mr. Trump took the presidential oath on Jan. 20 last year, political commentator Bill Moyers suggested that Hillary Clinton stage her own inaugural address — advising Democrats to “prepare by joining together as a movement and creating the constituency of what will be, in effect, a shadow government — one that will serve to track and respond to every single bad action undertaken by the Trump administration and its monolithic Congress.”
The news media chimed in, including GQ magazine — which published this prediction on Mr. Trump’s Inauguration Day almost 14 months ago: “Barack Obama is preparing for his third term.”
For the ninth week in a row, Fox News Channel remains No. 1 in the entire cable field, ahead of non-news competitors like ESPN, HGTV and the History Channel. But wait, there’s more. As it has for 16 years, Fox News also bests its cable news rivals, garnering 2.3 million prime time viewers compared to 1.8 million for MSNBC and 1 million for CNN, according to Nielsen Media Research.
Mark Levin’s new Sunday evening show — “Life, Liberty & Levin” — continues to dominate its time slot with 1.4 million viewers, ahead of CNN’s much touted “Pope: The Most Powerful Man in History,” which drew 1.3 million, and MSNBC’s news programming, which had 525,000 viewers.
Things are also in happy land at Fox Business Network, which remains ahead of CNBC, with an 8 percent audience advantage. “Varney & Co.” marks 42 consecutive weeks as the most-watched “market-open” program, while “Lou Dobbs Tonight” was the No. 1 news program in all of business television.
POLL DU JOUR
• 74 percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of Israel.
• 64 percent say their “sympathies” are more with Israel than the Palestinian Authority when considering conflict between the two peoples.
• 50 percent say the U.S. should pressure the Palestinians to resolve the conflict; 27 percent say the U.S. should pressure the Israelis.
• 21 percent have a favorable view of the Palestinians.
• 19 percent say they sympathize more with the Palestinians.
• 16 percent say they sympathize with both the Israelis and the Palestinians.
Source: A Gallup poll of 1,044 U.S. adults conducted Feb. 1-10 and released Tuesday.
• Follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin
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