Will the GOP’s Tax Cuts Pass?

Surprising no one with a brain stem, the Republican tax plan is a massive giveaway to the über-rich and a big middle finger to just about everyone else.  Still, it’s kind of marvelous just how terrible this tax “reform” proposal is, although I suppose I shouldn’t be too hard on Republicans here.  I mean, it makes sense that people with an Ayn Rand fixation want to punish charitable giving.  Or, for that matter, that they’d coddle big businesses while screwing over small businesses.  Likewise, the fact that Trump himself makes out like a bandit doesn’t really surprise me (drain that swamp, y’all).

Or as Larry Summers puts it:

… the proposal on offer by House Republicans may well retard growth, reward the wealthy, add complexity to the code and cheat the future, even as it raises burdens on the middle class and the poor. There are three aspects of the proposal that I find almost inexplicable, except as an expression of the power of entrenched interests.

As they say, read the whole thing.

Since this is such bad policy, one might wonder if this is anything more than grandstanding on the part of Republicans, and doomed to go the way of the last four attempts to repeal and replace the ACA.  I’m not sure about that.  In fact, call me a pessimist, but I’d say the odds that this piece of garbage passes are decent.  Better than the odds of ACA repeal.  I say this for a couple of reasons.

First, in contrast to healthcare, most of the GOP base doesn’t really care about tax cuts for rich people.  Oh sure, if you ask them in the abstract most of them probably don’t love the idea of cutting taxes for the wealthy.  On the other hand, the base, like, really hates paying taxes, so they figure that anyone who complains loudly about taxes is a common sense average Joe, just like them.  Sure, this is completely superficial, and boils down to affinity fraud, but if you think people wouldn’t vote based on affinity fraud, you must’ve been living in a cave these past few years.

This unfortunately puts Democrats at a disadvantage.  The prospect of losing access to healthcare is a much more immediate concern than tax benefits that accrue mostly to really rich people over a decade.  It’s much more difficult to get people mobilized against the latter than the former.

Second, the tax cuts obviously please the donors, who were absolutely livid at Congressional Republicans’ failure to repeal Obamacare.  This likely means there’s tremendous pressure on Congressional Republicans to actually give the donors something, which the tax bill certainly does.

I’d love to be proven wrong here.  And who knows, maybe Republicans are simply too incompetent at governing to actually get this thing passed.  But it’s not impossible.

UPDATE: Kevin Drum reviews how precisely Republicans are targeting liberal demographics to screw over, and Inside Higher Ed details the pernicious effects it would have on students and higher education.  While I’m not surprised to see Republicans acting this spitefully, it’s still something to behold.


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