Tuesday :: Dec 19, 2017

The Tax Scam's Poison Pill

by Deacon Blues

Sometime by midweek, House and Senate Republicans will force through a tax scam masquerading as a tax cut, one that is increasingly unpopular with the electorate. Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell don't believe the polls, and state that once people see more money in their paychecks in the spring, they won't mind that millionaires, Donald Trump, and many GOP senators will make off like bandits under the scam. But is that true, or simply Ryan and McConnell whistling past the graveyard?

Well, the polls already show that a majority of the electorate believe the scam helps the wealthy and not them. No, the promises that were made by Trump and the GOP were that 1) this tax cut would lead to more jobs, and 2) this cut for corporations would lead to $4,000 more income for the workers. How likely are either of those things to happen, or even happen before the midterms? After all, they called it the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

And let's not forget, even if taxpayers saw some small increase in their take-home pay from the cuts in the Spring, any goodwill as Slate's Jim Newell noted today will be offset by the GOP's certain move to cut entitlements to pay for the cuts.

Once the bill is passed and signed into law, you can count on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to target ads against upwards of several dozen House GOP incumbents specifically hanging this scam around their necks. Likewise, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee will use this to blunt the efforts of the RSCC to target the larger number of Democratic incumbents to be defended next year. It's a lot easier to defend against a GOP challenger by pointing out the graft and corruption that already exists in the GOP, than it is to defend your own agenda.

You can fast forward to a time in early 2019 when a new, Democratically-controlled House of Representatives launches an effort to rescind this tax scam and push back against those entitlement cuts. It won't matter whether that effort gains any traction in 2019; all that matters is that the terms of the debate heading into the 2020 election will be on economic issues favorable to Democrats. It'll be a bonus that the GOP will be fighting that onslaught while they are in the midst of their own civil war.

Update #1: House Democrats hung together and not one of them voted for the GOP tax scam when it cleared the chamber on a 227-203 vote, with 12 Republicans voting "no". The dozen were largely from California, New York, and New Jersey, who knew that voting for a bill that raises taxes on their constituents would be a kiss of death for 2018. California GOP representative Tom McClintock may be signaling that he isn't running for reelection, as he changed his vote today to a "yes" from a "no" on the earlier, original House GOP tax scam. No matter; many of these blue-state House GOP incumbents for 2018 are dead men walking.

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