Tax Scam Will Cost Republicans Big-Time in the 2018 Midterms
Even flagrant GOP lies can’t rescue the poll numbers of this legislative turd
Like thieves in the night, the Republican majority in the US Senate (with the exception of Bob Corker of Tennessee, who did the honorable thing) passed a wealthy donor’s ass-kissing, trickle down tax bill that betrays the very people who allegedly propelled reality TV star Donald Trump into this country’s highest office.
The Senate bill now goes to conference, to be reconciled with the House bill, which was just as bad.
Last minute horse-trading to secure 51 votes provided early Christmases for oil and gas operators, cruise lines (based in foreign countries!), private and religious schools, car dealers and derivatives transactors.
The bill would steal the health insurance from up to 13 million Americans by eliminating the individual mandate from the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). The ACA’s mandate is an unpopular but necessary tool to require healthy people to be a part of the insurance risk pool. It’s what makes insurance work. If only the unhealthiest among us signed up for the ACA, premiums would naturally skyrocket, making it harder for people to afford health insurance.
The Liars’ Game
Prominent Republican leaders, Trump included, have gone on record to recite obvious untruths about its house-of-cards of a tax plan. Three come to mind:
- “Everyone will get a tax cut.” Congress’s own Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) said the bill “will give large tax cuts to the rich while raising taxes on American families earning $10,000 to $75,000 over the next decade.”
- “Medicare Will be unaffected by the bill.” Wrong again, as the Wall Street Journal wrote, “Medicare would be cut by $25 billion in fiscal 2018…because it would trigger automatic spending cuts under a pay-as-you-go budgeting law.”
- “The bill will not increase the deficit.” According to the New York Times, the JCT found that “the legislation would add $1 trillion to the federal budget deficit over a decade, even after accounting for economic growth.”
Poll Numbers: Obamacare Up, Tax Plan in Toilet
Even if Republicans manage to pass something, Democrats will have been given a gift. Usually, bad things await a political party that makes a mockery of public opinion. The Republican tax bill is supported by an average of just 30 percent of all Americans.
According to one PAC consultant: “The GOP tax plan has something for everyone to hate.”
Democrats are fighting back. Expect to see many of these babies between now and November 2018, this one courtesy of YouTube and the Washington Post:
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has set its sights on making the Republican occupants of House districts won by Hillary Clinton in 2016 “endangered species.”
Additionally, Democrats are poised to make a seven-figure purchase of TV advertising targeting House Republicans representing districts that flipped from Obama to Trump. The first ad buy of about $1 million will target a dozen House districts in battleground states with a heavy presence of working class whites. This constituency will presumable be receptive to an anti-tax bill message that’s in two parts:
- The bill is a gift to the wealthy, with mere crumbs left for working-class families; and
- The bill will eventually necessitate the shredding of the safety net to pay for its generosity to all those wealthy Republican donors. The aforementioned Medicare would be due for a $25 billion haircut.
Can we make it happen? Can Democrats, and not Donald Trump, take a powerful populist message to white working class neighborhoods? It sure beats the racist alternative.
Democrats still have to contend with trickle-down messaging: a pro-Trump PAC is out with ads arguing that cutting taxes for corporations and the rich will lead to “an explosion” of investment and wage growth. But this fantasy is becoming a tougher sell for Republicans: A recent Quinnipiac poll shows that even Trump base voters rejecting that argument by a plurality of 47-42 percent.
Looming Government Shutdown Makes Passage Fluid
The tax bill is on a collision course with Republican efforts to avoid a government shutdown by Friday, Dec. 8, when the Treasury runs out of money. Because Republicans need Democratic votes to either pass a stopgap measure or long-term funding, hardline conservatives in the House are said to be using the tax bill as leverage to avoid compromising with Democratic priorities, especially the “dreamers” and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
We’ll know soon enough.