The House passed the awful “tax complication bill of 2017” on Tuesday. The Senate had to make a few changes because it didn’t comply with the Byrd rules, and then will presumably pass it today. It’ll go back to the House where the HOuse will then take the final vote on the Senate changes and send it to Mr. Trump for signature.
The GOP will claim that they have singlehandedly put together a marvelous tax cut package for the middle class. That is a pack of lies.
The tax cut package redistributes upwards–it is a marvelous cut for the wealthy (the estate tax reductions costing about $200 billion over ten years, the corporate tax reductions (including increased incentives for offshoring while lowering the top corporate tax statutory rate (higher than most corporations ever paid) to 21% from 35%, the lowering of the top individual rate from 39.6% to 37%, and a 20% “deduction” from taxable income for “qualified business income” for owners of businesses (whereas workers with the same earned income don’t get that nice little subsidy, based, it appears, on Mitt Romney’s keen disregard for the large group of American workers and working poor that he labelled “takers” compared to the regard he had for the wealthy capitalists, who he labelled “makers”, etc.). It is a piddling cut for most non-wealthy individual Americans, especially those who live in “blue” states and already contribute more tax money to the federal government that is transferred to “red” states. And the corporate tax cuts are permanent while the individual tax cuts go away at various times over the next decade.
What’s more, it is rather doubtful that most of those voting for this bill in the House and Senate even know what is in it or how it will impact different types of families and workers. The Huffington Post reported that several GOP congressmen couldn’t say what the bill’s new tax brackets were hours before they voted to pass it. See Matt Fuller, Twitter Account (asked Kevin Brady to name them, said he could, but either wouldn’t or couldn’t, and 11 others couldn’t). And mostly they disregarded the overwhelming majority of Americans who are against more tax breaks for the wealthy and big corporations.
This bill is being rammed through without hearings, without a proper Treasury analysis, without the kind of in-depth thinking that is necessary for the many wrinkles that can develop from hasty tax drafting, and with a complete disregard for anyone who has any reasonable objections. Republicans complained about the passage of the Obamacare bill, but they were in on all the committee meetings, they actually impacted the bill in many ways, there were hearings, there were texts of the bills for discussion, and it was just their decision to vote no en bloc. Democrats were closed out of all the meetings on this bill except for one “pro forma” public “hearing” that didn’t allow for any real discussion. That is not the way a good democracy works–it is ideology not policy making.
What a shame. I assume that the Democratic “resistance” movement will continue to gain steam, as it did with Doug Jones’ election and the surprise tied Virginia House of Delegates outcome. I wouldn’t have bet that this bill would have any positive impact on corporate growth even if the result had been bipartisan. But I bet now that most corporations will be unlikely to treat the bill as “certain” tax law given the current anti-Trump climate in this country. The bill has even less of a chance of leading to economic growth at anywhere near the stellar rates that Steve Mnunchin and Paul Ryan have gambled on than it did earlier in its consideration.