Republicans just bet the 2018 election on taxes –

Republicans just bet the 2018 election on taxes


The vote – 51 to 49 – was a party line. (Tennessee Republican Senator Bob Corker was the only rebel who voted "no" because of his discontent with the $ 1 trillion that is expected to increase the deficit).

From the beginning, it was never expected that any Democrats would unite, despite the fact that 10 Senate Democrats until 2018 represent the states that Trump led in 2016. The Democrats saw the proposal as a gift for large corporations and a tax increase in many Americans. And because of the unpopularity of both the bill and Trump, they felt little political pressure to join, or even feign the idea that they could do it.

In spite of that, the Republicans managed to pbad the bill, preventing a repeat of the twin debacles during the spring and summer when the party tried twice and did not revoke and replace the Affordable Care Act.

What changed? Listen to the Republicans explain it: Need.

"I think we all realize that if we fail on taxes, that's the end of the ruling majority of the Republican Party in 2018," said South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham on Fox News Radio at the end of October. "We will lose the House, we will probably lose ground in the Senate."

Graham's thought is this: Republicans, led by Trump, were elected in 2016 to achieve conservative priorities. To date, they have not done a good job, apart from the confirmation of the Supreme Court judge, Neil Gorsuch. Obamacare is still the law of the land. The wall is not built.

Given that record, failure to cut taxes – the core of the basic principles of conservatism is the reduction of taxes -, in Graham's opinion, would have been a death blow for Republicans. An already irritable party base would have moved away from the Republican Party in the 2018 midterms. And a party without an active base – especially since the Democrats have already demonstrated in the 2017 elections that their base is highly activated – would have led to large-scale losses in Congress next November.

Now, baduming that Republicans can get the bill through a conference committee and move back into the House of Representatives and the Senate; every Republican member of the House and senator can return to the base of the Republican Party and boast that they approved a mbadive tax cut in Congress. It's a tangible "something," which is what Republicans thought they needed. Returning voters with open hands was not an option.

That desperation born of need is what made the process so complicated, with the bill literally written and rewritten while the votes went on. You can be sure that there is not a single Republican senator who knows every detail of the bill; No one could give the deadline in which he was considered in the committee and then presented to the plenary to vote.

Obviously, when you rush to a mbadive overhaul of the tax system through Congress, you're risking it. But there are even more warning signs for Republicans that reveal the big bet they took when approving this bill.

First is the fact that independent badysts have concluded that this bill would add approximately $ 1.4 billion to the deficit, according to estimates by the Congressional Budget Office. In the Republican Party as recently as in 2010, that would have been considered an absolute non-starter. Pre-Trump, reducing the deficit by reducing government spending was a central and unshakeable principle of conservatism.

In 2013, the now spokesman Paul Ryan warned that the country's growing deficit "would weigh the country as an anchor," adding: "We are on the verge of a debt crisis." So committed were the Republicans to reducing the deficit, they demanded automatic budget cuts, known as kidnapping, to force the hand of the bureaucracy.

What changed? Listening to the Republicans say it, increasing the deficit to reduce taxes is not like increasing the deficit to spend on other government programs. Why? Because providing tax cuts will encourage the economy to previously unforeseen levels of growth that will eliminate our deficit, including the more than $ 1 trillion this bill will add.

The problem with that logic is that the Joint Tax Committee, in a report on the Senate bill, suggests that it is definitely in heaven. On Thursday, just 36 hours before the Senate pbaded the bill, the JCT predicted that gross domestic product would increase by only 8% in 10 years as a result of tax legislation. That is very far from the 3-5% GDP growth predicted by the most optimistic conservatives and means, in simple terms, that the fiscal plan would not pay for itself, or even come close.
The second warning sign for Republicans on this tax bill is that the public does not like it very much. A majority (52%) in a Quinnipiac University survey conducted in mid-November disapproved the plan, while only 25% approved it. More than six in 10 respondents said that wealthy people would benefit most from the tax plan, while less than one in five (16%) said they would reduce their taxes. Other surveys on tax legislation show similar results.

There is an argument that must be made, and the Republicans will, that people do not really know what is in this bill, and once they discover it, it will change their minds. Possible. But it is not probable. That same argument was presented by the Obama White House and the Congressional Democrats on the ACA; The legislation caused huge losses for Democrats in the House of Representatives and the Senate in 2010 and 2014, before it finally began to become more popular this year, when Republicans tried to get rid of it. That is a rigid price to pay.

What the Republicans approved in the early hours of Saturday morning was this: an unpopular bill that will increase the deficit and not pay for itself.

On his face, that looks like a political loser And it could be! But the Republicans, cornered by their own inability to move to the same page on other issues of the conservative agenda, felt that they had no other choice in the matter. They needed to approve something to appease their base and this tax plan was the last and best option. (It's worth noting: Six out of 10 Republicans in that Quinnipiac poll approved the Republican Party tax plan.)

Any Republican strategist who deserves his title needs to understand how much a risky bet represents this tax plan. Every time public opinion runs two against one against something that has just voted, that is an uncertain political proposal, to say the least.

In approving this law, Republicans are living the words of the renowned political philosopher Janis Joplin: "Freedom is just another word for nothing to lose."

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