By Andrew Witzel
A massive $4 trillion budget passed the house today 216 to 212 with all 192 Democrats and 20 Republicans opposed to the plan. This passage has paved the way for Trump’s $1.5 trillion 10-year tax cut measure later this year. Tax reform is one of Trump’s highest priorities, especially at this point when other efforts at major legislation have failed to garner enough support and get passed.
Details on the tax reform plan are still sketchy and there is something in what details do exist for strong opposition. The goal is a full rewrite of a flawed tax code that will lower rates for corporations and businesses and, as the theory goes, create some much-needed economic growth. House Republicans have focused squarely on tax cuts and have largely ignored any sort of deficit discipline. A move that is counter-intuitive to a core value of the Republican party to cut costs, mandatory spending and increasing the deficit and national debt overall. The appearance now is that they’re desperate to get something passed, regardless of what it is, that classifies as major legislation.
To do tax reform, you need money. And right now, even as we speak, they appear to be going wobbly on some of the issues they’ve raised with great certainty in previous weeks. They’ve got a revenue problem, a real revenue problem. And you have to make some dramatic changes to benefits that people across America have come to expect and enjoy.
A recent Associated Press-NORC poll released Wednesday found most Americans believing that Trump’s tax plan would benefit the wealthy and corporations, no surprise there. Less than half of them believe that the “massive tax cuts” message would help middle-class workers at all. Again, no surprise. The tax cuts would add up to $1.5 trillion to the deficit over the next 10 years and it won’t be the wealthy or corporations ponying up the savings to offset the cost of tax cuts. Republicans are shelving fears of budget deficit to seize a “once-in-a-generation” opportunity to rewrite tax laws. What about the next generation? What will they inherit?
Apparently it’s business as usual in Washington. Money talks, those who don’t have it can pound sand.