Today the House overwhelmingly passed the long-awaited GOP Tax Reform Bill. After months of backroom deal making and anxiety over whether or not Congress would achieve anything in President Trump’s first year in office, a deal was finally reached and passed. Now while the bill still has to go through the Senate, it is largely expected to pass and move from there to President Trump’s desk.
There’s just one little problem: it’s going to come back to bite the GOP in the rear and badly.
Don’t get me wrong, the bill overall truly is a massive tax cut and promises to help virtually everyone save a little bit more come time to pay taxes. But the media has focused relentlessly on pointing out that top earners will receive the biggest cuts and as a result of this skewed coverage a full 66% of Americans now think that the tax bill primarily benefits the wealthy and another 55% say they outright oppose the bill.
But this isn’t even the biggest problem with the tax bill. The media was always going to run a hit job on this administration no matter what kind of legislation it was advancing through Congress, everyone knows this. However, what seems to have been either totally forgotten or outright ignored by GOP leadership is the fact that this bill was never going to top over 40% support to begin with.
Indeed, as Mitt Romney infamously noted in the 2012 Presidential election, a full 47% of Americans pay no income taxes. Since then, not much has changed, with the most recent estimates showing that 45% pay no income tax whatsoever. Combine that with the aforementioned disapproval figures and this was never going to be a popular proposal.
By contrast, President Trump’s immigration proposals float at around 70% approval with the general public.
This of course begs the question: who in their right mind thought going straight to tax reform was a good idea? The vast majority of the American public doesn’t rank it as a major issue even. When polled on which issue is most important to them, most American voters overwhelmingly say non-economic issues such as immigration or dissatisfaction with the government. According to Gallup, from May 2017 to November 2017 concern for the economy as the number one issue has never exceeded 21% of the American public.
I again ask, who thought starting with tax reform was a good idea?
Combine the fact that the bill is widely unpopular, most Americans don’t consider it a major issue, and the GOP Congress decision to govern with little to no regard for the lessons of 2016 and the GOP is heading for a disaster in the 2018 Midterms.
All around us we see signs pointing to a desperate need for Trump’s core campaign promises to be addressed yet the political class in general and the GOP establishment in particular seem completely oblivious to this fact. Consider the recent tragedy that occurred in the form of yet another Amtrak train derailment in Washington which claimed the lives of three or the power failure at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. What more evidence do our leaders need to realize we need a massive investment in infrastructure and now? How many more lives will be put at risk by a political class totally unwilling to renovate and update our nation’s crumbling infrastructure?
The GOP Tax Bill doesn’t just reek of skewed priorities, it actually makes addressing many of these issues more difficult in the long run. As taxes are slashed across the board with little to no real reductions in spending, what will happen when President Trump finally does decide to act on infrastructure or building the wall? Will the GOP Congressional Leadership simply tell him, “That’s just not in the cards, we don’t have money for that.”
It’s time for Republican voters to wake up and smell the roses. The GOP Establishment does not care about you or your priorities. They’ve spent the first year of this administration constantly prioritizing their own and failing entirely on those issues which matter most to the base such as delivering on the promise to repeal Obamacare. Now to the tax bill’s credit, it does in fact repeal Obamacare if only through a backdoor method by repealing the individual mandate but that doesn’t change the fact that the optics surrounding this first major piece of legislation are terrible. It shows a GOP with mixed priorities, totally ignorant of what got Trump elected in the first place, and seems to back up the stereotype of a party only concerned with helping out the wealthiest Americans. As Ann Coulter noted, the decision to leave in a provision that would allow the carried interest loophole for hedge fund managers doesn’t exactly jive with President Trump’s promise to represent the forgotten men and women of America.
Mark my words, this bill will become our Obamacare. An albatross hanging around the GOP’s neck for the next three years if not longer. All of this could have been avoided if only the GOP Establishment had spent President Trump’s first year in office building the wall, investing in infrastructure, and making good on a clean repeal of Obamacare; we’d be smooth sailing into 2018.
Paul Ryan & Mitch McConnell have had the rule of the roost for about a year now. We’ll see what happens when the chickens come home in 2018.