It looks as if Congressional Republicans and their billionaire donors shall have their dream come true. The Senate will vote to finalize their Tax Reform bill tonight or tomorrow and the House will re-vote tomorrow after a ridiculous ruh-roh of having violated the rules of the simple majority vote, by voting on the inclusion of some terms that are violations of the chamber’s rules. I mean, come on, how are they supposed to know what’s in there if no one, except lobbyists, are reading it??? Come on! What’s in it doesn’t matter so long as the donors are happy, and Congresspeople themselves are coincidental benefactors. Time is of the essence!
The many times I have written about this legislation…from the beginning, I had highlighted the untenable position into which the Republicans have placed themselves. There was no way out except to either just say “fuck it” and vote on a bill that fiscally makes no sense or do nothing. Doing nothing wasn’t an option. They have convinced themselves that doing something awful, is preferable to the alternative.
I have no doubt there are a core of Republicans who believe in the spirit of this bill either at face value or, more sinisterly, in the likelihood that the apathy and low-fact nature of a portion of our electorate will see a few more dollars in their paychecks come February and be all like, “hey okay, this is working,” and therefore their actions as congresspeople is just and correctly applied.
It is true I believe, that as a whole, Americans don’t begrudge rich people their piles of cash. We don’t. We admire it, especially if it seems abstract and distant or if the wealthy individual is a known quantity that is socially active and agreeable.
I also do not doubt that a minority of the republicans voted for Tax Reform because they were told to by McConnell and Ryan. A still smaller minority voted for it because it was explained how they themselves would benefit. In the specific case of Susan Collins she was promised passage of future bills that would fix up the damage that the majority of Republicans would like to do to the ACA. My take is, somehow she is dumb enough to think this is a get out of jail free card for 2020 re-election campaign. I don’t believe she is dumb enough to take McConnell at his word, everyone knows it’s not going to happen. In the case of Bob Corker, it’s hard to walk away from the concept that he is seeing $ signs because he isn’t going to run again anyway and by his own admission, he didn’t even read the damn thing, so what else could it be?
So what’s the play? I’m going with- the Republicans incorrectly banking on the belief that Americans seeing a few extra bucks in their paychecks will mollify them long enough to be able to successfully kick the can down the road to that time when it’s suddenly necessary, in the name of fiscal responsibility, to slash all social programs. Even if Americans don’t begrudge the rich their dollars, they don’t dig being lied to and they certainly aren’t going to go along with the reduction of their “entitlements.”
So, we’ll go ahead and offer some neato cash repatriation terms to large international corporations and over the next couple of years, those moneys will leave US treasury notes, where so much of it is sitting now, and head into the hands of shareholders. The Chinese can buy up more of our debt (the extra debt that this reform just created and in response to the siphoning off of corporate owned t-notes) and merrily continue the trade imbalance. There’s no reason to repatriate the actual business activities of US corporations themselves.
There is very little unused capacity in US business to invest in. There would have been if we worked on an infrastructure bill instead of tax reform. There is no measurable amount of the unemployment rate to spend money on either. All things being equal, we’re set-up for some massive inflation and the Fed battling it by rapidly increasing the lending rate. The thing is, we won’t see that in 2018, we’ll see it in the middle of 2019 when Democrats control both houses.
Here is the other sinister play of the Republicans. They think they’ll be able to get their “entitlement” cuts in before they lose both houses, allow Democrats to take control and blame them for everything that’s going wrong in 2019. Run on that for 2020.
Only choice Democrats would have in that case, is bite the bullet and attempt to fix everything the Republicans have wrought in a very short period of time. Ugly. it would be extremely hard to do that unless they took the exact same approach that the Republicans have: no committee meetings, no expert witnesses, no 2/3 majorities…just shove it down yer throat, simple majority clusterfucks.