Finally, after months of arm-twisting, back-room deals, and two dog-and-pony show votes in the House and the Senate devoid of hearings, expert testimony, or Democratic inclusion, the final version of the Republican tax plan has finally been made public.
GOP Leadership overcame objections within their own party to secure enough votes to pass the massively unpopular tax cut for corporations and the wealthy, and barring an unexpected 11th hour development, the bill will become law in a matter of days. The final version also includes a repeal of ObamaCare’s individual mandate, the critical piece of President Obama’s signature healthcare legislation that makes the whole thing work.
Republican senators Bob Corker (TN) and Marco Rubio (FL) had been holdouts, but both have been placated and announced their support for the bill late Friday.
Senator Corker released a statement saying, “I believe that this once-in-a-generation opportunity to make U.S. businesses domestically more productive and internationally more competitive is one we should not miss.”
Senator Rubio demanded an increase in the Child Tax Credit, something he received at literally the last minute.
The bill is a boon to corporations, cutting their rate from the current 35% – which few pay thanks to loop holes – to 21%, and the do not expire. Middle class families, on the other hand, the people Republicans insist are the true benefactors of this bill, will only see modest cuts of 2% – 3% at most.
“Rarely, maybe once or twice in most presidencies, do bills like this come along: one that could profoundly affect every American person and business for decades,” writes Lisa Desjardins at PBS News Hour.
“The tax cuts are expected to take a big bite out of government revenue,” NPR reported late Friday. “Even after accounting for somewhat faster economic growth, congressional forecasters say the measure will add about $1 trillion to the federal debt over the next decade.”
This, in a nutshell, is the true purpose of the bill, a fulfillment of the GOP’s long-pursued “Starve the Beast” strategy. Republicans talk about this behind closed doors, but rarely if ever utter anything about it in public, at least not with a hot mic nearby. Their goal is, and has always been, to starve the government of funding to force draconian cuts to the social safety, up to and including social security, public education, and medicare.
Republicans could never defund those programs directly, and the know it. Destroying the government’s ability to raise the money under the guise of a tax cut, however, accomplishes the same goal. It jus might take a little longer.
While Republican lawmakers would never reveal this master plan publicly, conservative economic activists have been quite open about their vision of flaccid Washington cut down to size. Grover Norquist, the president of the influential anti-tax lobbying group, the Club for Growth, said in 2001, “I don’t want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.”
You can hear the water running now.
NPR has a fantastic breakdown of what the new Republican tax plan will mean for you, which you can access here.