GOP will sell out middle class for a win on tax ‘reform’

GOP will sell out middle class for a win on tax ‘reform’
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Let’s start by clearing up some nomenclature. The tax bill is not tax reform.

Tax reform — oh, that sounds so wonderful. Every terrible provision in the bill is sanitized by saying it is tax reform. What the Republican Senate bill is, is a big whopping gift to corporations and the very wealthy.


But you ask, “How about those tax cuts for the ordinary working man and woman?” Those reductions for individuals are temporary. The reductions for corporations are permanent.

You remember Donald Trump during the campaign railing against “carried interest?” The concept of taxing the profits of hedge fund billionaires not as ordinary income but less. That is untouched in the bill.

How about the elimination of the estate tax? That would benefit the super-rich, just .02 percent of the nation’s population. In this bill, this onerous burden would be eliminated.

If that’s not enough, how about doing away with the ObamaCare individual mandate? That’s a real “great” idea. That way the government would spend less on Medicaid — premiums would rise 10 percent a year, and 4 million people would lose their health insurance coverage by 2019 and, by 2027, the total would go up to 13 million. 

To those who are worried that all this tax cutting might be fiscally irresponsible, the Republicans have a neat solution. Down the road, under the rubric of “entitlement reform” (another “reform”), they would start cutting essential programs that ordinary people count on, such as Medicare and Social Security.

All of this awful stuff is being done without one hearing.

The Senate Republicans aren’t interested in a bipartisan bill, nor is President TrumpDonald John TrumpUS reimposes UN sanctions on Iran amid increasing tensions Jeff Flake: Republicans 'should hold the same position' on SCOTUS vacancy as 2016 Trump supporters chant 'Fill that seat' at North Carolina rally MORE. They say they are, but they don’t mean it.

The plan is to get something to the floor and quickly use majority control (52 votes) and pass it. That way they can say they’ve done something this year.

They are smarting from their failure to repeal ObamaCare. The GOP desperately needs a victory. Any victory will do.

What’s in the tax bill is not nearly as important as passing a bill. That’s how vacuous and devious the entire enterprise has become.

Now, there are supposedly reluctant GOP senators who have problems with the bill.

Sens. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by The Air Line Pilots Association - White House moves closer to Pelosi on virus relief bill Second GOP senator to quarantine after exposure to coronavirus GOP-led panel to hear from former official who said Burisma was not a factor in US policy MORE of Wisconsin and Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerHas Congress captured Russia policy? Tennessee primary battle turns nasty for Republicans Cheney clashes with Trump MORE of Tennessee have been mentioned prominently. So has Sen. Steve DainesSteven (Steve) David DainesToobin: McConnell engaging in 'greatest act of hypocrisy in American political history' with Ginsburg replacement vote To honor Justice Ginsburg's legacy, Biden should consider Michelle Obama Senate Republicans face tough decision on replacing Ginsburg MORE of Montana. But when it finally comes down to voting no, will they have the guts to do it?

I believe they will buckle and fold. That leaves it up to Sens. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeJeff Flake: Republicans 'should hold the same position' on SCOTUS vacancy as 2016 Republican former Michigan governor says he's voting for Biden Maybe they just don't like cowboys: The president is successful, some just don't like his style MORE of Arizona, Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsJeff Flake: Republicans 'should hold the same position' on SCOTUS vacancy as 2016 Trump supporters chant 'Fill that seat' at North Carolina rally Momentum growing among Republicans for Supreme Court vote before Election Day MORE of Maine and John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMomentum growing among Republicans for Supreme Court vote before Election Day McConnell urges GOP senators to 'keep your powder dry' on Supreme Court vacancy McSally says current Senate should vote on Trump nominee MORE of Arizona.

Flake could back up his gutsy words with real backbone by voting no.

McCain could pull a McCain: Vote no again, just like he did with the repeal of ObamaCare.There are a few others muttering dissent. Sen. James LankfordJames Paul LankfordMcConnell works to lock down GOP votes for coronavirus bill Charities scramble to plug revenue holes during pandemic Warren calls for Postal Service board members to fire DeJoy or resign MORE of Oklahoma has been talking a good game. But will he really buck his party and vote his convictions?

Even Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleySenate Republicans face tough decision on replacing Ginsburg What Senate Republicans have said about election-year Supreme Court vacancies Biden says Ginsburg successor should be picked by candidate who wins on Nov. 3 MORE of Iowa has expressed reservations.

When it is all over, I’m not the least bit optimistic. The Republicans so crave a “win” they will pass anything and call it a “win” for the ordinary Joe.

The content of any legislation, as we know, this president doesn’t know about or care about. He just wants to say he “did the deal.”

This deal is bad for the American taxpayer. Real bad.

Its purpose is fundamentally to further enhance the rich and well-off and basically screw those who don’t have deep pockets.

It is in no way reform. It is a big fat wet kiss to the donor class that continues to fund and favor the GOP.

GOP really stands for Grand Old Plutocracy.

Mark Plotkin is a contributor to the BBC on American politics and a columnist for The Georgetowner. He previously worked as the political analyst for WAMU-FM, Washington’s NPR affiliate, and for WTOP-FM, Washington’s all-news radio station. He is a winner of the Edward R. Murrow Award for excellence in writing.