From the Left



GOP tax bill is a Trojan horse

By Jules Witcover, Tribune Content Agency on

The Republicans jammed their little-explained and little-understood bill through Congress with not a semblance of bipartisanship in its authorship or public sausage-making. Republican advocates confessed to not having read all or even much of the voluminous product that will critically touch the lives of all Americans.

As Trump leads his party with bravado, with his transparent need for public adulation distorting reality, American politics lurches from one uncertainty to another. After the crushing Republican defeat in the special Senate race in Alabama, in which Trump invested much in the loser, he now turns to claims of broad benefits and tax cuts for working stiffs, although they are microscopic compared the tax breaks headed to already wealthy individual and corporate businessmen like himself.

As the end of Trump's first year in office approaches, he promises that the major tax rate reduction for the highest corporate interests will lead to great job growth -- the old Republican establishment trickle-down litany.

Meanwhile, the party's supposed commitment to a balanced budget and hatred of deficit spending are now getting short shrift. The Congressional Budget Office has "scored" the bill as raising the deficit by about $1.4 trillion.

The political question is how this will affect voting in next November's midterm congressional elections. The sustaining strength of the bull market Trump inherited, and the nation's record low unemployment, remain his best counters to public displeasure with his impulsive and impetuous nature, amid continuing public doubts about his fitness for the presidency.

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The impact on voters of his huge tax cuts is yet to be determined. And the jury is still out on that broader question of presidential qualification, which drives the Justice Department and congressional investigations threatening and challenging Donald Trump's incumbency.


(Jules Witcover's latest book is "The American Vice Presidency: From Irrelevance to Power," published by Smithsonian Books. You can respond to this column at



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