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This tax reform thing won't be as easy as Republicans think

Catherine Rampell on

Paul Ryan's white whale is almost in sight.

On Wednesday, after years of wishin' and hopin' and thinkin' and prayin' (and lately, nose-holdin'), the Republican House speaker and his party will finally drop the text of their long-sought tax bill.

Then, thanks to clever manipulation of Senate rules, the bill will secure swift passage, requiring only a simple majority of senators (meaning Democrats cannot obstruct) and a gold-Sharpied presidential signature for delivery, at long last, to a cheering Republican base. Right?

Wrong.

Even with President Trump in Asia (and if Ryan is lucky, too busy to trash his own tax plan), the GOP bill faces enormous challenges.

The first of these is voters, including Republican ones.

Despite all that trickle-down propaganda, about three-quarters of Americans -- and more than half of Republicans -- believe that wealthy households and big corporations pay too little in taxes, according to a September Associated Press-NORC poll. Maybe they won't storm town halls the way they did over threats to Obamacare, but they're unlikely to be supportive.

Especially since the Trump administration has already broken many of its promises, such as not cutting taxes on the rich, or raising them on the middle class.

That said, Republicans' main problem isn't what the little people think. It's what the lobbyists want and, more significantly, what complicated budget rules allow.

The first obstacle is the cost of their plan.

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