Politics, Moderate



Why are Republicans in such a rush to pass tax reform? To outrun the truth.

Catherine Rampell on

"It's an ostrich approach to tax policy," says Steven Rosenthal, a senior fellow at the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.

Republicans don't want to learn what their own bill will cost, for instance.

For years, Republicans promised that their tax cuts would pay for themselves, once you accounted for all the economic growth they'd unleash. They even mandated that Congress' own nonpartisan internal scorekeepers take into account this "macroeconomic feedback" when evaluating the budgetary effect of major bills such as this one.

But now the Senate is racing to vote before those scorekeepers have a chance to evaluate their claim about the bill's cost (or lack thereof, supposedly).

This is surely no accident. Outside groups, including one favorable to the tax overhaul, have already done their own analyses. So far none has found that the bill generates enough growth to pay for itself.

There's also that little inconvenient truth about whom the bill benefits.

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Republican leaders keep claiming the bill focuses on helping the middle class. But voters are already catching on to the fact that the biggest tax cuts go to the wealthiest. Lately the public has learned that the Senate bill will actually raise taxes for households making less than $75,000 by 2027, relative to current law. Yes you read that right. And it's true even if you don't count the bill's changes to Obamacare.

The more time that passes, the angrier these voters will get, and the more pressure they'll presumably place on elected officials to either change or oppose the legislation.

Which is yet another reason to vote on the bill ASAP: Familiarity will breed (even more) contempt.

Unfortunately, rushing this bill through means that in addition to all the deliberate goodies and giveaways to the rich, there will be lots of unintended goodies and giveaways. That's because, given the haste with which this bill was drafted, the plan remains full of glitches.


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