Thursday, April 19, 2018

House Republicans Want More Tax Cuts for the Wealthy

With the GOP/Trump tax cuts remaining unpopular, especially given the $1.8 trillion budget deficit increase they are now projected to cause, Republicans are panicking ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.  So what do House Republicans want to do?  Lead by Paul "Reverse Robin Hood" Ryan, they want to pass an additional $650 billion in cuts by making the cuts for individuals permanent.  Never mind that those cuts disproportionately went to the very wealthy - I have seen less than $50 in difference in pay pay stubs - while average Americans were largely stiffed.  And that doesn't even get into the issue of how Ryan and company seek to slash the social safety net for average Americans.  The only positive news is that Mitch McConnell (who I suspect history will depict as a key player in the end of American democracy) is not keen on the effort since a handful of Democrat senators might vote for the bill and deprive the GOP of a perceived cudgel to use against them in November.  The GOP truly lives in a bubble/alternate universe.  Here are highlights from the Washington Post:

Heading into a contentious campaign for control of Congress, Republicans are increasingly divided over how to bolster their signature legislative achievement — a $1.5 trillion tax cut — amid signs it is not the political gift they had expected it to be last year.
House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) aims to pass another massive tax cut this summer, which Republicans hope will rev up the GOP base and improve the standing of Republicans at the polls.
But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is under pressure to block a vote, which Republican campaign strategists worry could allow red-state Democrats to vote for additional tax cuts and undermine one of the GOP’s most effective lines of attack in conservative-leaning states: that Democrats voted against a big tax cut last December.
The GOP debate shows how the tax bill, which Republicans rushed to pass in December despite the enormous complexity of overhauling the tax code, has not become the campaign booster Republicans said it would be.
Republicans had bet that increasing the take-home pay of Americans would help them defeat Democrats come November. But months after the tax cut started to affect paychecks, polling shows the legislation remains unpopular. 
That is a major problem for Republicans, who since taking control of the government last year have dealt with party infighting, high-profile retirements, multiple stalled attempts to repeal President Barack Obama’s health-care law and the constant swirl of controversy surrounding President Trump.
Some Republicans have even suggested that voters might not have noticed increases of $40 or $60 or so in their paychecks, partly because many workers no longer get paper pay stubs. . . . . The $1.5 trillion legislation was primarily focused on cutting taxes for companies. It also trimmed individual taxes, but those cuts were left to expire in 2026 to comply with Senate budget rules.
Democrats have seized on the unbalanced approach, which Republicans promised would be rectified.
Conservative leaders met with Ryan on Monday and expect a vote in June or July. That would give lawmakers time to discuss the issue with constituents over the August recess and ahead of Labor Day, the traditional kickoff to the election campaign season.But privately, Republicans trying to knock off Senate Democrats in states including West Virginia, Montana, Indiana and Missouri don’t want McConnell to take such a vote and are urging him against it, according to two GOP strategists knowledgeable about the conversations.
“Holding another vote would take away one of the bigger hits we have against Democrats for this fall and gives them a chance to take credit . . . . Another Republican strategist closely involved in Senate campaigns said that officials with the National Republican Senate Committee were urging McConnell not to hold a vote on individual tax cut permanence out of concern for the benefit to endangered Democrats. The strategist also requested anonymity to discuss the deliberations.
For their part, red-state Democrats appear ready to take advantage of a vote if Republicans schedule one. While enough Democrats would vote against additional tax cuts because of how much they’d add to the deficit, some such as Sen. Joe Manchin III of West Virginia or Sen. Jon Tester of Montana could end up supporting them, thereby undercutting a major GOP line of attack against them.
Still, GOP leaders in the House and some conservative leaders argue that additional tax cuts would offer Americans another reminder that Republicans passed tax cuts in the first place and that Democrats broadly oppose them.
The struggles have led some Republicans to urge candidates to redouble their efforts to sell the tax law, which on average increased after-tax income for taxpayers in all tax groups this year, according to the Tax Foundation, while adding more than $1 trillion to the deficit.
House Republicans obviously believe that voters are idiots and can be bought for $40 per bi-monthly paycheck.  One can only hope that they are proven very, very wrong.

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