The Senate’s passage of the most significant tax reform package in over 30 years was cause for presidential celebration via Twitter:
The United States Senate just passed the biggest in history Tax Cut and Reform Bill. Terrible Individual Mandate (ObamaCare)Repealed. Goes to the House tomorrow morning for final vote. If approved, there will be a News Conference at The White House at approximately 1:00 P.M.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 20, 2017
The idea that this is the largest tax cut in history is not, in fact, true – according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, this represents “the 8th largest as a percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) since 1918 and the 4th largest in inflation-adjusted dollars. If the bill was instead limited to the $1.5 trillion cost allowed by the Senate budget resolution, it would be the 12th largest as a percent of GDP and 4th largest in real dollars.”
Still, objective facts aren’t going to get in the way of Trump’s exuberance in the wake of his first, and perhaps only, legislative victory. And, as George Costanza once said, it’s not a lie if you believe it.
Republicans exaggerate about tax reform, but Democrats’ reactions are hysterical
Reaction from the other side was predictably shrill, especially from the protesters who shouted “Kill the bill, don’t kill us!” as the Senate was in the act of not killing either. Bernie Sanders took to Facebook to call the bill an “utter disgrace” and a “looting of the federal treasury,” expanding on his new role as a born-again deficit hawk.
The looting accusation, like Trump’s empty boast, is also not objectively true, as this bill actually prevents a great deal of money from getting to the federal treasury in the first place, but due to the leftist position that all money belongs to Washington, it stands to reason that any money you keep is looted bounty.
Hence Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s claim that this bill is a “heist” and “government for sale,” and non-Vice President Tim Kaine’s ridiculously hyperbolic tweet:
This isn't tax reform. It's highway robbery.
— Tim Kaine (@timkaine) December 20, 2017
It doesn’t seem to occur to Democrats that taxation itself is a form of robbery, not the absence of taxation. No one robbed you, Senator Kaine, because it’s not your money.
The partisan dichotomy in reaction to the bill can be seen in the statements of the senators from Colorado, one a Republican and one a Democrat. Republican Cory Gardner hailed the demise of the “Atari-era tax code that is outdated and overly complicated,” while Michael Bennet, a Democrat who misspells his own last name – Bennett should always have two Ts, dammit! – complains that the bill “burdens our children with $1.4 trillion in debt” and is “as if my wife and I lived in our house but then asked our kids to pay the mortgage.”
A more precise simile would say it’s as if Washington were adding a second $1.4 trillion mortgage to the $12 trillion mortgage of Obama-era spending that Bennet[t] gleefully voted for in the past decade. Newfound Democratic outrage over debt is laughably hypocritical.
What nobody’s saying is that this tax bill is sort of a hodgepodge of mixed blessings and missed opportunities that is solely designed to give the president a legislative victory and, beyond the much-needed cut to the usurious corporate tax rate, does fairly little to relieve anyone’s tax burden and, if anything, complicates the code even further.
Such an assessment would require a lot more honesty and lot less George Constanza.
(Photo of Senator Elizabeth Warren speaking at a Hillary Clinton rally by Edward Kimmel via Flickr)