Thursday, December 21, 2017

A taxing process

Given the bungling of the Obamacare repeal over the summer, I was not 100% sold that Congressional Republicans could put forth substantive legislation regarding tax reform. President Donald Trump carrying on feuds with such Senate GOP members as Bob Corker, Jeff Flake and John McCain only served to fuel my skepticism.

Yet somehow someway, it got done

The Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives gave final approval on Wednesday to the biggest overhaul of the U.S. tax code in 30 years, sending a sweeping $1.5 trillion tax bill to President Donald Trump for his signature.

In sealing Trump’s first major legislative victory since he took office in January, Republicans steamrolled opposition from Democrats to pass a bill that slashes taxes for corporations and the wealthy while giving mixed, temporary tax relief to middle-class Americans.

The House approved the measure by 224-201, passing it for the second time in two days after a procedural foul-up forced another vote on Wednesday. The Republican-led Senate had passed it 51-48 in the early hours of Wednesday.

“We are making America great again,” Trump said, echoing his campaign slogan at a White House celebration with Republican lawmakers. “Ultimately what does it mean? It means jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs.”

Some have described this as "the GOP's Obamacare" in that the bill needed to be passed in order to find out what was in it and that not one member of the opposition party cast a vote in favor. The Democrats ended up paying a heavy price via big losses in 3 of the following 4 elections after the ACA was passed. If this tax reform legislation doesn't consistently provide in excess of 3% growth in GDP and Americans don't notice a tangible difference in their take home pay, Republicans may well suffer the same fate.

As it stands today, the tax reform legislation is underwater in terms of its popularity (though that's due in large part to leftists and media pushing false chanting points) and Dems have an 18-point advantage in the Generic Congressional Ballot for 2018. But, again, Republicans were willing to stake their reelection prospects on this bill, which is actually a refreshing change. Typically the GOP is too weak-kneed when it comes to tackling substantive fiscal issues, so they end up "going along to get along." But since that passive mindset has lead to well-deserved defeats at the ballot box, it's best to enact legislation that has a chance to positively impact the country even if it also means risking reelection prospects.

Some undeniable positives of this bill passing? On the very day the bill was passed by Congress, major companies like Boeing, Wells Fargo, AT&T, Comcast et al announced substantial investments in their employees and business expansions. Without knowing the intimate details of the final bill, I take that as a good sign. Also, despite the aforementioned ill-fated attempts to rid the country of Obamacare, this bill actually eliminates the individual mandate, which may well expedite the ending of the ACA. Is it any mystery why Barack Obama bristled whenever the mandate was referred to as a tax? I'm sure he realized that any tax overhaul in the future could eliminate that provision. Ironically, the only thing that saved the ACA was the U.S. Supreme Court's 2012 ruling that the law was Constitutional only if said mandate was considered a tax.

The Democrats' reaction to this bill passing was, as expected, utterly cynical and disingenuous. Check out this gem from the shrill and unaccomplished Betty McCollum, who "represents" Minnesota's 4th Congressional District.

Yeah, spare me the faux outrage, Betty. While the initial analysis of this bill is projected to add $1.4 trillion in deficits over ten years (though that can easily be offset if increased economic growth occurs as expected), there were multiple one-year periods during the Obama administration where at least $1 trillion in deficits were accumulated. Funny, but leftists like Betty were conspicuously silent whenever that occurred. But as my radio show's political wonk Matt Mackowiak stated last month, Dems aren't so much concerned about the negative impact they claim this bill will bring, rather they're scared to death it will succeed.

Finally, President Trump was effusive in his praise of Congressional leaders upon this bill passing. The one congratulatory tweet which stood out to me was his sentiments towards Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Steve Bannon hardest hit.


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