After watching the Obamacare replacement disaster unfold, it’s difficult to be sanguine about the idea of any major tax reform. Instead, it appears as if we’ll get the same talk from Republicans ever since they passed real tax reform in 1986.
Everybody likes lower taxes. If polled on the question, “Do you want to pay less in taxes?” only an idiot would answer, “No.”
The problem with the GOP and Trump approach is two-fold.
First, the politics. Trump’s “plan” is to cut the corporate tax rate, move the current seven brackets to three rates of 10, 25 and 35 as well as doubling standard deduction and expanding subsidies for child care. Democrats will do what they usually do: Complain that most of the tax breaks benefit the wealthy at the expense of the poor.
Republicans needn’t worry about losing their congressional majority over tax cuts. Most of the mainstream media will parrot all of the “Look how the wealthy will benefit from Trump’s tax plan, ” and that’s only true because 45 percent of Americans pay no federal income tax. In fact, many of them get “returns” despite not paying federal income taxes thanks in part to the Earned Income Tax Credit, which is a refundable tax program.
The GOP almost always fall into the trap of defending “millionaires and billionaires” when Democrats know full well the new tax rates will help people who don;t make nearly that much money. Republican lawmakers continue to punt on tax reform and instead go for the easy tax cut, and all it does is set up problems down the road.
That gets into the second part of the futility: The policy. The national debt is near $20 trillion, and the kind of tax cuts the GOP is proposing won’t help. Sometimes tax cuts do not pay for themselves, and this is why reform is critical. The GOP faces a bigger dilemma, and it’s partially their fault. They’ve signed off on the multitude of credits and deductions, and all those collectively add up to over $1 trillion every year. It includes goodies such as the home mortgage interest deduction, child credits, solar panel credits, electric car credits, adoption credits, etc.
The list goes on.
Of course, then there is the elephant in the room nobody wants to talk about: Social Security and Medicare.
Interestingly enough, some of the same people who go around saying people like Paul Ryan are “libs” because they don’t do anything about the debt are usually the same ones who scream loudly they don’t want their entitlements touched. They’re under the delusion that cutting foreign aid will save trillions but they don’t want to do it because they’re “globalists.”
Just like on health care, I see a future where zero Democrats in the Senate will support these ideas and some on the Republican side who will flinch. What happens when Trump is dealt another blow where he loses by a slim majority? It will get ugly and the GOP may become a victim of their own incompetence in 2018.