A friend, who happens to be a Republican, gave me a call while he was watching some of Senate debate on the tax bill. He asked me how they could vote on bill that they have not read. The answer is simple: they are compelled to pass a tax bill that they do not understand because they believe that it is good politics to do so. Their donors are demanding tax cuts and they have a need to demonstrate their ability to govern. Paul Krugman describes the ignorance and lying at the foundation of the GOP tax proposal. Its not just Trump. The Republican Party is perfectly at home selling tax cuts for their friends. However, there are some Republican senators who portray themselves as fiscal conservatives. Its hard for them to pass a bill that would add a trillion dollars to the national debt. Trump's Secretary of the Treasury told them that a study by his department proved that the tax cuts would stimulate economic growth and not increase the national debt. He was not able to share the study with them because it does not exist. He has been lying about the study in his speeches defending the tax cuts for weeks. Unfortunately, lying in support of the tax cuts runs deep. A group of economists, most of whom are connected to the conservative Hoover Institute think tank, published a letter in the WSJ making a similar claim. Their letter was based upon supportive research that they intentionally distorted. There are a number of conservative think tanks, supported by tax free dollars, that provide a friendly home for economists with the right values.
The non-partisan Tax Policy Center just released its study of the tax bill and concluded that it would add at least a trillion dollars to the national debt over ten years. That might bother some of the fiscal conservative pretenders in the Republican senate. However, its unlikely that any of them will stand up to the brotherhood which is intent upon passing the tax bill. There will be some tinkering with the bill to make it appear to be more fiscally conservative, and they will be able to demonstrate their fiscal conservatism to their constituents.
Unfortunately, the tax bill is not only fiscally irresponsible, it goes well beyond rewarding its donors. It punishes its enemies as well. Blue states are punished by the bill and it attacks universities who produce voters that tend to be more liberal than most Republicans. The bill is also bad for the middle class. It raises taxes for households with income under $70,000 over time in order to pay for tax cuts to its friends who enjoy life at Mar a Lago. In addition to raising taxes for the middle class it provides the justification for cuts in popular entitlement programs as federal debt rises as a result of the tax cuts. Its not just Trump. The Republican Party has become rotten at the core.