We begin today’s roundup with Catherine Rampell’s excellent analysis of the albatross of a tax bill the Republican Party just embraced:
Right now the public hates, hates, hates the tax bill. It’s less popular than any major piece of legislation of the past several decades, less popular even than tax hikes passed under Presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush. Only about a third of Americans view it favorably, based on an average of nine polls this month. Republicans are hoping that once the public sees their plan in action, though, everyone will be pleasantly surprised. [...]
Why is it so hard to recognize a tax cut when you, and almost everyone else, have gotten one?
When it primarily appears in dribs and drabs over the course of the year through paycheck withholding, it’s just not that salient. Especially given all the other variables that can cause one’s take-home pay to fluctuate from year to year or week to week, such as changes in wages, hours and benefits.
Let’s say, though, that Republicans are right, and people do notice their taxes falling in 2018. Even then it’s not clear they’ll sweeten on the Trump plan.
In fact, they may sour on it further.
Paul Krugman at The New York Times dives into the details of the tax scam:
The St. Nick you knew is on vacation, possibly permanently. In his place we have Republican Tax-Cut Santa, who has different priorities.
You see, the new guy doesn’t care whether you’re naughty or nice. In fact, he’ll actually reward you if you’re naughty in the right ways. But mainly he cares whether you’re rich, especially if your wealth comes from property (preferably inherited property), not hard work. In that case, you get a really big gift. If you’re an ordinary working family, not so much — and eventually you get that lump.
So let’s talk about whose stockings will be stuffed by the tax bill Republicans just rammed through without a single hearing or a single Democratic vote.
Here is conservative Joe Scarborough’s take:
The richest Americans are paying nothing, and it is ridiculous. These guys shift paper around, and they get lucky. These hedge-fund guys are getting away with murder, when you have one who is making $200 million a year and paying very low taxes. It’s not fair. And it tells people a lot. The middle class is getting absolutely destroyed. This country won’t have a middle class soon. It’s got to end.
Meanwhile, Russell Berman at The Atlantic outlines all of those who are being left behind this Christmas as Congress leaves DC without tackling emergency issues involving CHIP and DACA:
Lawmakers escaped Washington on Thursday after they passed a temporary spending bill more notable for what it lacked than what it contains. Millions of families won’t get a long-term reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which has been overdue for nearly three months. About 800,000 immigrants brought illegally to the United States as children won’t receive the permanent protection from deportation that Democrats and some Republicans promised would come by the end of the year. And insurers won’t see the renewal of payments aimed at tamping down premiums for people who earn too much to qualify for government subsidies.
Instead, Congress kicked all of those issues to next year rather than press policy fights that could have shut down the federal government over the holidays.
David Rothkopf’s piece at The Daily Beast on the tax scam is a must-read:
Bernie Madoff must be sitting in prison thinking to himself, “Schmuck, that’s how it is done!”
That’s because the con just pulled off by Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, and very nearly every Republican on Capitol Hill would have every great fraudster in American history from Ponzi to that tubby guy behind the Backstreet Boys marveling at its scope, boldness, and brazen criminality.
Paul Waldman at The Week details the “absurd revisionist history” of Trump’s first year:
Simply by taking possession of the executive branch, Republicans were able to implement all manner of conservative goals, from cutting back enforcement of environmental laws to easing oversight of Wall Street to appointing conservative judges to the federal bench. Having Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court is always the first item on the list of Trump "accomplishments," though it's not as if it required hard work and skill; Republicans essentially stole the Supreme Court seat, leaving it open for him to fill, which he did with someone recommended to him by conservative legal activists. And Republicans did just cut taxes for the wealthy and corporations, which to the GOP is the single most important purpose of governing.
So if you're a conservative, you can tick off a bunch of actions that you're happy about — not to mention that Trump hasn't actually gotten us into a nuclear war (not yet, anyway). The problem is that the damage he's doing to their party is deep and profound, and could last a long, long time.
On a final note, here is Eugene Robinson’s piece on how the Trump family will directly benefit from the tax scam:
One of the biggest beneficiaries of the massive, slapdash tax bill that President Trump and Republican lawmakers celebrated at the White House on Wednesday will be, wait for it . . . President Trump. What a coincidence!
The rest of Trump’s wealthy family will benefit lavishly as well, including his son-in-law and all-purpose adviser, Jared Kushner. And, of course, it’s not a coincidence at all. The chance that this president would preside over a revision of the tax code without lining his own pockets was zero. Anyone who believed Trump’s claim that the tax bill would “cost me a fortune” hasn’t been paying attention.