Various news reports coming out since Friday have stated that the Republicans in Congress want to vote on the conferenced tax reform package as early as today. The plan has, after all, always been to get tax reform done by Christmas.
But the GOP is up against the clock, and voters are waiting to see if the GOP can actually govern, or if they are somehow miraculously still the opposition party despite being the party in power. That brings us to this moment, where the party has to decide if a still-imperfect tax bill is worth staking the party’s future on.
Most indicators leave us with the impression that the Republicans feel this is, in fact, THE hill to die on. And, despite public perception, the bill is the most important thing Republicans can do this year. Here are three reasons why.
1. They Need a Win (Ahead of 2018)
…Badly. They need a win badly. The fact of the matter is that, while the GOP has achieved small victories like getting Gorsuch on the Supreme Court and getting out of the Paris Climate Accords, there is nothing significant that they have offered their voters.
The ideal situation would have been to pull Obamacare out (root and branch, as Mitch McConnell famously said before chuckling and waving it off like a child’s medieval fantasy) through a clean repeal process. That couldn’t happen, so they tried a reform package. When that failed (in McConnell’s Senate, no less), they decided to move on to the next thing.
But, with negative media, constant Democrat attacks, and no accomplishments to speak of, the GOP has waited until pretty much the last minute to get this done. The voters are anxious, and they are worried their wave election in 2016 was not fruitful.
So, the party has to find a way to mitigate the damage that will be done in 2018 (damage in 2018 is all but assured, according to historical trends) and tax reform is the answer. It’s something that has talking points, and it’s something that can be defended in TV spots and political ads.
2. They Need To Capitalize on Recent Economic Growth
During Donald Trump’s time in office, the economy has grown. This is not a direct result of his policies, mind you, but confidence from the business sector in Donald Trump’s pro-business agenda has caused markets to leap forward and jobs to be created and filled.
The problem is that there isn’t enough evidence to determine if this is a bubble or not. America needs this kind of growth consistently in order to recover to the point we were at before the crash.
That brings us to the tax reform package. One of the good things about this package is that it is incredibly pro-business… but, that’s also one of the bad things. There isn’t as much focus on the middle class as one would like (although the concessions in there for the middle class are pretty good), but there are some potential side effects that will be beneficial.
Obviously, repatriating businesses and their money here would be a major boon for those seeking work. That money can be reinvested into business to keep things growing even more.
That means the outlook for the middle class, which media outlets were sure would take a hit under this plan, is a good one.
3. There Is Enough Good in This Bill That We Can Support
And I’m not just talking about the reform victories here. There are so many ideas that this bill brought to the table that we are now discussing.
As much as Texans and Alabamians don’t want their tax dollars to subsidize California and New York, liberals from California and New York don’t want their tax dollars doing the same for Texans and Alabamians. The State and Local Tax Deduction controversy has created that whole new discussion, and it’s not the only one.
The child tax credit is back up for discussion, the SALT issue is on the table, and we are now remembering that tax deductions and credits incentivize behavior.
This is a valuable lesson for the Republican Party, which can incentivize American innovation and economic stimulus through a revamp of business tax codes, as well as push a subtle pro-life agenda by saying “You know what? You can afford to have a child, and we’ll help you make sure you do.”
That’s a solid win.
The Republicans have to pass this bill and get it to Donald Trump’s desk. There is a great need for the Party to get it done, but there is just as big a need for Americans to have a simpler tax code.
I’m not saying this bill is perfect. Lord, were that only the case. But it is much better than the system we have now, which (as no one seems to be pointing out) is just as rigged for the rich and powerful as anything the Republicans could come up with.
Republicans in the House and Senate had better do this, and do it right.