Fainting Couches and Smelling Salts: A Tax Reform Story

Just in time for Christmas, Senate Republicans pushed through their tax reform bill early Saturday morning and, as expected, progressives gnashed their teeth and wrung their hands shortly thereafter.

However, the tone of their criticism, full of apocalyptic rhetoric and doomsday prophesy, is off the charts. Here’s just a small taste from Twitter. Remember, these are well known, respected progressives that are considered thoughtful and have huge followings:

https://twitter.com/PalmerReport/status/936853688768872451

The Washington Post‘s coverage has hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico freaking out:

And protestors even met President Trump’s motorcade to an event in New York Saturday morning with signs that read:

“Tax cuts destroy energy”

I’ve yet to see the stories explaining how, but I’m sure they’re coming.

I suspect most of the panic stems from this element of the reform bill:

The sweeping tax overhaul that passed the U.S. Senate on Saturday contains the Republicans’ biggest blow yet to former President Barack Obama’s healthcare law, repealing the requirement that all Americans obtain health insurance.

The individual mandate is meant to ensure a viable health insurance market by forcing younger and healthier Americans to buy coverage.

Removing it while keeping the rest of Obama’s Affordable Care Act intact is expected to cause insurance premiums to rise and lead to millions of people losing coverage, policy experts say.

That last part is, of course, debatable enough to be almost false as those policy experts are relying on the ever-changing models coming out of the not-so-non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO). There have even been calls for an investigation into the CBO over their chameleon-like coverage predictions.

The point is that the histrionics are overwrought and irresponsible. They would be appalling except for the fact that they’re also sort of hilarious and are reaching a “boy who cried wolf” threshold, where people on both sides of the aisle are moving toward disbelief when the world, in fact, doesn’t end over tax reform.

For what it’s worth, the White House released a statement applauding the GOP for passing the tax reform bill that read, in part:

The policies in this bill will cut taxes for hardworking families and put our economy on a path of sustainable economic prosperity and job creation. We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reclaim America’s great destiny. The Administration looks forward to working with Congress to fulfill the promise we made to deliver historic tax cuts for the American people by the end of the year.

That just doesn’t sound so bad to me, guys.