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Chait writes: "Of all the horrors Donald Trump has (and has yet to) inflict upon the republic, a huge tax cut for the rich was the most inevitable. But it is also the most easily reversible."

Wipe that smile off your face, Mitch McConnell. (photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Wipe that smile off your face, Mitch McConnell. (photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

ALSO SEE: Tax Bill Could Fuel Push for
Medicare, Social Security Cuts

The Trump Tax Cuts for the Rich Must, and Will, Be Repealed

By Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine

04 December 17


f all the horrors Donald Trump has (and has yet to) inflict upon the republic, a huge tax cut for the rich was the most inevitable. But it is also the most easily reversible. Lifetime court appointments, carbon pollution, the degrading of democratic norms — all of these will prove difficult or impossible to undo, and leave costs deep into the future. The Trump tax cuts will not.

Indeed, the passage of the Trump tax cuts will help lay the groundwork for their undoing by increasing the chances Democrats regain control of Congress. The moment Trump won his election last November, he immediately forfeited his most potent advantages: He no longer had the deeply unpopular Hillary Clinton as his opponent, and he lost the advantage of Democratic complacency (which tends to build up over time when their party holds the White House.) An anti-Republican wave of some size was always inevitable. But Trump compounded the problem by surrendering another potent advantage: his brand as an economic populist loathed by the financial elite and planning to raise taxes on rich people like himself.

Probably nothing has done more to erode Trump’s public standing than the consistently plutocratic cast of his domestic policy. The tax cut is the second-most-unpopular major piece of legislation in recorded history, behind only Trump’s other major domestic initiative, the health-care-repeal bill:

Democrats have nothing to fear from making repeal of the Trump tax cuts for the rich a defining party plank. On the contrary, they have a great deal to gain. The bill is a cash grab by the wealthy, driven by the demands of the Republican donor base, and stuffed with targeted favors for insiders with lobbyists. Many more are sure to surface. The more they talk about it, the more Democrats can drive home the message that Trump’s economic populism was a fraud.

In the 2020 campaign, Democrats are inevitably going to propose new social spending. Reporters are inevitably going to ask them how they plan to pay for it. Republicans have given them an easy answer: Repeal the Trump tax cuts for the rich.

The architects of the Trump tax cuts have dreamed of reshaping the tax code in a permanent way. Permanence means more than the technical absence of an expiration date. It has stood for the party’s ambition to leverage the Trump administration and their control of government into something deeper. “Once in a generation or so, there is an opportunity to do something transformational — something that will have a truly lasting impact long after we are gone,” Paul Ryan declared earlier this year. “That moment is here and we are going to meet it. Ladies and gentlemen, we are going to fix this nation’s tax code once and for all.”

Their “fix” is a cash grab. It is “permanent” only until Democrats regain control of government. And thanks to the Trump tax cuts, that day will come sooner. your social media marketing partner


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+23 # jimbeama 2017-12-04 10:15
This is a Republican tax cut. Calling it a tRump tax cut diminishes their responsibility. This tax rip off of the lower and middle class is the Republican's. Republicans brought us tRump. He is their figurehead and rubber stamp. If tRump were gone the Republican congress will continue to push to destroy the structures put in place over decades to make life better for all. This myopic focus on tRump as if he is doing anything distracts us from the swamp from which he crawled.
+13 # librarian1984 2017-12-04 13:37
Sen. Tim Kaine made an interesting statement. He said Trump is irrelevant to this tax bill, that he had zero input and would sign anything they put in front of him because he won't even read it and he's desperate for a win. He said it with just the right amount of snark too.

If Trump weren't there the same bill would be shoved down our throats, and when he's gone we'll still have McConnell and Ryan et al. I worry the left will go back to sleep when Trump's gone, though I too am tired of his antics.
0 # lfeuille 2017-12-04 20:45
If Trump wasn't there it would be vetoed.
0 # librarian1984 2017-12-05 20:44
By who, Pence? Clinton? Doubt either one would veto it.
0 # ericlipps 2017-12-17 11:49
Clinton might have. Pence would never have been in line for the presidency if Trump hadn't gotten to the White House.
+15 # PCPrincess 2017-12-04 10:42
I have very little faith in the current brand of Democrats. Unless, and until, we, the voters, PUSH out the 'Republican-Lit e' members of the Democratic party, they will continue to 'give in' on every issue, including the tax bill, so long as they continue on their gravy train.

It is IMPERATIVE that voters make ETHICS their top priority when choosing whom to elect. In fact, voters should NOT listen to what a politician says, unless, it can be combined with a proven track record of progressive actions and ideals. Using this methodology, there are very few seated representatives and senators who should remain in office; they should be replaced with new faces that can pass the ethics test.
+1 # Robbee 2017-12-04 11:45
Quoting librarian1984 2017-12-03 17:14:
How about we DEMAND that any Democrat who wants our vote has to agree to rollback this horrible bill in every way possible.

- here's what robbee wants bernie and dem senators to do - refuse to raise the debt limit until -

1. tax reform does not change any income tax brackets or the corporate or estate taxes

it seems to me that income and wealth taxes are gushing income and wealth to the 1%

if dems are serious about their objections to the tax bill, that it accelerates the flow of wealth to the top, and away from workers in and below the middle class, dems should force conservatives, including those who promise not to raise national debt, saying we can't afford it, to admit that raising national debt is not a deal-breaker, or else derail tax deform

whaddaya say, bernie?
+1 # Caliban 2017-12-05 01:56
First, the Democrats need to get majorities in the House and Senate. Until then all such (pretty) obvious proposals as the above are useless.

To make that happen we must not only vote Democratic but work Democratic. Everybody reading RSN has a local Democratic party, and that's where newcomers to the process should start.

Hey -- it might not hurt to think about running for office: town council, school board, county commission are all great starting plces. In any case, it's time to get beyond online complaining.
+18 # librarian1984 2017-12-04 11:54
Sen. Chuck Grassley, defending repeal of the estate tax: "Not having the estate tax recognizes the people that are investing as opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it's on booze or women or movies."

Sen. Orrin Hatch, on the Senate floor debating the GOP tax plan, which gives billions to the rich, about CHIP, the program for children's insurance whose funding they allowed to expire two months ago: "I have a rough time wanting to spend bilions and billions and trillions of dollars to help people who won't help themselves, who won't lift a finger and expect the federal government to do everything .. The liberal philosophy has created millions of people that way."

I guess now we know how the GOP sleeps at night. They are filled with contempt for the unrich, even children. Isn't this how slave owners used to think about their 'property' -- that they didn't deserve an education, couldn't be trusted with money? While consumer spending, two-thirds of the economy, is less important than pushing papers around.

We have to demand that Democrats, when returned to power, repeal all provisions of this GOP tax bill, written by sociopaths.
+7 # RMF 2017-12-04 12:46
Would it not have been better to stop this "sociopathic tax bill" in it's tracks, before it ever saw the light of day and became law.

Had the progressive community responded with full voting support for the Dem campaign when it was critically needed, the GOP would have not gotten such a monstrosity of a tax bill past a Dem presidential veto.

And undoing the GOP tax bill may not be so easy, as the GOP can be relied upon to filibuster any repeal effort, and may even change the reconciliation rules in advance of ceding power to a Dem majority.
+3 # librarian1984 2017-12-04 14:47
I'm waiting for you to blame progressives for your clogged toilet. It's stale. It's flawed.

I voted you up by mistake. Subtract two.
0 # Diane_Wilkinson_Trefethen_aka_tref 2017-12-09 15:45
Quoting RMF:
And undoing the GOP tax bill may not be so easy, as the GOP can be relied upon to filibuster any repeal effort, and may even change the reconciliation rules in advance of ceding power to a Dem majority.
Actually, NO Congress can set the rules for a subsequent Congress. So scratch the Republicans being able to change reconciliation rules. As to filibustering, now that McConnell has continued the nuclear option, Democrats are under NO moral obligation to refrain from doing the same thing.
0 # librarian1984 2017-12-05 20:48
Talked to a friend and mentioned this quote. When I heard it I was very conscious of the contempt Grassley exhibits. She had another take -- the hypocrisy. She goes, 'What does he think those rich guys getting the tax cuts are going to do with it?'

Great point.
+8 # Elroys 2017-12-04 11:57
So good to see this piece. I've had similar thoughts so good to see here. Also, since Trump was so easily able to begin dismantling EPA, State Dept., Dept. of Energy - is there any reason to believe that they cannot be rebuilt fairly quickly (recognizing all depts. will lose some senior folks who are tough to replace immediately). However, it also makes room for some young, fearless and innovative thinkers to rise up in ranks fairly quickly with the right leadership.
Yes - Trump is clearly sewing his own seeds of self-immolation (please continue, Donald). The greater his insanity (except for war) the more easily people will see through his small and corrupt mind and reject him and his kind in short order. Let's hope so anyway
+7 # PaineRad 2017-12-04 14:58
Fat chance! Democrats have NEVER repealed GOP catastrophes. At most they have only nibbled around the edges. Clinton added a 10% surcharge to Reagan's 50+% top marginal tax cut. Democrats installed a far milder estate tax after W eliminated it and procedure would have reinstated the old one. PATCO still non-existent. Corporate tax revenues have steadily declined since the '50s. Most Dems are talking about cutting corporate tax rates further. Incomes have remained stagnant since 1973. Main Street is still in recession as millions still out of work or working for far less income than before. Exports to S Korea stagnant while imports up significantly. NAFTA, CAFTA, Andean trade deals supported by lots of Dems.

I call "Bull Shit." The public has been far to the left of almost every single congressional Dem for decades. It's time for the Dems to give voters candidates that actually represent their values and wishes. The only solution is to elect progressive Dems EVERYWHERE, including (in the Senate) Feinstein's seat, Heitkamp's seat, Manchin's seat, Donnelly's seat, McCaskill's seat, Klobuchar's seat, Bennett's seat, Cantwell's seat, etc.
0 # Diane_Wilkinson_Trefethen_aka_tref 2017-12-04 16:29
Quoting PaineRad:
It's time for the Dems to give voters candidates that actually represent their values and wishes. The only solution is to elect progressive Dems EVERYWHERE
This thinking is part of the problem with Democrats. If we wait for the party to give us solid, progressive candidates, we'll be still sitting around twiddling our thumbs in 2100.

Don't WAIT to be GIVEN good candidates. Run yourself and BE a good candidate!
0 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2017-12-04 18:52
What this article says might come true if the Demo party were interested in reforming itself and becoming a progressive or democratic socialist party. Right now, the chief goal of the party leaders seems to be keeping themselves in power and on the gravy train. These Demos will do what the billionaires who pay them tell them to do.

Someday this Demo party will rot from the head down. Then a new progressive/dem ocratic socialist party can emerge and enact real tax reform.
0 # librarian1984 2017-12-05 20:53
We need four parties. Both parties are torn apart by their strange alliance. Independents, if united, could defeat both of them, but what can unite conservative, moderates and progressive Independents .. money out of politics? Healthcare? Jobs? Peace? Wealth inequality?
+6 # relegn 2017-12-05 07:33
Repealing d.trump's and the Republican Party's tax cuts would be fine as a political win but not enough to really be effective in helping the overall economy and the rising wealth divide. One way to do so is a dramatic increase in the top marginal tax rate. Revenue for social programs can be found in raising the top marginal tax rate from 39.5% (under Obama) to 70% as it was from 1965-1980. Raising the tax rate on large estates would help disperse wealth concentration. Adjusting revenue by small measures is no longer going to get Democrats elected.
-5 # Old School Conservative 2017-12-06 06:15
Repealing the proposed tax plan would cut the standard deduction and the child tax credit in half which would disproportionat ely effect the poor and middle class. Heartless lefties. SHAME

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