There’s No Reform in the Republican Tax Reform Bill

Matt Yglesias writes today that, to the extent tax cuts have any effect at all, it’s only if people think they’re permanent. But with political polarization so strong, there’s no way that anyone can believe a tax change passed on a party-line vote is likely to last:

These days, nobody likes preachy blue-ribbon commissions, and bipartisanship is a total nonstarter in Congress. But if you actually want to generate supply-side tax effects, you need to create an expectation of permanence. And bipartisanship seems like one of the only plausible ways to accomplish that.

This gets at my biggest gripe about the Republican tax bill. If they had truly wanted to pass corporate tax reform—of the kind passed in 1986—they could have gotten plenty of Democrats on board. Then there would have been no need to worry about all the weird reconciliation rules and no need to worry that it might get reversed a few minutes after Democrats are next in power. That’s because actual reform really is pretty bipartisan, and there are plenty of Democrats willing to look at ways to simplify the corporate code, close special loopholes and subsidies, and then lower rates.

But that was never what Republicans wanted to do. They like to call their plan a “sweeping” tax reform, but it’s not. It’s just a hodgepodge of changes designed to reduce corporate taxes—which are already among the lowest in the world—and act as a vehicle for a few other Republican hobbyhorses, like reducing the estate tax and killing the Obamacare mandate. It’s a nice payoff for corporations and the rich, but that’s it. There’s barely a paragraph of genuine reform in the whole thing.

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Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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