Speaker of the House Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) is pushing hard to get another misguided and harmful tax cut passed in the next few months. For some reason he thinks this will fire up the Republican base of voters and will make it more likely that Republican candidates will win elections this year.
But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) doesn’t want to have a vote on another tax cut bill, and is being pressured to stop a vote from happening.
If there is a tax cut bill, and if Democratic Party Senate candidates vote for it, Republican strategists say that this will make the Democrats look good. And that is the last thing McConnell wants to do. He is using every sneaky trick possible to hurt Democrats and make them look bad.
The strategists’ thinking goes like this: If the Democratic Senate candidates in red states (like Montana and West Virginia) are able to cast their votes for more tax cuts, then the Republican campaign strategy will fall apart. They think that the GOP’s best line of attack in conservative states is this: Democrats voted against a big tax cut last December and therefore they should not be re-elected.
“That’s a very serious concern, and Senator McConnell is going to have to decide what happens in the Senate,” said Ryan Ellis, senior tax adviser with the conservative Family Business Coalition.
This contentious Republican debate in Congress illustrates the extent to which the tax bill passed in December has not become the great campaign asset that most Republicans said it would be.
The Republicans’ so-called “signature achievement” of giving huge tax breaks to corporations and the nation’s super rich was forced upon an unwilling American public without any debate or hearings. And now this horrible tax law has crashed and burned — it is not doing what it was supposed to do to help the GOP.
Americans have now been collecting paychecks for more than two months since the tax bill went into effect, and most people still don’t like it. The meager benefits showing up in paychecks (if people even notice them) have been minuscule compared to wage stagnation and skyrocketing healthcare costs.
The most recent poll on the legislation is very bad news for the GOP. The NBC News and The Wall Street Journal poll shows that the tax bill is getting more unpopular as time goes on. Only 27 percent of Americans call the legislation a “good idea,” and 36 percent say it is a “bad one.”
On top of that, just 39 percent of the public expects the tax cuts to have a “positive impact” by strengthening the economy and growing jobs — while 53 percent foresee a negative impact from “higher deficits and disproportionate benefits for the wealthy and big corporations.”
The tax cut bill for billionaires is not only unpopular but is causing a rift between Ryan and McConnell, and this is the last thing they can afford before an election cycle that is proving very difficult for the GOP. If they don’t make the right decisions then their entire midterm election strategy will go down in flames, and Democrats will take over.
This will be bad news for the GOP, but good news for America. Hopefully it won’t be too late to undo the harm they have already caused our country.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.