Taxes

Trump is Laying the Groundwork for His Next Big Failure

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

With healthcare in the rear-view mirror, Congressional Republicans and the Trump regime are expected to tackle "tax reform" (read: tax cuts for the rich) but there are already signs that everything won't go according to plan.

A handful of relatively moderate Republicans came out against Paul Ryan's Trumpcare bill because it went too far, but a far more significant number of members of the Freedom Caucus opposed the bill because it didn't go far enough.

The bill could have passed if the Freedom Caucus supported it even if the moderates opposed it due to their greater numbers but, in typical Trump fashion, Trump has managed to make an enemy out of both factions.

Trump is preemptively blaming moderates for killing tax reform and also threatening to ignore the Freedom Caucus.

When Lehigh Valley Congressman Charlie Dent and other House moderates met with President Trump about the faltering Obamacare repeal bill on Thursday, Trump reportedly was not happy to hear that the Pennsylvania lawmaker intended to vote "no." [...]

Trump then "angrily informed Dent that he was 'destroying the Republican Party' and 'was going to take down tax reform — and I’m going to blame you,'" the newspaper reported.

More:

Fresh off a defeat on U.S. healthcare legislation, the White House warned rebellious conservative lawmakers that they should get behind President Donald Trump's agenda or he may bypass them on future legislative fights, including tax reform.

The threat by White House chief of staff Reince Priebus to build a broad coalition on tax reform that could include moderate Democrats came as the Republican head of the tax-writing committee in the House of Representatives said he hoped to move a tax bill through his panel this spring.

The idea that congressional Democrats will help pass a tax cut package crafted by Speaker Paul Ryan and endorsed by Trump is a goddamn fantasy. There's virtually no chance Paul Ryan will propose anything less than an utterly irresponsible package of tax cuts for corporations and the rich.

We already know what Paul Ryan's tax cut package is going to look like because he's been fucking that chicken since at least 2010. And things have become even more complicated for him because his previous tax cut proposals were largely paid for by cutting healthcare, but that's no longer an option.

If paying for his tax cuts by cutting hundreds of billions of dollars in healthcare spending is no longer an option, Paul Ryan will be forced call for cutting other areas of the government that Democrats and even some Republicans will not support.

The only other option for Republicans is to stop pretending they care about deficits and pass deficit-financed tax cuts (like the Bush Tax Cuts) in which case Democrats will shred them for it.

There are a million and one things that could complicate the GOP's agenda even without Trump's meddling. He increases their chance of failure exponentially.

Everything Trump touches turns to shit.

  • waspuppet

    I wish I could share the optimism about tax cuts for billionaires being doomed, but I don’t see it. Unlike the That N!%%@r Was Never Really President Act, also known as the AHCA, no one ever promised anything specific regarding tax cuts for billionaires. I’m sure the House “Freedom” Caucus wants the billionaires’ tax bracket cut to about 20 percent, but if the votes are only there to cut it to 25 percent they’ll go along and try again later.

    • ninjaf

      I wouldn’t be so sure about that. The Freedom Caucus has shown that time and again that they will not compromise on principles, even if it means getting 90% of what they want.

  • muselet

    IF TRUMP FAILS TO CHARM YOU OR INTIMIDATE YOU, HE HAS NO PLAN B, according to Steve M. at No More Mister Nice Blog. Basically, as a negotiator, Donald Trump is about as much use as a chocolate teapot.

    Says John Cole at Balloon Juice says the Freedumb Caucus is unimpressed by Trump’s enforcer:

    Steve Bannon may think he is the Sith lord, but the Freedom caucus looked at him and saw … [a] fat retirement age alcoholic in rumpled clothes stinking of yesterday’s gin with bloodshot eyes, a mean streak a mile wide, who has one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel.

    (I’ll spare you all the photo Cole provided of Steve Bannon looking like … well … like the description above. You’re welcome.)

    I don’t think Paul Ryan can count on much help from the White House in the tax reform fight. Since Trump already blamed Ryan (and the Freedumb Caucus and the Ds and merely center-Right Rs and sunspots) for the collapse of RepubliCare, Ryan probably didn’t have high hopes on that count, anyway. Also, since the Rs appear to have used up their one reconciliation go for the year (only one is allowed per year, and the Rs officially announced that they’d use it to destroy the American healthcare system), funneling yet more money upward is even harder.

    That’s not to say Ryan will give up on rewriting the tax code—it’s why the man lives and breathes—just that nobody has any influence to bring to bear on the process. As a result, the Rs may go 0-for-2 on Big Stuff.

    However, I don’t like having to rely on the top-to-bottom incompetence of the Rs. It feels unsustainable, like trying to balance on a two-legged stool. (And if any Ds throw the Rs a lifeline instead of a boat anchor, speaking strictly metaphorically, I’ll be mighty peeved.)

    –alopecia