Thursday, April 19, 2018

How Badly Will The Republican Tax Scam Hurt The GOP In The Midterms?


In Pennsylvania an ungerrymandered congressional map spelled doom and gloom for the GOP. That's why, at least in part, Charlie Dent, Ryan Costello, Bill Shuster and Pat Meehan all announced early retirements and why Brian Fitzpatrick, Rothfus and Mike Kelly still may (or wish they did). The PVIs of these districts changed significantly enough to drive these Republicans out of office. Costello's old district went from an R+2 to a D+2. Meehan's went from a R+1 to a D+13. Dent's went from an R+4 to a D+1. Fitzpatrick's went from R+2 to R+1. Scott Perry's went from an R+11 to an R+6. And Rothfus' went from an R+11 to an R+3.

Yesterday Muhlenberg College and Morning Call released a new poll of Pennsylvania voters that indicates as choppy seas for Republicans as Republican incumbents suspected. Trump's numbers are in the toilet; only 39% of respondents approve of the way he is doing his job. And only 12% approve off the way the Republican-controlled Congress it doing its job. At the top of the state's ticket-- Governor Tom Wolf and Senator Bob Casey are both way ahead of all their potential GOP opponents.

Asked "If the elections for Congress were being held today, which party's candidate would you vote for?" The Democrats led 47% to 38%. At a Lincoln Day Republican dinner last weekend, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker told the crowd that "The wind’s not at our back. It’s not at our side. It is firmly in our face. This election is going to be tougher than any one I have been involved with, including the recall... My number-one concern for almost a year has been complacency, not just of [GOP] voters but even of activists"

And, back in Pennsylvania, when the pollsters asked "Do you approve or disapprove of the tax reform law that was passed by Congress and signed by the President in December," only 39% approved and 46% disapproved. Those results very much fit with the results of a new national Gallup poll released this week. 39% approve of the Trump-GOP tax law and 52% disapproved.

More Americans realize the tax bill was a scam, "showering the wealthy with deficit-financed tax breaks, while leaving workers and the American middle class behind."
It makes sense that Americans continue to hold a negative view of the bill. For one, the overwhelming majority of the benefits are going to the already wealthy. In 2018, the richest 1 percent will see a tax break of more than $50,000, or almost $1,000 per week. The poorest 20 percent will see a mere $60 spread out over the course of the entire year, slightly more than $1 per week. Tax hikes will arrive for millions of Americans in the coming years, with some kicking in this year. For example, homeowners in Los Angeles will see a 30-year mortgage cost up to $76,000 more, thanks to new changes in the tax bill.

Republicans dismissed the concerns of critics, who warned their bill would primarily benefit corporations, not average Americans. As predicted, rich corporations are spending their Congressional kickbacks to enrich Wall Street through record-setting dividend payments and stock buybacks, not investing in workers.

According to USA Today, “it is the massive spending on dividends and share buybacks that critics pounce on, as this use of cash benefits the wealthy and company shareholders, rather than middle-class workers.” After all, the wealthiest 10 percent of households own an astounding 84 percent of all stocks owned by Americans, according to a New York University economist.

USA Today further reports that less than 10 percent of Fortune 500 companies gave bonuses to workers as a result of the tax bill. And the majority of workers say they have not seen any increase in their own paychecks. Speaker Paul Ryan once boasted about a secretary who will receive $1.50 extra per week. Six quarters is hardly the change Republicans promised.

Republicans claimed the bill would be a boon to small business. Instead, the unfair advantage given to wealthy corporations drew a quick rebuke from small business owners, who soured on a bill heaping even more advantages on the richest Americans, people who already have the most resources.

Claims that the deficit-financed boondoggle-- promoted as “rocket fuel” for the economy-- would lead to an abundance of new jobs and increasing wages for workers didn’t pan out either. The most recent jobs report from the Labor Department shows an economy performing largely as it did in years past. The economy continues to grow like it did under President Obama, except America is now saddled with more debt.

Thanks to a recent report, Americans now know 80 percent of gains from the tax bill are going offshore to foreign investors. In other words, the United States will borrow money to pay for an unpopular tax bill so that foreign investors can receive four out of every five dollars of economic gain. On top of that, there are provisions in the bill designed to incentivize corporations to outsource jobs and hide profits overseas to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.

The unpopularity of the tax bill isn’t only about its skewed rewards system. Massive changes to health care policy, which is leading to dramatic health care cost increases, is also an issue for the public.

In some parts of the country, health care premiums are estimated to increase by up to 94 percent in the next three years, mainly due to Republican-backed provisions in the tax bill. An estimated 13 million Americans will lose health insurance in the coming years.

And of course, the corporate kickbacks doled out are not free; Republicans in Congress decided to pay for the tax bill through a massive increase to the national deficit. It didn’t matter that Republicans like Ryan, who so loudly backed the bill, once called the nation’s debt and deficit the defining issue of the day. (“The facts are very, very clear,” he said in 2011, “the United States is headed towards a debt crisis.”)

Now, the Republicans’ tax scam is a major component in the nation’s additional $2.4 trillion deficit. The fiscal recklessness of the tax bill even threatens America’s credit rating.

The tax scam is so bad even Republicans struggle, and fail, when campaigning on its merits. In a recent Pennsylvania congressional special election, the bill was so unpopular Republicans stopped talking about it, pivoting instead to Trump-like race-baiting, anti-immigrant advertising. (In a district Trump won by 20 points, the Democratic challenger won.)
At the conservative, right-wing reporter David Drucker wrote that "Trump is undermining voter support for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act with erratic messaging after it was gaining popularity, alarming Republicans counting on the law to save the party’s vulnerable House majority. Senior Republicans are declining to publicly finger Trump for the heralded tax overhaul’s sagging approval ratings. Views of the law steadily climbed during the first two months of the year on the strength of a unified push from the White House and Capitol Hill ahead of the midterm. Privately, Republicans complain that the president’s sudden shift to tariffs, with threats of trade wars, distracted from the positive impacts of $1.3 trillion in tax cuts and allowed Democrats to regain the upper hand. Concluding that Trump is unreliable, Republicans say it’s their responsibility to turn public opinion around."
In a fresh NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey conducted jointly by Democratic and Republican pollsters, the law was underwater: 27 percent approved, 36 percent disapproved. Those results track with private data Republicans have monitored, sparking anxiety about their chances of surviving a tough November election with their House majority intact.

"Republicans have a lot of work in front of them to make sure people understand the benefits of the tax bill, and nobody is going to be driving this but them. They need to understand that it’s not just-- we’ve done this, let’s go on to the next thing,” said David Winston, a GOP pollster who advises House and Senate Republicans.

“The signature achievement for Congressional Republicans for this Congress will have been the tax bill-- no matter what else they do,” he added.
Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), who is retiring rather than continue working with Trump said he wouldn't campaign against the Democrat running for his seat in November. And yesterday he described the White House as being the center of "constant chaos," blasting Trump's spending bill as "grotesque, adding ominously, "This president, obviously, is not a president who’s interested in fiscal issues. Is this president a president who cares about the fiscal health of our nation? No. No." Voters-- even Republican voters-- aren't going to be happy about that.

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At 9:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No modern Republican president has given a damn about deficits. The bigger deficit the better for the Republican Party, so they can [falsely] claim that there's not enough money for anything but the military, for which there can never be such thing as too much money. Republican presidents run up deficits far larger than Democratic ones. The last president to balance the budget was Bill Clinton.

At 4:46 AM, Anonymous Hone said...

We all know anything can happen before the elections in November. ANYTHING. Trump will try to pull out a "win" with Un, which will surely up his ratings, but Mueller will present some new findings by then and Cohen may flip on Trump. Trump will very likely fire someone soon and try to shut down who knows what else - the press? The Republicans in Congress have shown their hand and are clearly now "all in" for Trump. They will do even more considerable damage to our country, with the likes of Nunes leading the charge.

Things will tip back and forth. Who knows which way they will fall? Fascism anyone? Democracy anyone? Sad to say, it's anyone's guess. No one can say for certain that DEMOCRACY will hold.

At 6:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In 1944 with WWII raging, FDR was approached with the idea of postponing the national elections. He refused, saying in effect that holding the election as normal (war conditions notwithstanding) was vital to demonstrating to the rest of the world that the will of the people was always the ultimate power of our nation.

But since then, the Republicans have taken total power over the Federal government and are not about to release it no matter what the will of the people. With Tyro Orange in power, who is to say that the nation will even have an election? If 9/11 happened on Trump's watch, he would have declared martial law and ruled indefinitely like the tyrant he clearly desires to be. With Mueller supposedly closing in on exposing Trump as the tool of the Mafiya, all he now needs is an excuse to eliminate the American system of corrupt governance and replace it with his own absolute corruption.

At 7:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

6:10 makes a salient point. And this polling continues to prove that americans are truly the dumbest motherfuckers in the "educated" world. 39% approval of that tax bill, as well as all tax bills since 1980, is too high by more than an order of magnitude.

But I'm most gratified that the author has finally realized what I've been pointing out since Reagan (emphasis mine):
"showering the wealthy with **deficit-financed** tax breaks"

At 3:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Despite all of the egregious actions taken by our domestic enemies, I'm sure that all of the Republican efforts to limit the will of the people will be successful and keep those ratfuckers in power.

At 4:08 PM, Blogger Elizabeth Burton said...

Hey, if trotting out that old chestnut about deficits flips Congress, all to the good—most people aren't interested in the details that the problem isn't the deficit but the reason for it. That is, a deficit that arises via channeling money into the economy actually has a positive effect, whereas the one the Republicans finally shoved through channels the money to the rich, taking it out of the economy.

Any respite that provides time for those of us who understand that to spread the word is welcome.

At 7:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

3:22, nearly half of the ratfuckers are democraps. Rs suppress and oppress voters in order to remain more than half of the ratfuckers. Ds are happy being ALMOST half of the ratfuckers as long as they can still get paid.

When they were over half, in 2009, they were still ratfuckers.


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