Tax “Overhaul” Bill Passes Congress →

Dami­an Paletta and Jeff Stein re­port­ing for The Wash­ing­ton Post:

Con­gress on Wed­nes­day passed the most sig­ni­fic­ant over­haul of the U.S. tax code in 30 years, de­liv­er­ing a land­mark le­gis­lat­ive vic­tory to Pres­id­ent Trump and the Re­pub­lic­ans that had once seemed im­possible for the frac­tured party.

The sweep­ing meas­ure im­prints a clear con­ser­vat­ive vis­ion on the tax code that will af­fect nearly every house­hold and busi­ness. Cor­por­a­tions will see a massive tax cut, while most Amer­ic­ans will see tem­por­ary sav­ings of vari­ous sizes. And in a move that may prove polit­ic­ally per­il­ous, Re­pub­lic­ans de­livered the biggest gains to the wealthy.

I do have to take is­sue with some of the char­ac­ter­iz­a­tions of this bill in that art­icle. The idea that this bill is an “over­haul” and “im­prints a clear con­ser­vat­ive vis­ion on the tax code” is a com­plete farce. First and fore­most, there is ab­so­lutely, pos­it­ively noth­ing that is clear about this bill:

The pas­sage kicks off an in­tense peri­od of un­cer­tainty for con­sumers and busi­nesses as both scramble to un­der­stand the changes[…]

Second, this bill does noth­ing to real­ize the vis­ion con­ser­vat­ives have talked about for dec­ades with re­spect to taxes: “A tax sys­tem so simple, your tax re­turn would fit on a post­card.” If any­thing, this bill makes the tax sys­tem more com­plic­ated, not less.

The bill is also deeply un­pop­u­lar. It’s al­most as if the Re­pub­lic­ans are resigned to los­ing in a big way in the 2018 elec­tions and are just try­ing to line their pock­ets be­fore they go.