Tax Reform or Tax Perversion?


The Senate Republican tax bill is now so bastardized one cannot properly call it "reform." I propose starting all over.

Moments ago, the Senate Finance Committee Voted 11-10 to Approve Senate Tax Plan.

Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Bob Corker of Tennessee resolved their differences.

The positions of Johnson and Bob Corker were at odds. Johnson wants to lower pass-through taxes for small businesses, which will add to the deficit.

“My primary issue is pass-throughs,” Mr. Johnson said. “The good news is everybody agrees it’s a problem, it has to be fixed. I just keep getting assurances it’s going to be fixed, I just want to see how.”

Johnson has assurances the problem will be fixed. How? Not even he knows.

Mr. Corker, a deficit hawk, wants some kind of mechanism to be added to the legislation that would kick in if projected economic growth from the tax rewrite does not end up materializing.

“I think we’ve come to a pretty acceptable place, from my standpoint,” said Corker.

Corker has assurances his problem will be fixed. How? By a mechanism that will never see the light of day.

Senate Hurdle

The next hurdle comes in the full Senate.

Senators Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) , Susan Collins (Maine), John McCain (Arizona), and Jeff Flake (Arizona) all have reservations.

Collins opposes Two Tax Cuts for the Wealthy. Collins will also get the state income tax deductions she wants, and that will add to the deficit.

Last month, Retiring Sen. Corker Warns GOP He Could Oppose Tax Plan regarding the deficit.

"Unless it reduces deficits — let me say that one more time — unless it reduces deficits and does not add to deficits with reasonable and responsible growth models, and unless we can make it permanent, I don't have any interest in it," said Corker.

McCain wants more military spending. That's at odds with Corker. It won't matter. McCain will get more military spending to buy his vote.

Apparently, Corker will be happy with a mechanism that won't do a damn thing.

Seven Senators Express Reservations

Please consider Which Republican Senators Might Oppose the Tax Bill, and Why.

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With a 52-48 senate lead, Republicans can afford to lose at most two votes.

Johnson and Corker are now happy, at least enough for the bill to pass the finance committee.

Republican senator, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska also has reservations. She was bought out with legislation that would open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to oil and gas drilling.

Bill Will Add to the Deficit

Without a doubt, the bill will add to the deficit, and likely substantially after McCain gets his defense spending buy-in.

Tax cuts? Where? When?

The bill is supposed to be a middle-class tax cut. Where? Let's consider what the non-partisan Joint Committee on Taxation says.

2019 Tax Impact

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Hooray! Everyone wins.

2021 Tax Impact

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If you make between 10,000 and 30,000, your taxes go up. Everyone else wins.

2023 Impact

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If you make $40,000 or more you win. If not you lose.

2027 Impact

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By 2027, only those making more than $100,000 a year gain from reform.

Reform or Perversion?

The Washington Post summarized things similarly.

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The tax bill does not simplify things, it does not cut taxes for a huge swath of the middle class, and by 2027 it raises taxes on the poor while increasing the deficit.

By no perverted stretch of the imagination can one call this monstrosity "tax reform."

I propose starting over.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (7)
No. 1-7

It's "tax reform" in the same vein as the Wars on Poverty and drugs; the "Affordable" Care act; the various programs to make education and housing affordable etc., etc...

IOW, it’s another program by an institution that has done not one single thing of value in the entire history of their existence. Literally. Not one. And I’m not exaggerating.


Why they're combining "tax reform" with (much needed) corporate rate cuts is puzzling. Republicans don't have the leeway to pass genuine simplification. A reduction in the corporate rate to 25% combined with throwing a bone to the middle class, perhaps by reducing the 15% bracket to 12%, could have passed easy and even picked up a few moderate Dems. Maybe Roy Moore will be the savior. If the Dems pick up Alabama, it will only take one other Republican besides McCain to derail this mess, forcing them to start over.


I think it will derail maybe it should. Like I really car about saving 2% on my federal taxes when it adds to our federal deficit and won't do what it promises. I say they recess and do nothing.


the GOPe will not be rewarded for this joke of a bill... voters see straight through the charade. neither party has the gonads to truly govern or lead... both would rather manage the country's decline for the sake of their own personal golden parachutes...


All cutting corporate taxes will do is increase stock buybacks. It will help the dow, but won't help the economy at all and it will make the budget far worse. I would actually be more in favor of the FED QEing equities into their portfolio. At least the fat cats wouldn't make out like bandits. Not as much.


It is just so strange that the tax cuts goes to those who are actually paying income taxes and not going to those who don't. Man who would have ever thought that. And for the Republican senators who care about the deficit and can't see to figure out how to cut spending, I say instead let's raise taxes instead. I know that is why I voted for them.


Actually, 'conservatives' Rubio & Lee are pushing for even more 'refundable credits'. i.e. WELFARE.

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