The Republican Party is not a political party. It’s simply a machine that whips up voters’ grievances (usually racial) to elect politicians who do nothing other than ensure that the rich keep getting richer while the rest of us get poorer. It’s their only priority. They could care less about you or I, as we are simply impediments to their goal of turning America into the uber corporatist playground of Republican wet dreams. The party of “small government” religiously believes in too big to fail capitalism, proving that Republicans in Congress have no guiding principles, and they simply sell their souls to the highest bidder.
Paul Ryan, who has forever stapled his reputation to Donald Trump’s, told CBS’s Face the Nation that “the entire purpose of this is to lower middle-class taxes. So yes, people are going to get tax cuts. How big are those tax cuts? That depends on the individual.” Trump’s Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, pushed back against the litany of budget wonks who have crunched the numbers and deduced that this is just one big giveaway to the rich, saying on ABC’s This Week: “I just don’t think that’s the case. As we’ve talked about, changes in the top bracket are offset with elimination of almost every single type of deduction.”
Despite Ryan and Mnuchin’s assertions that this entire push is about lowering taxes for the middle class, GOP Senator John Thune couldn’t commit to that.
Senator Lindsey Graham went even further, and spoke to the puppet masters behind the curtain.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office calculated that the House Republican tax plan would add $1.7 trillion to the national debt over the next decade. This tax plan is so cynical and cruel, that Republicans are even angering some of their core constituencies in this blind pursuit to hand more of the public's money to our corporate overlords. One of the ways they have figured out how to pay for this massive giveaway to the superrich is to kill the adoption tax credit, which is an idea so wildly unpopular that it has angered both LGBTQ and pro-life groups. It's further proof that the GOP only cares about their donor class, as this tax credit costs the government a paltry $355 million per year compared to the trillion(s) the entire plan will add to the debt.
Mallory Quigley of the pro-life organization Susan B. Anthony List said that “part of the pro-life message is promoting adoption as the loving option.” Republican Senator Ben Sasse—who came up through the religious right—tweeted his disdain for this move.
Other staunch conservatives have also voiced their opposition to this cruel idea which is specifically designed to discourage adoption in order to pay for billionaire's tax cuts.
Note: This all describes the House's tax plan, but there are reports that the Senate's version will not eliminate the adoption tax credit.
One of the ways that Republicans always try to sell their fraudulent tax plans is to say that they will create economic growth that just isn't possible. This time is even more egregious, which has led some Republicans to jump ship thanks to the massive increase in the debt this will create. Per The Washington Post:
Even some Republicans say that kind of growth is unlikely. Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said he is cautious about the growth estimates that leaders have discussed. He said he is eager to begin a serious tax discussion, but he insisted that he will not vote for any bill that adds “one penny to the deficit.”
“I am not going to be for it, okay?” Corker said on NBC's “Meet the Press.” “ I'm sorry. It is the greatest threat to our nation.”
Trump's chief economic advisor, Gary Cohn, gave away the entire game in an interview with CNBC's John Harwood, calling this “trickle-down economics”—which by definition, means that the tax plan is a giveaway to the rich. The GOP has been selling this fraudulent economic theory since the 1980s, and wages have stagnated despite productivity continuing to rise. Even if we give the GOP the benefit of the doubt and assume that their incorrect view of economics is how things actually work, it's taken far too long for that money to trickle down from our corporate masters to the rest of us, and the trend is getting worse.
If that wasn't enough of a hint as to what this tax plan is really about, Cohn completely let the cat out of the bag, saying that “the most excited group out there are big CEOs about our tax plan.” Providing further evidence for his assertion, The Washington Post calculated that over 500 Trump entities would receive a big tax break in this bill. The Republicans touted the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center's initial analysis of the plan, but the TPC went back and revised their figures after finding an error in their calculations, and they reached the same conclusion that all other tax wonks have come to.
So to recap: the GOP is touting this as a middle class tax plan, but one of its top Senators won’t commit to promising that it will cut middle class taxes, it adds over a trillion dollars to the debt, gives the top 0.1% an absolutely massive tax cut, which is partially paid for by cutting tax benefits for couples who adopt children. The only way this could get more cartoonishly evil is if they burned down an orphanage and built a golden throne for the Koch brothers atop its ashes.
The silver lining in all this is that people are beginning to wise up to the Republican Party’s perpetual fraud—as 50% of Americans oppose the plan, and 60% believe it favors the wealthy. People are getting smarter, which is bad news for the Republican Party—whose entire platform requires their voters to not understand the issues. The whole point of the Republican Party’s existence is to gin up racial animosity amongst white people so they vote for politicians who will enact hyper-corporatist policies which would never be able to win an election on their own merits, and this cynical tax plan is a fitting end to a year in which the party has openly embraced white nationalism as a central plank of their inherently evil political platform.
Jacob Weindling is a staff writer for Paste politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.