A majority of Americans disapprove of the Republican tax plan. Polling on the various plans has been relatively consistent and today's Monmouth Poll is yet another example:
Americans disapprove of the tax reform plan currently making its way through Congress by a nearly 2-to-1 margin. Half the public believe their own taxes would go up under this plan and a plurality would like to see Congress scrap the current effort and start fresh in 2018.
Both our local "newspapers" are doing their best to convince us otherwise including the News-Register editing out the plan's unpopularity from an AP story last week. To that end, both papers editorialized in favor of the tax plan today and both used the type of fallacious argument that Mike Myer frequently uses: straw man. Its "giving the impression of refuting an opponent's argument, while refuting an argument that was not presented by that opponent" as Wikipedia defines it. The morning editorial argued:
Critics of the plan rest their case on two claims:
First, that enactment of the bill would “explode” the national debt. Even if it does not create new federal revenue by expanding the economy, the proposal is “scored” at costing the Treasury about $1.5 trillion.
It is strange indeed that most of those worried about increasing the debt by letting Americans keep some of our own money in our pockets had few qualms about truly exploding it during the past 12 years, to grow government. During former President Barack Obama’s tenure alone, the debt grew by $9.4 trillion. It now stands at $20.6 trillion.
No, what the critics charge is that this bill's explosion in the national debt will trigger major cuts to important social programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security (Please see here.) And what is actually "strange" is that the dangers connected with "increasing the national debt" were a frequent Ogden paper editorial obsession during the Obama years. I guess it's okay if it's done by the Republicans.
Another claim by critics is that tax reform will help only the rich.
And similarly, here's the afternoon editorial (no link available):
Big-government lawmakers who favor no tax relief for anyone have cloaked their opposition in claims the current plan would help only the rich.
That simply is not true.
It's the same straw man -- no one is saying that it "will help only the rich." The critics and apparently a majority of Americans believe that most of the benefits will go to the rich which is what most of those who studied the plan have found. Add to that group, the Tax Policy Center which, according to Business Insider concluded earlier today:
A new analysis of the GOP tax bill, released just 24 hours before a final vote is expected to take place on the bill in the House, showed that majority of the benefit from the plan would go to the wealthiest Americans.
And then there is this from the International Business Times:
When the U.S. Senate takes up the final tax bill this week, more than a quarter of all GOP senators will be voting on a bill that includes a special provision that could give them a new tax cut through their real estate shell companies, according to federal records reviewed by International Business Times.
The provision was not in the original bill passed by the Senate on Dec. 1. It was embedded in the final bill by Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, who is among the lawmakers that stand to personally benefit from the provision. . . .
In all, 14 Republican senators hold financial interests in 26 income-generating real-estate partnerships — worth as much as $105 million in total. Those holdings together produced between $2.4 million and $14.1 million in rent and interest income in 2016, according to federal records.
Among those is Senator Corker who recently switched his vote to support the legislation:
In response to IBT’s reporting, Republican Sen. Bob Corker, who owns up to $35 million in “pass-through” real-estate interests, claimed he did not know of the carve-out when he announced his support for the legislation on Friday, after previously casting the only Republican vote against the bill in the Senate, which did not then include the provision.
As Vietnam-era folksinger Phil Ochs used to say: "Thank God for coincidence."