Do Not Despair on the Tax Bill – Yet!

The tax bill that passed Friday night may be the most dangerous piece of legislation ever. The scoring by bipartisan experts and virtually all first-class economists agree. Remember the disastrous Smoot Haley trade protectionist legislation in 1933? It was opposed by thousands of economists but passed anyway, leading to the worst depression EVER!


The idea of passing a 500-page bill before it is even completely printed is in itself beyond comprehension and ought to be illegal. The Constitution is silent on that front. But IF they had addressed such a need, the Founders would surely have required enough time for members to see AND KNOW what they were voting on. A detail yes, BUT may turn out to be important.


One thing that possibly could excuse the rush is that everyone knew that this was NOT the LAST vote. That will come after the bill goes through the House and Senate conference committee reconciliation process.


That is where the last hope lies.


Congress operates in its own bizarre ways and there is a lot of “tap dancing” to get from here to there. Remember: members’ FIRST and last thought before voting will be “How does this affect my reelection?”


Take for example Susan Collins of Maine. She had been thinking straight and spoke against the bill based on broad sound deficit reasoning. Suddenly, she asked for relief for the first $10,000 of real estate taxes. When she got her wish, they got her vote. BUT AFTER the reconciliation process, she will hopefully change her mind back to NO. Her constituents will appreciate her even more for her help with their real estate taxes, etc. Her Republican colleagues surely will appreciate her “help”.  AND, when the final reconciled bill loses with her NO (along with McCain, Johnson, Flake and Corker) those constituents will realize their tax position remains protected under current law and at the same time she will have helped saved us all from an economic disaster much worse than the loss of a tax deduction.


I do not know the McCain, Flake, Johnson and Corker stories well enough to walk you through their possible fancy dancing. But I have no doubt there are similarities.


To make all this even more upsetting, the Senate’s rushed vote came on the same day that Trump’s tenure surely started seriously downhill. Now Flynn’s plea opens up Trump to a clear and convincing charge of obstruction of justice. The end of his Presidency just might be coming faster than most expected. As such, the Republican Congressional leadership is RUSHING to get their long dreamed of tax goodies before their whole political world blows up.


We should redouble all efforts to kill this bill (which incidentally I believe will in fact reduce my taxes) because I am more concerned with a sound economy than lower taxes for myself or any other well off taxpayers.


Therefore do not despair yet but keep up the fight!



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