House And Senate Pass GOP Tax Bill
In a party-line vote on December the 19th, just in time for Christmas, the Republican majority in Congress passed the largest overhaul of the American tax code since the Reagan administration. The House voted first, with a 223-207 vote in support of the legislation. Due thereafter to 3 technicalities preventing its passage, the House re-cast its vote on the next day. Albeit the bill nonetheless reached the Senate, where it was likewise passed along party lines.
One substantial aspect of the GOP tax bill is the "stealth repeal of Obamacare", as Politico reported it, via the termination of the individual mandate, the stabilizing factor of the ACA. While millions of Americans would hypothetically lose their health care coverage to subsidize tax cuts for top income earners and corporations, Sen. Orrin Hatch ascended the Senate floor to beg the virtues of bipartisanship, and beckon the wonder of the lack of support from Democrats in why they hadn't supported the obvious harbinger of economic inequality. He remained largely unchallenged. Another glaring feature of the bill is that the the "corporate tax rate" will be reduced from the current 35% to 21%. Those corporate tax reductions are permanent, as Democratic Senators and pundits have exuberantly reiterated,
"Today marks a great victory for the very wealth campaign contributors... and the largest and most profitable corporations" - Sen. Sanders
Sen. Bernie Sanders ascended the Senate floor to soundly condemn the bill, pointing out the "victory for wealthy campaign contributors", who had made "investments" in the campaigns representing their best interests.
Reminiscent of the "trickle-down economics" theory, Trump posted a message supportive of the legislation. He attacked the "defeated dems", and concluded his message with "jobs jobs jobs". Trump seams to have reversed a previous position, where he stated in an interview that "historically, the economy does better under Democrats than under Republicans".
Democrats in Congress seek to "pin" this legislation on the GOP, which has been cemented in the party-line vote cast in both the House and Senate. The GOP seems likewise willing to except said pinning, with House Speaker Paul Ryan defending the bill, claiming that the bill will become popular after Americans observe the effects. The decision is critical, not simply in the political and economic moment, but particularly in light of the impending mid-term elections, where it seems both political parties will champion the results to propel them to victory. The challenge however, may be how third party candidates might utilize these foundational economic issues to force their way into recognition in a political environment where outside voices are already suppressed, and where the democrats are gifted the opportunity yet again to appear to be the "good guys" in a 2 player power struggle.