The Republican Party has long billed itself as being for family values, for the dignity of work, for lower taxes, and (at least, as the minority party) for balanced budgets.
The House GOP tax bill cuts against all of these positions.
It would raise taxes on about one-third of the middle class by 2027. By eliminating the estate tax, it would benefit heirs of large estates, even if they don’t work a day in their life. Meanwhile, by eliminating some tax breaks often claimed by higher earners, the plan would raise taxes on many upper-middle-class households. As a result, the bill would ironically privilege the “idle rich” over the “working rich.” And by slashing corporate taxes by several trillion dollars, it would raise deficits by trillions of dollars, even according to the most pro-Republican analyses. That might be the biggest problem of all, because when the House bill is taken up in the Senate, it will not be workable under rules that prohibit new laws from adding to the debt after 10 years.
In short, the Republican Party, whose chief legislative talent is the ability to cut taxes anywhere, anytime, is in danger of ending its first year of majority rule with a tax bill that is unpopular, unpassable, and unpopulist.
It is not hard to imagine a tax plan that would be more in line with Republicans’ stated values. But rather than design a modest plan oriented around tax cuts for ordinary American families, their tax plan is oriented almost entirely around another idea: that the gravest problem for the U.S. economy is the marginal tax rate on large corporations, which, they believe, is making America’s firms uncompetitive and driving business activity away from the U.S. As a result, the centerpiece of the House bill is to nearly halve the the corporate tax rate, from 35 percent to 20 percent, at a 10-year cost of about $2 trillion.