Back in December and January, Democrats and their fellow-travelers in the media were ebullient over the idea of running against the “tax cuts for the wealthiest 1 percent” tax reform package Congress had passed on a straight party-line vote, and President Trump subsequently signed into law.
It’s worth a quick and entertaining look back at the now commonplace hysterical response from the American Left (Democrat/Media/Culture/Education establishment), this time at basic tax cuts.
House Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi, a constant well-spring of poppycock, called the legislation “the end of the world” and “the worst bill in the history of the United States Congress.” (Ahem…Fugitive Slave Act?) She predicted the tax cut would create “a permanent plutocracy in our country that does violence to the vision of our Founders.” California Gov. Jerry Brown called tax cuts “evil in the extreme.”
The Washington Post felt compelled to run a column predicting the Great Depression II, including unemployment at 25 percent. Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers said the bill’s health provisions would kill 10,000 people annually. And economic historian Bruce Bartlett said that tax cuts are “akin to rape.”
Veteran Atlantic political reporter Ron Brownstein argued that “President Trump and congressional Republicans have just taken the same leap of faith that Democrats did when they passed the Affordable Care Act.” The Huffington Post anxiously ran a story headlined “ObamaCare Plagued Democrats In 2010. The GOP Just Voted For A Bill Even Less Popular.”
And what’s a media nonsense roundup without Paul Krugman, who wrote a column, “Republicans’ Tax Lies Show the Rot Spreads Wide and Runs Deep.”
Well, something was running wide and deep.
But now that the big blue wave midterms are approaching, Democrats actually are not running against the end of the world, against 25 percent unemployment, against rot, against evil. You’d think those would be winning issues with the American people. Perhaps the end-of-the-world bombast was just empty drivel like so much that has been upchucked into the media since November 2016.
Remember how Republicans ran loud and hard (and for some, lied) about repealing Obamacare as soon as they had the chance. It was proving unpopular and hitting Americans negatively. We are seeing an almost complete absence of that now in both Democratic primaries, and where the general elections are set, in regards to the tax reform package that was the end of the world.
It’s not just by observation we are seeing this step away from tax cut repeal. Democratic leadership is admitting it. Washington Post political reporter David Weigel asked Democratic leaders about it at their recent strategy retreat, and tweeted their response:
“Asked Dems at retreat presser if they’ll run in 2018 on repealing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Answer: Not really. (They’ll “restore balance.”) Weigel tweeted the full text of his questions and their answers. By balance, they presumably and without elucidation, mean balancing the budget, which they did such a bangup job of doing when they were in control.
Why the big flip for Democrats? It’s more than the dawning realization that the slogan, “Vote for me and I’ll raise your taxes!” is probably not going to resonate with voters.
⇒ First, there are the actual facts involved with the tax reform package. The politically liberal Tax Policy Center ran the numbers and figured the tax cuts would benefit 80 percent of American families, while raising taxes for just 5 percent. Those tax hikes would fall disproportionately on the wealthiest 1 percent. The average family would save $1,610.
More facts. The Congressional Budget Office has sharply increased its forecast for GDP growth in 2018 from 2 percent to robust 3.3 percent as a direct result of the tax cuts. The CBO predicts GDP growth next year at 2.4%, up from the expected 1.5% before the tax cuts. Further, the CBO says that this level of growth in the economy could eliminate most of the so-called tax-cut deficit that Democrats are suddenly so concerned about. Unfortunately but to no one’s shock, the media largely ignored that report.
⇒ Second, the tax cut package still remains popular. The “Republican” or “GOP” tax cuts, not so much. Recent polls showing a decline in support for the GOP tax cuts have elated Democrats and the media. But they’re quite misleading. The tax cuts themselves, broken down by almost every element within the bill, are overwhelmingly popular.
Investors Business Daily broke those down here. Americans’ support is absurdly high for most elements of the tax cuts. But most polls label the tax cuts as Republican or GOP, and when that happens, the support drops significantly.
A couple of things are at work here. One is the ongoing demonization of Republicans in the media. This has been a long-running train. The other is the conflation of budget deficit with the tax cuts. This of course has two elements, one of which is continued runaway spending, which congressional Republicans caved on like they always do. (Remember, they are caving to Democrats who actively pursue the runaway spending.) Saying that the taxes alone caused the projected $1.5 trillion deficit — over 10 years, because that is the only way to make it look bad — ignores half of the equation but clearly can influence news consumers.
⇒ Third, an April Gallup Poll found that Americans think the tax code is more fair today than it was before the GOP tax cuts took effect. Last year, 51 percent of Americans said middle income families pay too much income taxes. That is now down to 42%. And amazingly, given the media coverage, 26 percent say upper-income families pay their fair share, up slightly from 24 percent last year. And the big corporate fat cat giveaway? Well, 24 percent now say that corporations pay their fair share, up sharply from 19% a year ago when corporate tax rates were much higher.
It’s hard to run on a lie when the truth keeps showing up in bi-weekly dollars in the wallet, when you can see how strong the economy around you is. High GDP growth is tangible, just like anemic GDP growth was under Obama.
Americans realize that the tax reform package was a net positive for their pocketbooks, for the economy, for jobs and for the deficit — the absolute opposite of how they rightly viewed Obamacare. That Democrats aren’t clawing to run against it means they still have a modicum of political sense left.
Rod Thomson is an author, TV talking head and former journalist, and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. Rod is co-host of Right Talk America With Julio and Rod on the Salem Radio Network.
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