Opinion: The Groper ain’t The Gipper

(AP)

Washington Republicans continue to rally around the only idea that seems to unite them these days, which is the prospect of major tax cuts. But they have a problem or two to overcome.

First, they still don’t have a bill, and generally speaking, it’s hard to pass a bill unless you have a bill in the first place. They also don’t have a plan on which to base a bill. They don’t even have an agreement among their fellow Republicans on which they might base a plan, on which they would then base a bill, which they would then attempt to pass as law.

Also, it’s the middle of September. As far back as February, President Trump was promising that the tax plan was already “very well finalized.” I know it’s shocking to say, but that appears to have been a lie. Then they promised to have a plan by April. Then they promised to have a bill drafted, passed and signed into law by August.

Like I said, it’s the middle of September.

Like I said, that’s a problem.

The new goal is to go from having no agreement in September to having a major new tax reform law enacted by the end of December. The White House has announced a 13-state campaign-style swing by Trump to build support for this as-yet-non-existent plan, and Trump himself is getting impatient:

The model for this effort — cited by Trump, House Speaker Paul Ryan and other GOP leaders — is of course the historic tax-reform bill signed into law by President Reagan back in 1986. That massive piece of legislation modernized almost all of the U.S. tax code, and is widely considered one of the greatest congressional achievements of that generation.

So if that’s the model, it seems worthwhile to look back in history to see how they pulled it off.

♦ They pulled it off at the end of a careful three-year process, beginning with the drafting of a detailed reform proposal by Reagan’s Treasury Department, followed by extensive economic analysis, input from experts and open debate, followed by revisions, more analysis and more debate. Today’s Republicans are going to attempt that same feat in three months.

♦ They pulled it off because Democrats and Republicans worked together, across party lines, trying to find common ground and in the end succeeding. This time around, Democrats are being totally excluded from any substantive discussion. They have no knowledge of what might be proposed, and certainly no input.

♦ They pulled it off thanks to two years of committee hearings and debates, most of which were open to the public. The House Ways and Means Committee took testimony from more than 450 witnesses; the Senate Finance Committee held another 33 days of hearings in which every provision of the bill was analyzed. Everybody had the chance to voice an opinion and become comfortable with its provisions. More than 30 years later, none of that has yet occurred or is scheduled to occur.

♦ They pulled it off because a popular president fresh off a landslide victory threw his considerable weight and charm behind its passage, and because that president had highly respected professionals on his staff. Reagan lobbied congressmen personally, and at one point even went to Capitol Hill to plead for the legislation. Trump, in contrast, lost the popular vote and according to Gallup hasn’t been above a 40-percent approval rating since June. His relationship with congressional Democrats is abysmal, it may be even worse among GOP leadership, and his staff is a hot mess.

♦ They pulled it off because from the beginning, the Reagan administration agreed that tax reform should not be used as a subterfuge to either increase the deficit or to shift the tax burden away from the wealthy. Taking those controversial goals off the table allowed legislators to focus on the real goal of rationalizing and simplifying the tax code. This time around, while we don’t yet have a bill, plan or even agreement, every indication is that the GOP proposal will add significantly to the debt and benefit largely the wealthy.¹

As the comparison above demonstrates, today’s GOP is taking a very different path than the approach that led to success back in 1986.  They’re doing it in secret, on a strictly partisan basis, hoping to spring an incredibly complex and unvetted bill on Congress and then force it into law quickly, before it can be examined too closely. In other words, they’re repeating the strategy they followed in trying to repeal and replace Obamacare.

For the record, the successful 1986 tax reform effort was approved in the House by a bipartisan vote of 292 to 136; in the Senate, it passed by a bipartisan vote of 74 to 23.

And how did that Obamacare vote go again?

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¹Last month, Chuck Schumer and 44 other Senate Democrats offered to work with President Trump and Senate Republicans on a bipartisan tax reform bill, including passage of provisions to “promote domestic investment (and) modernize our outdated business and international tax systems.”

In other words, Democrats are willing to support legislation to help repatriate corporate profits stranded overseas and to lower the corporate income tax rate by eliminating corporate deductions and dodges, both of which are important GOP goals. However, the Democrats conditioned their offer on the same ground rules agreed to by Reagan and other Republicans in 1986:

  • “… we believe that tax reform should not increase the tax burden on the middle class. In addition, any reform effort should not benefit the wealthiest individuals, who have already seen outsized benefits from recent economic gains while working-class wages have remained stagnant.”
  • “Deep cuts to our corporate, individual, and other tax rates are very costly. We will not support any effort to pass deficit-financed tax cuts, which would endanger critical programs like Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and other public investments in the future.”

There has been no GOP response to that offer.

 

Reader Comments 0

1406 comments
Rob Eyler
Rob Eyler

T-Rump even made him look good.

John Hyatt
John Hyatt

Hey, Jay? Maybe you should just join Hillary in her Apology and Blame Campaign Tour of 2017. Because after all: #whatdifferencedoesitmake ? Trump doesn't have to be The Gipper. He'll do just fine by himself and for better or worse.....ahhhhh, I sure sleep good at night not hearing the words "President Clinton." All Trump had to do for most of us was one thing: Win the election. Anything good after that, awesome. Even if he gets nothing done over the next 8 years (yep, I said 8), he's accomplished what most of his voters wanted already.

Leatha Gross
Leatha Gross

I know you're talking about Joe Biden...that's all he does is grope women and little girls...creepy old man.

Wesley Mayne
Wesley Mayne

Reagan was an ACTOR( high priced professional LIER)

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

I cannot help but observe in the picture above that all the legislative members and the president are white men in the mid-1980s.

Paul Mitchell
Paul Mitchell

Did this dope get paid for writing this garbage

Don Howe
Don Howe

And you are a child molester

Edward David Prine
Edward David Prine

Regan was not looked at as great at the time, it was years after . Trump has had 9 months judge him at the end of his term .

Richard Luke
Richard Luke

Catchy Headline there another example of why journalist are now merely bloggers in disguise. They want the eye catching phrase that can propel them into the spotlight.

Beth Laffin
Beth Laffin

It literally says "Opinion" right there in the headline. It's really not that complicated.

Richard Luke
Richard Luke

Jay Bookman is a writer for the AJC is he not? Opinion or not it is a slanted headline meant to demean the President. If you cannot see that then you really aren't that complicated.

Chris Policronis
Chris Policronis

So basically its time for both Republicans and Democrats to actually work together and work with the President to get Tax Reform done.

Shaun James
Shaun James

I expect the same amount of cooperation that the GOP gave Obama.

Chris Policronis
Chris Policronis

Shaun James As we all know democrats are obstructionists and would block anything that actually benefits Americans. The GOP bent over backwards to accommodate Obama because they were so afraid of being called "racists". Obama violated the constitution numerous times, most notably when signing DACA.

Chris Policronis
Chris Policronis

Shaun James Wow you can copy and paste!!! Not bad for a moron.

Mike LeBlanc
Mike LeBlanc

#NeverCrookedHillary #TrumpNation #Trump2020 #NeverLiberal

Shawn Isaacs
Shawn Isaacs

HA. HA. HA. Nope, just like exercising my right to free speech. Does that hurt your feelings snowflake? (Look I can use whitty words without capitalizing each of them.) #ThirdParty #hashtag

Shaun James
Shaun James

Shawn Isaacs, stop making so much sense, it hurts the feeble brains of the Trumpbots.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

From groping to grasping to gippering.

President Trump on Thursday said he's "fairly close" to a deal with Congress that would protect young undocumented immigrants who came into the country illegally as children and address border security.

The border wall – a core campaign promise and source of contention with Democrats – "will come later," Trump told reporters as he departed the White House for a trip to Florida to survey damage from Hurricane Irma.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/09/14/trump-says-no-deal-reached-dems-over-dreamers-border-wall/665109001/ 

Does Trump know the left had no appreciation for Reagan either?

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@FIGMO2 Trump is no Reagan, Reagan did not ride into the WH on the coat tails of the most disgusting racist in this country.  That's is why Trump is hated, it's because of who he chose to align himself with.

Frankie Little Hardin
Frankie Little Hardin

Our president is a sexual predator...still trying to wrap my head around that - and those who still support him.

Shaun James
Shaun James

Don't bother trying to understand the Trump Cult. If they had brains, then they wouldn't support him in the first place.

Bernard Davitz
Bernard Davitz

Bull and your not? I am sure when you look at a women you notice her education.

_GodlessHeathen_
_GodlessHeathen_

"I think most rural whites are meth addicts..."

I think someone needs to get OTP more.

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

Joe Scarborough said that you 12% that are for dreamers being thrown out of the country can go to DC, get in a phone booth with Ann Coulter, Laura Ingram and Sean Hannity and hug each other for comfort.  LOL

Brosephus
Brosephus

@BuckeyeGa

This is what you get when you wanna lead by populism.  Dude's going to shift like a weather vane in a F5 tornado.

straker
straker

Trump feels the Ides of Impeachment getting closer and closer. So, he tries to make friends with the Democrats, hoping they may hesitate to vote against him. I doubt this will work.

Mike Novak
Mike Novak

Trump is a pile of crap. Needs to go. Cant get anything done keeps turning on his oun people

Shaun James
Shaun James

"I'm going to surround myself only with the best and most serious people." HAHAHA!

Citizen-of-the-World
Citizen-of-the-World

When Trump does something they don't like, his Chumps won't even admit it, much less withdraw their support.


When he does something we do like, we'll at least admit it, and then they expect us to join his fan club. 


Doesn't work that way. He is still a gross incompetent, who has surrounded himself with other gross incompetents, unless they are all too competent, like Scott Pruitt, for example, at undoing protections for workers, consumers, and the environment.  


td1234
td1234

@Citizen-of-the-World So when did you withdraw your support from Obama when he did not do something that you did not like? 

Citizen-of-the-World
Citizen-of-the-World

@td1234 @Citizen-of-the-World I wrote whitehouse.gov when Obama did things I did not like or did not take a strong stand against some things and expressed my disapproval. I also criticized him in forums like this when I thought he was mistaken. 


But on balance, I thought he was a good president: he did his due diligence, he worked long and hard, he studied and understood the issues, he expressed himself knowledgeably and acted appropriately, and for the most part he fought for the things I value like aforementioned worker, environment and consumer protections. None of which can be said about your guy. 

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@td1234 @Citizen-of-the-World Everyone that has known Trump for years has been telling you gullible Trump voters that he has been a NY democrat his entire life.  He's not done using you Trump voters yet, the art of the deal is just beginning so hang in there td.  LOL

Brosephus
Brosephus

@gadem

Don't hold back and tell us how you really feel bruh!!

td1234
td1234

@StraightNoChaser Great then you progs should be coming out anytime now supporting his agenda since it is the D agenda. 


Or is it that you will not be supporting him because he does not have a D by his name? 

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@td1234 @StraightNoChaser I don't support him because he's a disgusting birther POS. That has always been my position, I don't give a damn what Democrat policies he implements. It does not mean that he's not a bigot or racist because I said he's a NY democrat, he is.

gadem
gadem

@td1234 @Citizen-of-the-World I was critical of things that PBO did....no President is perfect, but he is the President of all Americans. PBO has high moral character. The POS that currently occupies the Oval Office does not. He has embolden the worst in some...for that, Donald will never have my respect or support. He is a POS and his supporters are POS too.