This is the one thing every voter needs to remember about the federal tax reform effort, regardless of the final outcome:
Republicans — including Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey — seriously supported making tax cuts for corporations, businesses and the rich permanent while making cuts for the overwhelming majority of Americans temporary.
Forget the argument that the tax cuts on the table could balloon the federal debt. History says they will, as happened when the George W. Bush administration slashed taxes, and even when conservative icon Ronald Reagan did. Arguing Barack Obama eclipsed all previous deficit builders (he absolutely did) is not justification; three wrongs don’t make a fourth time right. But that’s not the thing that should stick in the craw.
The poison pill ground up and tossed into all that sausage making was the idea that that tax cuts for the average American could be temporary while cuts for a select few would be permanent.
Forget the debate about whether the proposed tax cuts would boost the economy so dramatically the deficit issue would become irrelevant. History says it won’t, but yes, it could. The question is, if Republicans truly believe it, why make any of the tax cuts temporary?
Indeed, the GOP put the lie to their “any cut is a good cut” mantra when the Senate seriously considered creating a “trigger” that would raise taxes if the deficit climbed too high. Either you believe tax cuts will work or you don’t.
Forget that the proposals cut and/or eliminate the estate tax on the super rich, a move that arguably helps support something colonists fought against: an aristocracy where people get power by birth and not by merit. Forget that the plans called for elimination of the alternative tax on those who can afford to hire people to find enough loopholes to avoid paying the official rate. Forget that the GOP floated the idea of eliminating deductions for state and local taxes, essentially saying that it’s OK to tax you for the same earnings twice.
In the end, all those arguments exist as hypothetical. Maybe those cuts would do more harm than good; maybe they are the right idea. The only sure way to know is to conduct the experiment and see what happens.
Forget about it all.
Remember that Republicans, specifically in the Senate, were comfortable making such cuts for a handful of people permanent while cuts that might save the average person a few thousand dollars would be temporary.
This is not about whether tax cuts are good or bad, or even whether the specific cuts proposed are good or bad at this specific time.
This is about the willingness of Republicans to — even for a moment — put on the table a tax cut proposal that would treat lower and middle income Americans differently from CEOs, business big wigs and the the wealthiest among us. Either cuts are permanent for all, or for none.
Anything else is shameful, and more importantly, antithetical to Democracy.