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GOP’s ‘Fake Tax Reform Bill’ Tax Cut for Apple, Tax Increase for Many Californians

GOP leaders in Congress are putting the economy and their political future at risk by breaking two fundamental rules of politics with the GOP Tax Plan they’re trying to force on the people.

The first the time-tested adage Paul Ryan and crew are ignoring?

 “First do no harm.”

This tax bill violates the Hippocratic Oath by pushing a bill that will harm those who are chronically ill, on fixed income and the elderly by eliminating deductions for “qualified medical expenses” that exceed 10% of an individuals gross adjusted income.  That covers patients who need kidney dialysis and other very costly treatments for chronic conditions.

By it’s very nature, this deduction aids those who are shouldering an extraordinary burden that is not reimbursed by insurance—which means they’re most likely the very “middle-class” Americans the GOP claims it wants to help.

It’s stupid policy and politics for Paul Ryan and the GOP establishment to throw them overboard in their haste to “get something done.”

And to add insult to injury, since Ryan’s Republicans could not deliver on repealing ObamaCare, they are simply making themselves the bad guys on health care policy across the board.

The second major bit of wisdom Congressional GOP leaders ignore at their peril?

 

“Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.”

This so-called tax reform bill plays on class warfare—but unlike Democrats who are masters at dividing Americans against each other for their own political benefit—Republicans did the opposite:   They united a large segment of their own supporters with their political enemies against their own keynote reform bill.

It doesn’t take a genius to see that this bill gives massive corporations like Apple a permanent corporate tax cut—from 35 to 20%—while raising taxes an estimated $100 Billion on successful small business owners and professionals in the highest of all high-tax states, California, by eliminating the state and local tax deduction.

To make matters worse, Ryan is ignoring the fact that the highest taxed state in the nation also happens to be one of the top sources of campaign donations to the Republican Party and candidates nationally.

Orange County, California is the second single largest source of donations to Republicans, period.  By turning on the very people who brought you to the dance—those who largely financed the Republican takeover of the House, the Senate and the Presidency—into your sworn enemy, isn’t smart strategy in war or politics.

In addition, by capping the mortgage deduction at $500,000, Ryan energized California realtors against it—turning what ordinarily would be one of the Republican Party’s most reliable allies in red and blue states alike into ground troops for anyone who opposes this monstrosity of a tax reform bill.

That does not bode well in states like California where Hillary Clinton won a number of districts that used to be automatic checks in the red column.   Now, Ryan will have to spend far more money, and may still lose seats as his clueless candidates walk in lock step with political establishment at a time when anti-establishment fervor is running high and no less than Steve Bannon–Breitbart Chairman and former chief advisor to President Trump–has declared war on the GOP establishment.

According to one survey by the University of Chicago, 37 out of 38 economists hate this bill.  That’s quite an accomplishment since it’s almost impossible to get economists to agree on anything.  Their biggest gripe?  It will cause “U.S. debt to increase ‘substantially’ faster than the economy.”

If only Paul Ryan could have taken a page out of the play books of much more astute leaders like Pres. John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan:

Keep it simple, stupid!

An across the board tax cut for everyone who pays taxes would not only have been good policy—spurring robust economic growth and job creation—but it would have been good politics uniting the political establishment with the conservative base of the party.

It was Bannon himself who suggested in a speech at CPAC that when the GOP establishment unites with the conservative movement, “we’re unstoppable.”

Too bad a toady like Paul Ryan is in charge instead of a Bannon-like leader, who would fight for true reform on the basis of sound economic principles instead of simply giving in to the fear that the media characterizing the bill as “tax cuts for the rich.”

How anyone in this post-Trump era could still use the “fear of the media calling us names” playbook and remain in charge, says a lot about the complete lack of leadership in the Republican congress.

Ryan’s claim that after the GOP tax reform bill is passed into law, Republicans will learn to love it echoes the insulting attitude of the previous speaker, Nancy Pelosi who once said of ObamaCare:

“We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what’s in it.”

Others like Mimi Walters, who’s “Hillary District” is a top Democrat target, have employed another Democrat tactic— dismissing current constituent concerns, claiming that they will most likely be fixed in conference with the Senate.

Kind of begs the question; “Isn’t that the job of a representative?”

With only 33% of Americans in support of Ryan’s plan, and a full 50% opposed, it might behoove the Republicans to punt for the remainder of 2017 and live to fight another day.  That would give them plenty of time to go back to the drawing board and come up with a bill that includes sound, winning policy ideas like actual cuts to stimulate the economy along with real reforms instead of just more political gimmickry.

Tim Donnelly is an author, former California State Assemblyman, and is running for Congress in California’s 8th District.

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