If you are waiting with baited breath thinking that the GOP legislature is going to deliver substantial tax reform in the near future, think again. Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Mike Lee (R-UT) are warning that the swamp creatures of the GOP establishment are working aggressively under the cloak of darkness to sabotage any possible chance of lowering the tax burdens of ordinary Americans.
Paul and Lee see the same type of shenanigans happening right now that doomed tax reform and other common sense measures in the past. They are growing increasingly pessimistic that anything can be achieved given the makeup of the current Congress, and the agenda of the special interests responsible for bankrolling most of the legislature. Talking points referring to ‘revenue neutral’ tax reform have Paul particularly concerned.
“Revenue neutral ultimately means that someone pays more for someone else to pay less. It means tax ‘reform’ without real tax cuts,” Paul said in a CNN op/ed last week.
Paul continues on to say, “I fear that tax reform that mandates revenue neutrality will result in those with the best lobbyists, lawyers and accountants being the winners, while most everyone else either gets nothing or largely loses out.”
Currently, negotiations are being handled in secret by six highly-connected individuals–Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch.
What is notably missing from this bunch are any ‘America First’ nationalists, free market advocates, or staunch conservatives. What we have instead, as usual, are veteran Washington D.C. operatives and Goldman Sachs bankers making the decisions. Making matters worse, the White House is committed to keeping details completely hidden from the public. This lack of transparency have Paul and Lee smelling a rat.
“We can do this, but not if we operate the way the Swamp normally does. Secret meetings. Leaders writing complicated bills no one sees. Lobbyists getting their pet provisions in bills,” Paul said.
“The American people elected us expecting us to repeal ObamaCare and bring about tax reform. We haven’t repealed ObamaCare. If we don’t get tax reform done, we are dead. We might as well flip up our tent and go home,” Lee said on Fox Business last week.
It is looking like tax reform is going to be yet another embarrassing failure for Trump’s Republican Party, similar to what happened regarding health care and immigration. Trump’s young presidency is not off to a good start, and as long as he keeps relying on the same interests he campaigned against last year to formulate his administration’s policy plans, it is not likely to improve.