Keeping track of the Jacksonians, Reformicons, Paleos, and Post-liberals.
I like to start my classes on conservative intellectual history by distinguishing between three groups. There is the Republican party, with its millions of adherents and spectrum of opinion from very conservative, somewhat conservative, moderate, and yes, liberal. There is the conservative movement, the constellation of single-issue nonprofits that sprung up in the 1970s —
- gun rights,
- right to work
— and continue to influence elected officials. Finally, there is the conservative intellectual movement: writers, scholars, and wonks whose journalistic and political work deals mainly with ideas and, if we’re lucky, their translation into public policy.
You can always count on Republicans to do two things: try to cut taxes for the rich and try to weaken the safety net for the poor and the middle class.
.. G.O.P. legislative proposals show not a hint of the populism Trump espoused on the campaign trail.
.. their bill — on which we don’t have full details, but whose shape is clear — hugely privileges owners, whether of businesses or of financial assets, over those who simply work for a living.
.. Republicans exalt “job creators,” that is, people who own businesses directly or indirectly via their stockholdings. Meanwhile, they show implicit contempt for mere employees.
.. the consensus among tax economists is that most of the break will accrue to shareholders as opposed to workers. So it’s mainly a tax cut for investors, not people who work for a living... The bill would reduce taxes on business owners, on average, about three times as much as it would reduce taxes on those whose primary source of income is wages or salaries. For highly paid workers, the gap would be even wider, as much as 10 to one... a real estate development firm might get a far bigger tax cut than a surgeon employed by a hospital, even though their income is the same.”(Yes, a lot of the bill looks as if it were specifically designed to benefit the Trump family.).. We’re pitting hastily devised legislation, drafted without hearings over the course of just a few days, against the cleverest lawyers and accountants money can buy. Which side do you think will win?.. it’s a good guess that the bill will increase the budget deficit far more than currently projected... Cutting corporate taxes is hugely unpopular; even Republicans are almost as likely to say they should be raised as to say they should be lowered... Their disdain for ordinary working Americans as opposed to investors, heirs, and business owners runs so deep that they can’t contain it... in 2012, when Eric Cantor — then the House majority leader — tried to celebrate Labor Day. He put out a tweet for the occasion that somehow failed to mention workers at all, instead praising those who have “built a business and earned their own success.”.. Cantor, a creature of the G.O.P. establishment if ever there was one, had so little respect for working Americans that he forgot to include them in a Labor Day message.And now that disdain has been translated into legislation, in the form of a bill that treats anyone who works for someone else — that is, the vast majority of Americans — as a second-class citizen.
This isn’t about “jobs,” as the White House claims. If it were, it might cut employment taxes, which genuinely do discourage hiring. Rather, it’s about huge payouts to the wealthiest Americans — and deficits be damned!
.. If Republicans embrace this “plan” after all their hand-wringing about deficits and debt, we should build a Grand Monument to Hypocrisy in their honor.
Trump’s tax “plan” is a betrayal of his voters. He talks of helping ordinary Americans even as he enriches tycoons like himself.
.. fewer than 10 percent of low-income households with children would get anything at all
.. families earning between $10,000 and $30,000 a year would receive an average child care benefit of just $10.
.. In fairness, Trump’s proposal does include some sensible elements. Raising the standard deduction is smart and would simplify everything, reducing cheating and the need for record-keeping because millions of filers would no longer itemize deductions.
he and his allies crafted a poorly constructed and radical bill that would sharply cut support to low-income Americans and those with serious health conditions, while enacting big tax cuts for the wealthy.
.. Speaker Ryan’s crafting of AHCA was a slapdash enterprise.
.. even leading health-care experts were confused by the changes. As Timothy Jost noted at Health Affairs: “This comprehensive a repeal of the ACA would have far-ranging consequences for our health care system that can scarcely be described, much less understood, in the hours that remain before a vote.”
.. wondered whether the game plan was just for the House to pass something—anything—and then let the Senate do the real work.
.. So why did Republicans fail? In a word: insincerity.
.. they might have refined another conservative model, such as Avik Roy’s modifications to ACA exchanges, to turn ACA’s exchanges in a more conservative direction.
.. Secure in the knowledge that they would face President Obama’s veto, Republicans rammed through a succession of extreme repeal-and-replace bills that resembled AHCA’s original draft. These bills excited the Republican base, but would have horrified most other Americans if they ever found sufficient reason to look.
.. Congressional Republicans suffered what George W. Bush might call a “catastrophic success” with Donald Trump’s unexpected victory.
.. leaving people in plans where the “deductibles are so high that it’s really not worth much to them.”
.. He vowed to replace the “failing,” “horrific” Obamacare with “something terrific.”
.. Republican plans are designed around higher deductibles and narrower benefits, not to mention more limited Medicaid.
.. smaller financial subsidies for people with chronic health conditions. That was the clear intention, but Ryan refused to admit it.
.. Many in the GOP, above all President Trump, seemed strangely uninterested in the policy details.
.. To the extent Republicans did have an animating passion, it was to puncture President Obama’s legacy—and to avoid looking foolish by failing to honor their “repeal and replace” rhetoric.
.. For all their endless warnings about how Obama’s signature health law was hurting American families, driving up costs and putting us on the path toward socialism, it turns out they didn’t care enough to put in the work.