The Republican Party is complicit.
Chris Hayes had two guests last night to discuss the Republican Tax Bill. One was Patricia Cohen, author of a must-read New York Times article that says this:
“When you put all these pieces together, what you’re left with is we are squandering a giant sum of money,” said Edward D. Kleinbard, a former chief of staff at the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation who teaches law at the University of Southern California. “It’s not aimed at growth. It is not aimed at the middle class. It is at every turn carefully engineered to deliver a kiss to the donor class.”
In a recent University of Chicago survey of 38 prominent economists across the ideological spectrum, only one said the proposed tax cuts would yield substantial economic growth. Unanimously, the economists said the tax cuts would add to the long-term federal debt burden, now estimated at more than $20 trillion.
If the package does have a guiding philosophy, it is a return to trickle-down economics, an enduring story line in which the wealthy are supposed to spend and invest their tax breaks, creating jobs and commercial opportunities for everyone else.
And the unpopularity and stupidity of this tax bill is so obvious, that "All In with Chris Hayes" felt at liberty to bring back from the cable news blackballing, Norman Ornstein. Ornstein, along with Thomas Mann, sounded the alarm against the Republican Party with their book "It's Even Worse Than It Looks" in 2012. Their accompanying WaPo editorial provides a summation:
We have been studying Washington politics and Congress for more than 40 years, and never have we seen them this dysfunctional. In our past writings, we have criticized both parties when we believed it was warranted. Today, however, we have no choice but to acknowledge that the core of the problem lies with the Republican Party.
Ornstein and Mann were promptly removed from the Rolodexes of Sunday Show bookers everywhere, as The Nation put it, "virtually banned from TV on conventional wisdom’s Holy Day."
This tax travesty has Chris Hayes producers (yeah, they're the only ones) calling Norman Ornstein.
ORNSTEIN: A lot of these senators are friends of mine. Bob Corker, John McCain, Susan Collins. Jeff Flake. And to watch people cave on something like this, not only not knowing what's in it, but for John McCain, who had said passionately about a return to a regular way of legislating the regular order, saying he's going to vote for this, it really suggests a party that has gone completely rogue. And I'd make another point, Chris. In almost 50 years of being around the legislative process, I've never seen a bill handled in this fashion. Not only without any significant hearings, having it on the floor without even having a document, but the complete detachment from representatives from their own voters. We've been moving in that direction for a while. But the fact, you go past the electoral college, gerrymandering, a Senate where 40% of the population controls the supermajority or close to it of the Senate. The fact that you have such opposition to this from every expert group, from large numbers of people, and they don't care anymore. All they care about is the large donors and an ideology that ignores facts. It's just appalling.
Let's face it, another part of this which a couple of people have talked about, Marco Rubio very frankly just the other day. This is the old Republican approach of starving the beast and getting at a goal that they've sought for a long time, which is to reduce and privatize Medicare and Social Security. Remember, we have a pay-go element that is going to hit this bill, that with the deficits as they grow, they'll take a huge chunk out of Medicare automatically, along with a whole series of other important programs.