How to Fix the Republican Tax Plan

How to Fix the Republican Tax Plan
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Back when congressional Republicans were rolling out one unpopular health care bill after another, it was a challenge to come up with constructive advice on how to fix their efforts. That's because Republicans had set themselves an impossible task with health reform: They were trying to do something sweeping enough to be called “repeal,” modest enough to keep most of Obamacare's beneficiaries on the insurance rolls and also money-saving enough to provide some extra budget room for the eternal dream of tax cuts. No plan could satisfy all three requirements; as they say in Susan Collins's Maine, you can't get there from here.

With the tax reform that the House and the Senate are now considering, though, the task of advice-giving is easier. For one thing, this time there is no longstanding “repeal” promise that the base demands Republicans fulfill; there's just the generic promise to cut taxes that every Republican politician makes. For another, the party has decided not to even try to for deficit-neutrality (taking my advice, so send your angry deficit-hawk missives to my address in, ah, Manitoba), giving themselves $1.5 trillion over 10 years to play with and no inherent requirement to offset any of their cuts.

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