November 29, 2017
By Robert Kuttner | Dec 18, 2017
Among the many awful things about the tax bill now greased for passage is what it tells us about allegedly mainstream Republicans. Despite their supposed contempt for Trump, one by one they are falling in line—being bought off by last-minute revisions in the bill, most of which will make it even worse, like more tax breaks for billionaires.
Even senators humiliated by Trump—Corker of Tennessee, the well-named Flake of Arizona—who are not running for re-election and could easily vote no—appear to be supporting this bill, for their corporate pals. Even two supposed moderates, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins, and bogus deficit hawks like Tom Johnson.
It reminds you of German conservatives and Hitler. They decided that despite his insanity, he could be used to further their own goals (and let’s hope the analogy ends there).
Still worse is the deliberate use of the tax bill to punish states and citizens that tend to value good government and to vote for Democrats—by killing the deduction for state and local taxes. This is in the House bill and may well stay in the final bill.
Worst of all is the churlish punishment of universities by removing the tax deductibility of graduate fellowships. Students, who are dead broke, will now have to pay tax on tuition waivers, which run as high as $50,000—a deliberate poke at the educated class for the sin of tending liberal.
This is all of a piece for an administration that prizes ignorance, but it is a new low for tax legislation. We now know that for all the infighting, the Republicans in Congress are as contemptuous of democracy as their one-time nemesis, Donald Trump.