Media Discussion of Tax Reform Plan is Predictably Partisan

For the past two months, tax reform has been at the center of attention of Congress and political media.  And the possibility of new legislation is looking more likely as the year comes to a close.

 

Even though, President Trump has made it clear to congressional Republicans and the general public that he wants to sign the bill into law by Christmas.

On December 15th, the Republicans released their final version of their tax plan, which would lower individual and corporate tax rates, eliminate personal exemptions, expand child tax credits and cap the local and state tax deduction.

As expected, Republicans and Democrats disagree on the effects of such a plan. Most GOP members plan to pass the bill in the upcoming week, whereas no Democrat has committed to a bill, and it is unlikely any will.

“Republicans’ actual proposals proved to be so unpopular that Democrats felt little pressure to bend,” wrote David Weigel for the Washington Post.

Progressive pundits tended to criticize the proposed plan, citing its unpopularity with the people.

According to a Quinnipiac poll, 59 percent of the country dislikes the proposed plan–a fact which the Democrats in Congress and certain members of the media have been capitalizing.

“It isn’t easy to make a tax cut unpopular,” wrote the Los Angeles Times’ Doyle McManus in an op-ed. “But Trump and Republican leaders in Congress have managed a feat of negative alchemy: They’ve turned a bill that should have been political gold into lead.”

The reason it’s unpopular?” he posited. “Most voters think the bill is so tilted in favor of corporations and the wealthy that there’s nothing left over for them. And they’re right.”

Many Democrats also asserted that Republicans are trying to push an unpopular bill for political points.

The editorial board of the Sacramento Bee wrote an informative op-ed on why they believed the tax reform plan would be bad for many Californians as well as the country.

“Here’s the bottom line: Trump and Republicans are desperate for any major legislation so they don’t go before voters in 2018 empty-handed,” the editorial board wrote. “…They ought to be ashamed, but in the Trump presidency, shame is in increasingly short supply.”

Conservative pundits view the bill more favorably but are more lukewarm about the effects of such sweeping legislation.

“Contrary to Democrats’ talking points, most middle-class families can expect to see a tax-cut,” noted the Economist’s H.C.  “The problem is that Republicans plan bigger cuts to business taxes than are affordable, especially after abandoning plans to raise money via so-called ‘border-adjustment.’”

Other right-wing perspectives applaud the lower corporate rate as something that will spur on business.

“You cut the corporate tax rate … they will invest more in the long run, and they’ll build more factories,” wrote Chris Edwards, the director of tax policy at the conservative CATO Institute. You build more factories, you got to hire more workers, the demand for U.S. workers will go up and then wages will rise.”

All and all, opinions on tax reform seem predictably dependent on partisanship. While Democrats universally condemn the provisions of the proposed tax reform, conservative opinions seem divided.

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