Last year on the campaign trails, one of the many things President Trump and other Republicans assured us was that a vote for them meant a vote for “real tax reform.” And at first glance, Republicans appear as though they’ve made good on their promise this week, passing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on Saturday morning. There’s only one problem though, the bill was tragically killed in route by a stampede of RINOs.
RINO is short for “republican in name only,” often used as an insult referring to someone who has no principles in common with their party. After watching the behavior on the Senate floor in the moments leading up to the vote, however, RINO is also a fitting description to go along with the animal-like atmosphere. While the tax bill passed (by a razor thin 51-49), it still illustrates the problem that many Americans have with Republican politicians: they promise sweeping changes but deliver milquetoast results. Now, when it comes to taxes, they are clearly better than Democrats, not one of which voted to lower your taxes, but considering the Democrats’ growing acceptance of socialism, that’s a low bar to clear.
Either way, Republicans don’t actually believe in their talking points, and they give themselves away through their recurring habit of over-promising and under-delivering. They say they want reform, but when it comes time to act, a 5% change is passed off as “yuge.” Then they reveal just how out of touch they are by using justifications like “We’ll see an increase in federal revenue from tax cuts” as a positive argument. Never mind the fact that no one argues for lower taxes because they think it’ll help the government get more money, unless you’re one of the politicians who get to spend it. American’s simply want to keep more of the money they earn. In fact, some would even like to see the government take in less, in hopes of shrinking the size of government, something Republicans constantly lie about wanting also.
And when it comes to defending the idea of tax cuts to the Democrats, it becomes even more painfully obvious that they don’t believe in what they’re selling. Keeping more of my money is not something that “blows out the deficits,” no matter how many times critics like to repeat it. I’m sorry that politicians have gotten used to funding their schemes with my paycheck, but the fact that they spend more than they steal is not an argument against taxing less. Rather, it’s an argument to cut the absurd level of spending, which is something Americans actually agree on, assuming you aren’t a politician. The absurdity of this idea being pushed and the weakness by which Republicans try to argue it just goes to show how it’s becoming less about Democrats vs Republicans, and more about Washington vs the rest of us.
It used to be that each party had their good and bad – Republicans on foreign policy, and Democrats on tax policy. But this bill adds to the obvious fact that that’s not the case anymore. The parties have been blended and watered down through countless bipartisan measures that accomplished nothing more than tossing out the good qualities of each and retaining the bad. Ultimately resulting in a mix of politicians on both sides with no set principles, and so much overlap between them that it now requires dozens of labels within each party just to keep track of the nuances.
How far have our standards fallen then, that we allow ourselves to think adding 500 pages to the current 70,000+ page tax code is the best way to help Americans keep more of the money they earn? Let’s not forget, Americans already spend $30 billion per year in fees just to file their taxes. Which means that simply easing the filing process could outweigh the savings of this latest reform many times over.
What Republicans have done with this tax bill is effectively the same thing Democrats did with healthcare in Obama’s first term. They capitalized on popular talking points, made promises that won’t materialize, and ultimately used it to lay the groundwork for their own aspirations further down the road. Democrats did it by promising that “if you like your plan, you can keep it,” while setting us up on a path to single-payer. And now Republicans are promising this will be a massive tax cut, but it seems more like a marginal step that only serves to shift money around on paper, allowing Republicans to fund another government program down the road, while also providing a “victory” they can pat themselves on the back for in the short term. Although they try their best to make it look difficult, it really isn’t. We just need to stop letting the animals in Washington trample out the effective change.
Thomas J. Eckert
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