Though the Senate voted to pass the GOP tax bill, it's still not official since the House oddly screwed up and has to re-vote. But for all intents, it's settled.
Yes, it's dismal, and shameful to have passed any such tax bill that drastically impacts the entire country so quickly and to do so without any hearings, rushing it through by giving officials only the weekend to read and try to understand the 1,100-page bill. And all the more so for a law that is so deeply problematic, most notably in essence kicking 13 million people off of healthcare and adding $1.5 trillion to the deficit -- from a party that always cries at Democrats to balance the budget.
(Indeed, we know what will happen next. When Democrats next take the White House -- which Republicans now helped make likely in 2020... -- the GOP will start their traditional crying at the budget deficit being so high, and demanding that standard programs be cut, and especially that Medicare and even Social Security be cut, while increasing spending on defense. The good news is that they telegraphed this SO early now and created a national outrage over this money-grab for the wealthy that this $1.5 trillion addition to the deficit was out in the clear light of day and known.)
There's other good news. Not the kind of "good news" you'd normally hope for, since it comes as a result of this tax disaster, but when you face such a horrifically awful law, you take what good you can find. And there's much good to find.
For starters, I think the GOP just guaranteed Democrats taking over the House in 2018. As I've written in the past, this outcome was likely before, but I think this nails it down. And not only taking the majority, but now I think by a significant amount, rather than squeaking in. Adding to this is a recent report that showed Democrats have won all special elections by an average of 10 points, and if that holds -- an "if," but I think sentiments are likely to even increase -- then Democrats could potentially win the House by 257-178. And that was before this tax bill.
In addition, I think that this tax bill vote -- as well as a 32% approval of the Republican president, among other things, like the Russia investigation which will only get worse -- will make it more likely that Democrats could actually take the Senate. Going into this year, this is something that was a very tough hurdle since more seats held by Democrats were up for re-election. But that's now no longer a safety net that Republicans can count on. It's still a challenge for Democrats, but last night made it more likely. Alas, even if Democrats do win the Senate they won't get a veto-proof majority, but that potentially could be coming in 2020. Not likely, but given how Republicans seem to like shoot themselves in the foot, and given what could be revealed in the Russia investigations...who knows?
Also, with these party changes in Congress, know that this tax law will change, as well. Even what we hear described as "permanent." Just because something is called a "permanent tax cut," it is only permanent until another Congress rewrites it. It won't happen immediately, unfortunately, since it requires getting a Democratic president in office who won't veto what the House and Senate pass -- but I think that White House change was made all-the-more likely for 2020 last night. Happily, since the tax bill doesn't make all its draconian laws effective immediately (the corporate tax doesn't plummet until 2019, for instance), that means the entirety of the pain won't be felt for the full three years. Some of it will, and all of it will for some people -- like those who lose their health care -- but all of it will change when the parties in control change. I'm certain of it.
By the way, let's be clear about something, too. It is now officially "TrumpCare." Any complaints that the public has about healthcare -- like the 13 million losing coverage, and premiums rising for all the rest -- that's where all mail should be delivered. And will be.
What Trump and Republicans also did this week was make it far more likely that Trump will be impeached. With these actions I believe making it most probable that Democrats will take control of the House in 2018, that means we should see articles of impeachment drawn up soon after, and a committee formed. And it only takes a majority of Representatives to impeach. Conviction in the Senate is more difficult -- it takes two-thirds, and I don't see Democrats anywhere near that. But -- what will be interesting to see is how Republicans react for their political lives after having watched a potential tsunami wash away so many of their fellow-Republicans. Also in the mix is what evidence the Special Counsel finally presents. Keep in mind that the evidence doesn't have to be on just Trump himself directly conspiring Russia, though that may-well exist, but money laundering, tax fraud, obstruction of justice and any other manner of high crimes and misdemeanors. And IF the evidence presented is massive and compelling and clear to all but the most blindly-partisan, then Republican senators -- gauging the political temperature of the angered American public -- may find that self-preservation is the road to take. Maybe. Who knows? Maybe not. For all we know, maybe Trump will have resigned. Or not. But I do know that Republicans made all of that more possible.
Of course, none of this might happen. There's a long way to go before the next election. So much could change. And the public could certainly keep control of Congress as it is. That's absolutely possible. Or -- things could get much, much worse for Trump and Republicans. I don't know. But based on what's already on the table, including this tax bill will only a 32 percent approval, I'd certainly rather be a Democrat going into the next two elections. And as much as this is all just a guess...it's a guess based on a lot of foundation. And it's the guess I make of what will happen.
So, while the Republicans in Congress are celebrating passing a tax cut bill that according to today's NBC poll only 24 percent of Americans support -- which is a stunning reality when you consider it, only 24 percent supporting a tax cut bill -- with 13 million Americans (both Republicans and Democrats) losing their health care, and premiums rising for the entire remainder of the public, look forward to seeing video of those celebrations in campaign ads next year by Democrats.
After today's re-vote, Republicans will have passed a new law. But it's an old law which will be the biggest problem for them. The law of unintended consequences.
Trump and Republicans officials in Congress were wishing for this bill to pass. As the admonition goes -- be careful what you wish for, you might get it.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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