How Republicans Passed Historic Tax Reform

Nicholas Chang 12/20/17


On Tuesday, the House of Representatives voted in favor of a significant tax reform, pledging to drastically reduce corporate taxes as well as increase tax deductions for common American families. According to Republican Paul Ryan’s pledge, families will save a median of $2,000 in annual taxes. The Senate also passed the Bill very early Wednesday morning.

         Introduced by the Republicans, it was voted for mostly along party lines (227 for, 203 against), however, 12 Republicans did not support the measure. There were a few procedural errors that violated the rules, which will require a repeat of the vote, but it is still expected to pass nonetheless. Congressional Republicans expect the bill to reach President Trump’s desk to be signed into law by the end of the week.

         The Senate passed the Bill strictly along party lines as well (51 for, 48 against), with John McCain missing the vote due to health issues.

         Democrats criticize the tax reform bill as excessively favoring the rich and large corporations; a CNN poll revealed 89% of self-identified Democrats are against it. Republicans, who were 76% in favor, argue that by taking the tax burden off of the wealthy investors, employers, and corporations, the economy will be stimulated to grow by the providers of the nation’s goods and services. This will, in turn, allow them to grow their businesses, employ more people, provide better things and pay higher wages.

         This tax debate is merely a symptom of a fundamental divide between liberal and conservative fiscal policy: demand-side (Keynesian) or supply-side (“Reaganomics,” or Austrian/Classical). Liberals, by contrast to the Republicans, believe in helping the poorest individuals by supplying them with purchasing power, usually by government handouts, they do this with the expectation that it will stimulate the economy due to the increased demand for goods and services. They generally tend to reference consumer spending as a way to measure economic growth. Such policies require high taxes on the rich and corporations, which is why they oppose tax cuts to those groups.

         In the first year of the Trump presidency, Congress achieved little meaningful legislation. Republicans are likely feeling a much higher sense of urgency now with midterms approaching and Democrat Doug Jones’s major upset victory in Alabama.

         If initial polls are to be believed, Democrats could take a significant portion of Congress back, thwarting Republican plans to fast-track bills specific to their agenda, and leaving them vulnerable to Democratic filibusters, or obstructive tactics to stop a bill from passing.

         It was later discovered that the bill originally put forth violated Senate rules, so the bill was quickly changed prior to the Senate vote. Because of this minor error, the standard procedure requires that The House hold yet another vote for the bill. This bill is expected to fully pass early today, and will likely become the first major legislative victory for the Trump Administration.

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