Republicans Working Hard to Make Tax Bill Even Stupider

Alex Edelman/CNP via ZUMA

From CNBC:

Sen. Bob Corker said Tuesday a “backstop” to curb future budget deficits could help to win his crucial vote for the GOP tax bill. The Tennessee Republican and others are seeking the protection in case the nearly $1.5 trillion in proposed tax cuts do not meet the GOP’s expectations for sparking economic growth. The “trigger” described by Corker would raise taxes if the plan does not boost the U.S. economy enough.

“What several of us have asked for is a backstop or trigger in that event we don’t meet the projections that have been laid out — since we’re not going to score it — that we have a backstop. And so that’s what we’ve been working on throughout the weekend and feverishly today,” Corker told CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

The Senate could just wait to score the bill, of course. That would certainly be the easiest option. The thing is, everyone knows what a CBO score would show: even with dynamic effects taken into account, the Republican tax bill blows up the deficit big time.

So instead of dealing with that certainty, Republicans are apparently trying desperately to whomp up some kind of “trigger” language in record time. I’ll toss out three options for how this could turn out:

  1. The trigger will be mostly for show and will have little actual power.
  2. The trigger will be effective, which means that taxes will go up when the economy is slow and down when the economy is booming.
  3. The trigger will be a Rube Goldberg concoction and no one actually knows what it will do.

Mitch McConnell, of course, would prefer #1. Corker, presumably, prefers #2 even though it makes no sense. And in the end, I suppose we’re most likely to get #3.