Tax Bill Update: Maybe 20% Won’t Fly?

Patrick Pleul/DPA via ZUMA

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

Our story so far:

Republican Deficit Hawks: We won’t vote for the tax bill if it increases the deficit.

GOP Leadership: No problem. Lower taxes will supercharge the economy so much that it will cause revenue to go up. The tax bill will actually cut the deficit!

RDH: Uh huh. Can we have that in writing?

GOPL: Sorry, no time for that. We need to pass this bill now now now.

RDH: Well then, we want a trigger. If the economy doesn’t skyrocket, taxes will automatically go back up.

GOPL: Um, OK. Hold on a sec.

Joint Committee on Taxation: Hey, look! We burnt the candle at both ends and got the deficit projection done! It’s gonna be a trillion dollars.

GOPL: Sigh.

RDH: Now we really need that trigger.

GOPL: Don’t panic. We can work something out.

And here’s the latest:

Oof. The parliamentarian. Apparently she ruled that a trigger doesn’t affect the budget, something that’s required for every provision of a reconciliation bill. That actually strikes me as odd, but there must be some subtlety here that I’m missing.

So now the plan is to simply build tax increases directly into the bill. Maybe the corporate tax rate starts at 20 percent, and then goes up to 21 percent in 2020, 22 percent in 2022, etc. However, there are two problems with this. The first is that the militant tax cutters won’t like it. The second is that since JCT has finally produced a dynamic score for the tax bill, it means they have their models all set up. It would only take them a few hours to plug in new tax rates and produce a new deficit projection. And I’ll bet that a couple of points here and there won’t be enough to make much difference. The deficit will still be in the arena of a trillion dollars.

It’s always something, isn’t it? But that’s what happens when you base legislation on a fundamental lie. It doesn’t mean the sausage can’t be passed, but it does mean that occasionally you’ll run into people who need theirs grilled well done, not raw.

MOTHER JONES NEEDS YOUR HELP

We have about a $170,000 funding gap and less than a week to go in our hugely important First $500,000 fundraising campaign that ends Saturday. We urgently need your help, and a lot of help, so we can pay for the one-of-a-kind journalism you get from us.

Learn more in “Less Dreading, More Doing,” where we lay out this wild moment and how we can keep charging hard for you. And please help if you can: $5, $50, or $500—every gift from every person truly matters right now.

payment methods

MOTHER JONES NEEDS YOUR HELP

We have about a $170,000 funding gap and less than a week to go in our hugely important First $500,000 fundraising campaign that ends Saturday. We urgently need your help, and a lot of help, so we can pay for the one-of-a-kind journalism you get from us.

Learn more in “Less Dreading, More Doing,” where we lay out this wild moment and how we can keep charging hard for you. And please help if you can: $5, $50, or $500—every gift from every person truly matters right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate