What’s Really Going On With the Republican Tax Bill?

What’s up with the Republican tax bill, anyway? The Senate voted to approve a maximum increase in the deficit of $1.5 trillion over ten years, which is why it took so long to cook up the legislation. When you’re planning to give away a few trillion dollars in pass-through taxes to small businesses like, um, The Trump Organization, it’s hard to find offsets that will get your deficit down to a mere $1.5 trillion. But apparently they did.

But here’s the thing: thanks to the usual reconciliation rules, they still have to reach a deficit number of $0 in the long-term. One way to do that is to have the bill expire after ten years, but that’s not what it does. Another way is to declare that your bill will supercharge the economy so much that it will pay for itself down the road. That means they need CBO to score the bill something like this:

This is unlikely in the extreme. CBO just isn’t going to end up with something like this. So the only way the bill works is if Republicans override CBO and have the Finance Committee chair invent his own numbers and then everyone just votes to accept them. But I’m guessing that there are at least three Republicans who won’t go along with a charade this blatantly and obviously fraudulent. And if the Senate GOP leadership can’t get 50 Republican votes, they can’t pass the bill.

So what the hell is going on? They must have something in mind, but what?

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

payment methods

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

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