Tax cuts have become the GOP’s MacGuffin.
A MacGuffin is defined as “an object, event, or character in a film or story that serves to set and keep the plot in motion despite usually lacking intrinsic importance.”
(Think of the “letters of transit” in “Casablanca” or the black sand in the champagne bottles in “Notorious.”)
Ask Republicans how to turn things around and they will intone, “Tax cuts.”
What does the White House expect will turn around President Donald Trump’s fortunes? Tax cuts.
Ask donors or GOP activists how they can hold the party together in the Trump era and they will knowingly tell you, “Tax cuts, of course.”
It’s not at all clear what would be in the tax cuts, for we have yet to see an actual plan, nor is it clear that the GOP will have the benefit of a reconciliation process that requires only 51 votes in the Senate.
For that, they’d need a budget resolution to attach the reconciliation instructions and meet the so-called Byrd Rule, which among other things prohibits any increase in the deficit beyond the 10-year window.
Before Trump’s deal on the debt ceiling last week, I didn’t think a substantial tax-reform bill with the big cuts Republicans like to dream about was going to get done.
The numbers are too difficult; the health-care fight revealed moderate senators’ squeamishness about tax cuts for the rich; they have a math problem regarding the Byrd Rule (i.e. deficits beyond the budget window); and frankly, House and Senate dysfunction is so great that I thought the idea of proceeding on something as complex as tax reform was always a…
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