Wednesday, November 29, 2017

What's Less Popular Than a Tax Hike? The GOP/Trump Tax Cut, That's What!

How do those geniuses in the GOP do it? They are hell-bent on passing a tax cut bill so bad that it polls behind tax hikes of the past. That's impressive; a triumph of ideology over common sense. Harry Enten of 538 has the goods: 
George W. Bush’s 2001 tax cut plan, for example, had approval and disapproval numbers that were basically the reverse of the 2017 Republican tax plan. A May 2001 Harris Interactive poll taken just before the bill passedshowed 49 percent of Americans in favor and 37 percent opposed. Two years later, a May 2003 Harris Interactive poll put Bush’s 2003 tax cut plan at 45 percent support to 39 percent opposition just before its passage. And when President Barack Obama signed a bill temporarily extending these Bush tax cuts in December 2010, 54 percent of Americans supported that decision compared to 42 percent who opposed it, according to an ABC/Washington Post poll.

Basically, none of these major tax cuts were net unpopular, as the current GOP bill is. Instead, the current Republican plan’s polling numbers look more similar to those of past tax hikes.
Ah, but perhaps just the very act of passing something, even if it is unpopular, will save the GOP? This seems highly doubtful. You don't solve the political problem of being unpopular (see Trump approval ratings, generic Congressional ballot) by doing more unpopular things. That makes no sense. As Amy Walter of Cook Political Report put it:
Getting a tax bill across the finish line isn’t going to be enough to change the mood of the country. It is going to take something much more significant to do that. A good economy is helpful to the GOP as it can cut down on some of the headwinds coming at them right now. But, it’s not clear to me that it’s enough to fundamentally alter the way voters see Congress, the GOP and the President.
In 2016 we made the mistake of rationalizing away the prospect of a Trump victory. He was too unorthodox. He couldn't possibly sustain momentum through the grueling primary campaign. We should not make same mistake in 2018. Sure, a lot can change between now and next November. And, Democrats have a narrow path to 24 seats - even with a big wave or tailwind.  But, do not ignore what’s right in front of us. A wave is building. If I were a Republican running for Congress, I’d be taking that more seriously than ever.
The Democratic wave-watch continues....

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