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FIRST IMPRESSION: The GOP’s Tax Reform Package Kinda Sucks

If I have a recurring criticism of Republicans in Congress it is this: they always seem to start their negotiations at where they want to end up, so they always wind up with less than the bare minimum they wanted.

The just released Republican tax reform plan kinda sucks. It is not very bold. I was really expecting more. Yes, I was expecting more even from this group of Republicans. I’d like to say I support it. I very much like the framework the House GOP released and I think even this heads in the right direction. But my initial impression is it kinda sucks and, to be honest, I was going to write here that I still think it should pass despite thinking it kinda sucks. Then I read this. It makes me wonder what else is in the legislation. And, honestly, I hate the idea of this “bubble tax.” So while I’d like to support it and intended to support it here, the article on the “bubble tax” makes me think I need to wait and see what other fine points are in the legislation. Let’s face it, a plan may be great, but the legislation is what matters.

The legislation does not dramatically simplify the tax code. In fact, in some areas it complicates it. It does not boldly shake up tax dynamics in the country. It pulls punches, so to speak, leaving a lot on the table. I think people need to understand that this actually has far less to do with House Republicans and far more to do with Senate Republicans. The House GOP had to pass legislation that can get 50 Senators to support it. The Senate GOP talks a good game, but too few of them really care to help fix our failing tax system.

The House is trying to do good and is hindered by the Senate’s lack of leadership. The House’s framework is solid and I need to dive deeper into the actual legislation before staking out a position.

I think there will be some serious opposition to a number of deductions and I think it is total hot garbage that they want to get rid of people’s ability to deduct the cost of tax preparation when they won’t actually make the tax code simple enough for average Americans to do their own taxes.

But the Tax Foundation notes that this plan will mostly benefit the middle class and everyone will see a small reduction in taxes. Again, the framework the GOP outlined was solid. I want to learn more about the actual legislation though and it concerns me that we’re only now finding out about things like the “bubble tax.” But does this plan head in the right direction? It appears to even with the “bubble tax” and perhaps the solution is to do this now and go for more next year. We’ll see.

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Erick Erickson

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