Senate Republicans passed a $1.5 trillion tax bill early Saturday morning that bestows massive benefits on corporate America and the wealthy while delivering mixed blessings to everybody else. After a frantic round of negotiations, Republicans came together in near unanimity behind the landmark legislation. The final vote was 51 to 49, with Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) the lone GOP holdout. No Democrats voted for the bill. The measure still has to be reconciled with an earlier House-passed version before being sent to President Trump. Yet in getting the bill through the Senate, Republicans succeeded where they failed earlier this year, when their efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act collapsed in mortifying fashion.
With barely a vote to spare early Saturday morning, the Senate passed a tax bill confirming that the Republican leaders’ primary goal is to enrich the country’s elite at the expense of everybody else, including future generations who will end up bearing the cost. The approval of this looting of the public purse by corporations and the wealthy makes it a near certainty that President Trump will sign this or a similar bill into law in the coming days. The bill is expected to add more than $1.4 trillion to the federal deficit over the next decade, a debt that will be paid by the poor and middle class in future tax increases and spending cuts to Medicare, Social Security and other government programs. Its modest tax cuts for the middle class disappear after eight years. And up to 13 million people stand to lose their health insurance because the bill makes a big change to the Affordable Care Act. Yet Republicans somehow found a way to give a giant and permanent tax cut to corporations like Apple, General Electric and Goldman Sachs, saving those businesses tens of billions of dollars.
Since regaining power in January, congressional Republicans have embarked on a relentless campaign of proving themselves pure nihilists. The GOP spent the Obama years in a frenzy over debt and deficits. Now they are passing a tax bill that will add trillions to the national debt, complete with budget gimmicks that, if they play out the way Republicans are publicly hoping they will play out, will lead to an even higher price tag. That bill includes repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate without any replacement — a policy that will break Republican promises to stabilize insurance markets, lower premiums, and ensure more affordable and widespread health coverage. The nihilism extends to process too. Republicans complained bitterly during the Obama administration that Democrats weren’t holding enough hearings, that they weren’t leaving sufficient time to read final bill text, that they were passing important legislation on party-line votes, that they were using the budget reconciliation process improperly. Now they are passing sweeping tax reform through the budget reconciliation process with no hearings, no effort at bipartisan compromise, and bill text that was not made public until hours before the final vote. In a darkly comic twist, changes were handwritten into the legislation in the final hours.
Should a President and Congress that were installed by acts of high treason be allowed to totally rewrite the US tax code to favor the ultra-rich, while condemning millions of poor and middle-class Americans to illness, bankruptcy, and death? Because that's where we're at. pic.twitter.com/9NH7go4xh5
— Steve Silberman (@stevesilberman) December 1, 2017
Kakistocracy pic.twitter.com/OhcaMAnZOe— W. Kamau Bell (@wkamaubell) December 2, 2017
Yeah, I’m one of those weirdos who cares about my friends as well as people I’ve never met. I have this fucked-up thing where I think you can be successful without actively crushing other people to get there. Bad American, I guess. https://t.co/AAsR908wkA
— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) December 2, 2017
I’m actually in the Vietnamese Museum of Revolution right now. I just passed by a literal French colonial era guillotine. Very odd place to be just as the GOP passes its plutocratic tax bill... pic.twitter.com/OUwhkHvokG
— Hanoi Greg (@GtSibley) December 2, 2017
I wonder if this new tax bill will let me write off guillotine construction as public services
— Michael Zachary Gil™🌹 (@mzg_99) December 2, 2017
Retweeting guillotine jokes makes you immune to guillotining regardless of your tax bracket, right? Asking for a friend.
— Robert Hewitt Wolfe (@writergeekrhw) December 2, 2017