It is a testament to the power of self-delusion that Republicans have convinced themselves that their political self-interest demands that they pass a deeply unpopular tax-cut plan. The House has designed a proposal that not only violates Senate budget rules but seems virtually designed to seed an endless supply of attack ads against congressional Republicans.
A Washington Post poll provides a good starting point for measuring public opinion at the outset of the tax debate. Only one-third of Americans support the plan, against half opposing it. Sixty percent of the public believe it favors the rich. To the extent that people learn more, support is likely to fall even lower.
The bill contains three categories of political poison. First, it cuts taxes on rich people and corporations, a wildly unpopular goal. Americans want to raise taxes on corporations and people with high incomes. Republicans would do the opposite.
[…] The plan reads as if it was reverse-engineered from 30-second political attack ads. And while it seems very unlikely that Republicans actually designed their proposal by asking Democratic ad-makers for a list of the most sympathetic people in America — veterans, orphans, the disabled, people suffering rare diseases — the effect will be the same.
Republicans could have written a tax-cut plan that hurt nobody. Or they could have written a sweeping tax reform that could stand for years. Incredibly, they have done neither. They have taken on all the political downside of tax reform — but because their plan can’t pass the Senate, they will get none of the upside.