‘Absolute Hypocrisy’: GOP Unveils Bill to Make Trump Tax Cuts Permanent While Howling About Debt

Yves here. Republicans know full well that in the US, tax cuts are a ratchet (and a racket): only at best moderately hard to implement, extremely difficult to roll back. And the cuts typically result in lower service levels that feed criticisms that government does a bad job…when private sector service levels win no prizes. I get much better service at the more competent government bodies (Medicare and the New York State Department of Financial Services, for instance) than I do from any of the companies that have me as a customer.

By Jake Johnson. Originally published at Common Dreams

A group of more than 70 House Republicans introduced legislation this week that would make elements of the 2017 Trump tax cuts permanent, delivering a huge windfall to the rich and choking off more federal revenue at a time when Republican fearmongering over the national debt is at a fever pitch.

Led by Reps. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) and Michael McCaul (R-Texas), the TCJA Permanency Act, would cement into federal law tax cuts for individuals that are set to expire at the end of 2025.

The original 2017 tax law, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, made most of its corporate tax provisions permanent. In a statement Wednesday, the Biden White House said Trump and congressional Republicans “deliberately sunset portions of their tax giveaway” in order to “conceal how much their plan added to the debt.”

According to a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis released last year, extending the individual provisions of the Trump-GOP tax law would cost around $2.2 trillion through 2032. A separate Tax Policy Center analysis estimated that the extension would deliver an average tax cut of $175,710 to the richest 0.1%.

“It’s no surprise that the House majority wants to spend trillions of dollars to extend the Trump tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations—but it’s absolute hypocrisy from the same members who are pushing us to a debt limit crisis on claims they care about the deficit,” said Lindsay Owens, executive director of the Groundwork Collaborative.

“Congress should be working together to invest in worker and family priorities and increase taxes on the rich—not give them another handout,” Owens added.

The House Republicans unveiled their legislation as they’re continuing to obstruct efforts to raise the nation’s borrowing limit in a bid to secure deep cuts to food aid, healthcare, and other critical social programs, claiming such spending reductions are necessary to address the rising national debt.

“The national debt is over $31 trillion,” McCaul tweeted last month. “We can’t afford to hand that down to our children.”

In a recent opinion column, Buchanan called the national debt a “ticking time bomb,” not mentioning that his party’s push to extend tax cuts for the rich would contribute to the total.

“The same Republicans who claim we can’t ‘afford’ to invest in affordable housing, better healthcare, and accessible child care aren’t blinking an eye at the fact their push to extend the Trump tax giveaways for the ultra-wealthy would add trillions of dollars to the federal deficit,” Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.), the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee, toldMSNBC on Wednesday.

“Republicans will cut taxes for the mega-rich and well-connected while holding our economy hostage to force punishing cuts to programs American families rely on—that should tell you everything you need to know about Republicans’ priorities,” Boyle added.

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  1. griffen

    Somewhere locked away in a cushy chamber, Grover Norquist smiles with an impish grin. At last, the Koch brothers will have their final wishes to come true. Paying taxes, never again ! \sarc

    Smaller government Republicans. Are they like seeing a leprechaun with a bowl of Lucky Charms, while riding on your personal unicorn? Since none of these items are actual or real. Republicans in charge of the USA spending habits are just as horrible at spending too much as the other side when the Democrats are in control. And over the long term, Republicans are possibly worse.

    1. John Makowiec

      The only difference I see is republicans want to spend but not tax to pay for it. Democrats also like to spend but often want to impose a tax to pay for it.The big difference is what the parties want to spend on.Actually we have 4 parties. Neoliberal democrats which are actually more like republicans than democrats. They run as democrats because they couldn’t be elected as a republican. This is the majority part of the party. Sanders type democrats. These are what democrats used to be before Clinton. They are in the minority.For republicans you have a few left leaning republicans.Romney is an example. Presently the majority of republicans are far right Tea party types. They for the most part control the party. In fact both parties are more alike than different. They no longer work together to compromise because it is portrayed as being weak.The result is not much gets accomplished.The system is broken because money controls both parties.

      1. John R Moffett

        Exactly precise. Once the government let people hoard billions of dollars, the game was over. You can’t control people with that much bribing power. They will (and do) always get their way eventually. The Red Team wants to let the oligarchs accumulate even more wealth, and people like Biden may pretend to complain, but they are just as happy to let it happen. So the end result is that government is fully captured by the oligarchs, and nothing can be done because government can no longer do anything about it (except argue about how much more accumulation they will allow).

        This won’t end until there is some type of collapse and lots of pain for the general public. Maybe then the pitchforks will come out.

      2. Ozz

        The democrats are the Tax and spend party… the Republicans just spend. Every time they get a majority they rail on the debt then pass budgets with huge deficits.

        They always want to cut social spending and raise corporate interests up like taxes and reduced compliance to gov regulations. I am over 60 it has been this way since I could vote. Why do we even talk about it anymore? Since Americans do not negatively react to this what are we to make of our fellow citizens?

        1. jobs

          DC has for at least a couple decades now been successful in marketing national politics as a spectator sport with roughly two teams with overlapping goals. So that is what most people are nowadays – spectators, as with football.

  2. TomDority

    In spite of the ingenious methods devised by statesmen and financiers to get more revenue from large fortunes, and regardless of whether the maximum sur tax remains at 25% or is raised or lowered, it is still true that it would be better to stop the speculative incomes at the source, rather than attempt to recover them after they have passed into the hands of profiteers.
    If a man earns his income by producing wealth nothing should be done to hamper him. For has he not given employment to labor, and has he not produced goods for our consumption? To cripple or burden such a man means that he is necessarily forced to employ fewer men, and to make less goods, which tends to decrease wages, unemployment, and increased cost of living.
    If, however, a man’s income is not made in producing wealth and employing labor, but is due to speculation, the case is altogether different. The speculator as a speculator, whether his holdings be mineral lands, forests, power sites, agricultural lands, or city lots, employs no labor and produces no wealth. He adds nothing to the riches of the country, but merely takes toll from those who do employ labor and produce wealth.
    If part of the speculator’s income – no matter how large a part – be taken in taxation, it will not decrease employment or lessen the production of wealth. Whereas, if the producer’s income be taxed it will tend to limit employment and stop the production of wealth.
    Our lawmakers will do well, therefore, to pay less attention to the rate on incomes, and more to the source from whence they are drawn.

    Written around 1925

  3. britzklieg

    The real question is, when was the last time the Democrats did not support making most GOP tax cuts, especially tax cuts for the already wealthy, permanent?

    Honestly, I don’t have the patience to read the link below with much scrutiny as I am sure it will offer rationales for doing so, including crumbs for the working class – the ever present porcine maquillage. But in the long run, the beltway always knows and rewards those who butter its bread.


  4. jefemt

    Porcine Maquillage! Is that an inside The Beltway weekend garage band?
    Mike Huckabee on Bass? Jeff Skunk Baxter on Guitar, Bill Horn Dog Clinton on sexiphone?

  5. John

    Permanent until changed by a Congress yet to be. Debt screechers and hypocrites? Inconceivable. Hat tip Vizini in Princess Bride

  6. David Swan

    There is no evidence that any portion of Trump’s tax cuts have “sapped revenue”. Revenue numbers have stayed largely the same – less taxes = more employment = more tax revenue. Please observe the facts.

    1. Felix47

      If this proposal includes no SALT tax deduction as Trump put in I am for it. My bet is they are going to get the Dems to go for it by bringing it back. That deduction was obscene and focused on very high earners. Getting rid of it was one of the few liberal things Trump did.

        1. hunkerdown

          Those were anti-liberal, actually. They devalorized those things with respect to the market.

          We really need to stop playing into the classical conditioning game of valorizing the word “liberal”.

  7. Runciter

    David Swan is correct – total Federal government revenue has increased from $4.05 T in 2015 to $4.90 T in 2022.

    In any case, the Dems controlled Congress + Executive branch for two years and have done little to change the tax code, outside of relatively cosmetic changes via the Inflation Reduction Act and the Secure 2.0 act.

    And the Dems *still* control the Senate and the Executive branch now. We’ll see if they oppose or cave into (e.g. support) any tax cuts the Republican house proposes.

    1. TimD

      Hmm let’s see, the national debt went from $18 trillion in January of 2015 to $29.5 trillion in January of 2022, meanwhile GDP growth averaged 2%, or about $500 billion per year. So it makes sense that revenues went up but it wasn’t the only number that was increasing.

      Back in the 60s when marginal tax rates were much higher, real GDP growth averaged 4.5%, now with all the tax cuts, economic growth is less than half that. Does that mean lower taxes lead to slower growth?

    2. Kurtismayfield

      Those revenue increases came in 2020-2021.. and we’re mostly the result of the stock market run up. The same thing happened in 1998-1999.. yet Clinton somehow got credit for balancing the budget temporarily. Tax revenue was flat for the first 3 years of the Trump tax cuts.

      Meanwhile the Republicans at the time had no problem with spending increases.

  8. Kurtismayfield

    Totally flat, that is the problem. The same people who wanted the cuts did not instill any spending discipline. As far as I am concerned, they don’t deserve to keep the cuts if they couldn’t keep the budget balanced.

  9. chris wardell

    Middle class culture, any culture, can only stand if it is rewarded. In prior times middle class culture was fundamentally supported by the upper classes, who invested in America, creating vast wealth.
    They modeled sobriety, hard-work, risk and reward. The working classes modeled the behavior through church and labor guilds, standing together for each other and the nation.
    The wealthy have abandoned America, and the working classes have abandoned religion, guilds, and each other. Into that void steps cultural anarchy.
    Society requires hard-work, and discipline. It requires accountability, primarily of the wealthy. I tire of prose that lament the loss of culture without holding those accountable who have abandoned their responsibilities.

    1. hunkerdown

      That’s all Puritan casuistic cant. It would be better for “middle class” (your words) culture to be abolished because that class does nothing but run interference for capitalist elites and create new means of keeping the working class poor, captive, and servile. Humanity would be better without classes and the arrogance they entail.

  10. JR

    Just a snippet:

    -“CBO estimated that TCJA will increase the primary deficit by $1.8 trillion through 2028 and raise deficits (including net interest payments) by $2.3 trillion.” Tax Policy Center, Effects of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: A Preliminary Analysis (June 13, 2018).

    What was it Plato and Aristotle said about the middle class…Hmm…

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