Just one month into the new tax bill, only those wearing left-wing ideological blinders — which unfortunately is still millions of anti-Trumpers — can deny that the Trump tax cuts are helping just about everyone.
The avalanche of news stories of Trump bonuses, pay raises, fringe benefit payments, job openings, and factories relocating to the United States keep piling up with each passing week. As many as 3 million Americans have received such pay boosts.
And the vast majority of the public still hasn’t gotten their tax cut dividend yet delivered in higher take-home pay checks.
Last month the tax bill was favored by only about one-in-four voters, but it is growing more popular every day as voters are discovering that liberals were lying all along about who really benefits from the bill. If these bonuses and pay raises are mere “crumbs,” as millionaire House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi hisses, workers want more of them.
As the old saying goes: Nothing succeeds like success.
Republicans should seize the moment of this tax cut miracle cure and make sure that the cuts don’t expire anytime soon. Only about one-third of the tax bill’s benefits are permanent. Most of the cuts for the middle class — including the lower income tax rates, the doubling of the standard deduction, and the additional $500 per child tax credit — will expire after 2024 because of arcane budget rules.
This raised the indignation of liberal Democrats who started shouting “tax hikes for the middle class.” Rep. Gwen Moore, a Democrat from Wisconsin, ranted that the Trump tax plan “would provide permanent tax cuts for multi-millionaires and billionaires,” while “all middle-class families will eventually face a tax increase.”
But fixing that problem is easy by voting to make the tax cuts permanent so no one faces a tax hike. Many Democrats would be back with their chants of “tax cuts for the rich,” except that most of what would be permanent, put money in the pockets of the middle class.
They should not use the reconciliation process, which allows a bill to pass with 51 votes in the Senate, rather than the normal 60 vote threshold.
In other words, this would be a re-vote on the tax bill that passed with only Republican yes votes in the Senate in December. All the Democrats voted no — effectively following their leaders Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Charles Schumer off a cliff to nowhere.
There is a good chance that a new vote on the tax bill could yield 60 votes in the Senate and a huge majority in the House, now that the tax bill’s economic success is irrefutable. But either way, Republicans win.
If Democrats vote yes, the cuts are cemented into law for many years to come.
If Democrats vote thumbs down again — the party appears all the more hopelessly clueless and out-of-touch with middle-class workers. They will be voting to allow middle class taxes to go up. Sen. Bernie Sanders recently said on Fox News: “[W]e should’ve made the tax cuts for the middle class permanent.” Well, Bernie, now’s your chance to do just that.
I have suggested this strategy to Republican leaders, but they are lukewarm to the idea. They don’t want to allow Democrats who represent red states and districts — people like Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Sen. Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota — to have a second bite at the tax cut apple.
They understandably want Democrats who voted no to pay a price at the polls, rather use their ill-advised no vote against them in this year’s midterm elections. The fear is that this strategy will allow the Manchins of the world to atone for the sins of their ways, but still won’t get us to 60 yes votes.
That’s short-term thinking. If a re-vote wins dozens of House Democrats and even a handful of Senate Democrats, this would prove that President Trump’s signature policy victory is now truly bipartisan. The ultimate way to win in politics is to bring the other side over to your side. This would be a long overdue concession by Democrats that the tax cut is working.
This vote would also isolate the left-wing Trump resistance movement. For the past 12 months Democrats have voted as a bloc against anything that Mr. Trump is for. A tax cut vote could be the first signs of an anti-Trump thawing within the Democratic caucus. It would help normalize Mr. Trump and his policies.
And if that happened, liberals who suffer from anti-Trump derangement syndrome would be so enraged, they are going to start twitching and laughing nervously like the deranged policy captain in the Pink Panther movies who detests the bumbling Inspector Clouseau (Peter Sellers) so much that he devotes his life to trying to kill Clouseau — always unsuccessfully. In the end he goes stark raving mad and is institutionalized in a straitjacket.
You see, either way, we win.
• Stephen Moore, a columnist for The Washington Times, is a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation and an economic consultant with FreedomWorks. He serves as a senior economic consultant to the Trump campaign.