The latest Republican tax bill is not just an unprecedented transfer of wealth from the bottom to the very top, but a fundamental restructuring of American society, from public education and health care to the separation of church and state. According to Quinnipiac, just 25 percent of the public approves of the legislation, yet it's expected to pass as early as Friday.
Paul Krugman believes only a party as rotten to its core as the GOP would draft such a bill, much less sign it into law.
The Nobel Prize-winning economist has been railing against the proposal for weeks, and uses his latest column to remind readers just how disgraceful its rollout has been. When Republicans attempted to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) bleated about returning "regular order" to Congress. Apparently he's had a change of heart, because the Senate is set to vote without holding a single public hearing.
The Joint Committee on Taxation finds the GOP tax bill would do little to stimulate the economy and would add $1 trillion to the deficit over the next decade, but that hasn't stopped Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin from insisting its cuts will pay for themselves. What's worse, he has repeatedly cited a Treasury report that simply doesn't exist; the department hasn't even been asked to study the legislation's long-term ramifications.
"But aren't politicians always cynical? Not to this degree," Krugman writes. "This whole process involves a level of bad faith we haven't seen in U.S. politics since the days when defenders of slavery physically assaulted their political foes on the Senate floor."
If you think the GOP would have behaved any differently with Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz in the White House, think again. The Trump family may profit handsomely from the tax cuts being proposed, but the president's entire party has proven itself beholden to the donor class. For Krugman, "the rot is wide as well as deep."
"It was remarkable, for example, to see a group of Republican-leaning economists with serious professional credentials put out an open letter clearly intended to lend aid and comfort to Mnuchinesque promises of miraculous growth," he continues. "True, they didn't explicitly claim that tax cuts would pay for themselves. But they didn't clearly state that they wouldn't, either, leaving Mnuchin free to claim - as they have to have known he would - that the letter vindicated his position."
Krugman argues there's only one solution: sweep the entire party out of office. "Until or unless that happens," he concludes, "there's no telling how low the G.O.P. will sink."
Read Paul Krugman's column at the New York Times.