Memphis In a frenzy of wheeling and dealing, the Republicans in the US Senate passed something called a tax bill that seems to have been a grab bag that certainly included taxes, but also was filled with a mixed assortment of body parts, wish lists, and IOUs that may or may not ever be able to be collected by anyone. There is only one thing that is clear: anyone who says they know what the new tax bill is going to be is lying.
I can say that with confidence even far away from Washington, D.C. and the halls of Congress for a list of reasons. The biggest, fattest one is that the Senate amalgamation has to conference with the House bag of tricks in order to try to negotiate one bill that can actually get a full vote of Congress and become the law of the land. One could call this horse trading, except that people are on the auction block, not horses, which makes the whole process even scarier.
This won’t be easy, and it will be messy, but don’t confuse that with the old saw about watching sausage and democracy being made. This is not a democratic process. People will have a lot to say, and their will be a reckoning, but that’s much later down the line while the pain is still fresh.
One of the interesting things to watch will be what happens to the odd body parts that were tacked on this bill for the Republicans in the Senate to reach 50-votes. For example, Senator Flake from Arizona got a promise in the bill for his vote that Deferred Action immigrants or Dreamers will be dealt with fairly. The House Republicans will grind that one down pretty fine. Senator Collins from Maine got a gift bag of goodies for her vote that included a tax deduction of up to $10,000 for state and local property taxes as opposed to a full repeal. She also got something of a continuing deduction for lower income families for medical expenses, but the details are not unclear, rather, they are completely unknown.
The mystery is not limited to some of these weird odds and ends, many of which are profound, like the repeal of the mandate for participation along with penalties in the Affordable Care Act, because the 500-page Senate bill’s ink was hardly dry in time for the vote. There were literally hand scribbled amendments because of the last minute nature of some of the deals, as they voted. To say that none of the Senators, on either side of the aisle, knew what they were voting for would be too kind.
The Republicans knew what mattered. They were going to give the largest gifts in the bill to big corporations and their rich donors. At this point that is one of the only certainties as this bill now gets into the grinder between the House and the Senate. The other is that at the end of this process, all of us will personally help pay for these tax cuts for business and the wealthy.
Please enjoy I Left My Body by They Might be Giants.
Thanks to KABF.