Unreasonable, Unbelievable, Unconscionable: The 2018 Tax Bill

Hi Joel,

Like a lot of us, I imagine, I’ve been wrung out these last few weeks following (or trying to follow) tax bills in Congress. Since no one really knows what the Senate bill contains, it’s not possible to offer commentary confidently, but that itself is a fact worth talking about: We have a Congress that is so disrespectful of us that it refuses to let us read the laws that will govern us.

In the viciousness, cruelty, and disdain for everyday people and hostility to the democratic process we saw over the weekend, there might be some reasons to feel hope.

The middle-of-the-night GOP vote is an act of cowardice, and cowards are people who know that they will lose in a fair fight. This is also why the GOP suppresses votes and gerrymanders. Their bad ideas can’t win unless Republicans cheat. They know it. We can make them stop cheating.

Secondly, the GOP had no reason to compromise. Sure, there were lots of good ideas for tax reform that could have been supported by people of both parties, but the GOP went for none of them, and it pursued a process dismissive of constituents. This is because Congressional Republicans don’t answer to voters. (They hate voters, because voters do not chose their bad ideas. This is why some of them call for a repeal of the 17th amendment.) They answer to donors. At the midterm elections, the anti-Republican wave is going to be strong, as this past November’s statewide elections suggested. A reasonable tax bill would not persuade those voting for Democrats to stay home, but it would have angered donors. In other words, the GOP is on the run, and the only place it can go is into the pocket of rich donors.

Those of us who respect democracy need to change the narrative about who the GOP is for. Wealthy people are smart to vote for the GOP, in the sense that their own short-term interests are best served by GOP policies (that is, if they don’t mind, long-term, living in nation in which the future isn’t educated or employed or has roads or fire stations or advancement in medical treatments or all the other things taxes fund). But for those poor and middle class people whose Trump votes continue to confound common sense, we can remind them of the real life consequences for them. Indeed, their H & R Block consultant soon will.

Image result for mitch mcconnell

Above, Mitch McConnell wears a shit eating grin. 

I don’t want to overstate the case, particularly because white people will self-inflict a lot of wounds in order to protect their whiteness. But I think more public discussion, especially at the state level, can help. Local and state Republicans will have to explain how the national party’s choice to end the state tax exemption hurts people they have to look at face to face. In Kansas, that’s about 26% of voters; in Utah, it’s 35.4%.

Whatever is in that piece of garbage that the Senate passed this weekend will eventually have to be explained, and, in all likelihood, it’s unbelievable.

Like, literally. In the 2012 election when a PAC supporting Obama’s re-election campaign explained to the proposed Romney-Ryan budget plan that would dramatically reshape (and reduce) Medicaid in order to give tax cuts to the rich, people didn’t believe it. Why would a politician seek to serve the interests of the rich, who don’t need help, at the expense of the most vulnerable?

Yeah, like our incredible wealth gap, it’s unbelievable, except that it’s true.

The Republican plan is such an assault on the basic American value that people who work hard should get ahead and those who are already head don’t need extra help that everyday Republicans just can’t believe it. So they don’t.  Democrats need to remind them that, no, this is true.

It’s also unconscionable. The Wex Legal Dictionary defines unconscionability this way:

A defense against the enforcement of a contract or portion of a contract.  If a contract is unfair or oppressive to one party in a way that suggests abuses during its formation, a court may find it unconscionable and refuse to enforce it.  A contract is most likely to be found unconscionable if both unfair bargaining and unfair substantive terms are shown.  An absence of meaningful choice by the disadvantaged party is often used to prove unfair bargaining.

What Congress did these last few weeks was abusive of the process of democracy; the formation of the tax bill in the Senate, in particular, occurred under unfair bargaining terms.

It’s unreasonable, unbelievable, unconscionable. Here’s hoping that Republican voters will figure that out sooner than later.








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