GOP tax reform strategy on point (Whipple)

A column by Senator Chris Coons (11/19/17) criticizes Republicans for pushing a tax bill of their own design. Why not consult with Democrats, as President Reagan et al. did in 1986? Realistically, however, there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with the GOP strategy.

The policy ideas offered in the column, e.g., expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit and adding conditions (buy American, hire more Americans, pay higher wages, etc.) for a proposed corporate income tax cut, would do more to increase tax complexity than to reduce it

All but three Democratic senators (not including Sen. Coons) are on record as opposing any tax cuts that would benefit the affluent or add to the deficit. The Democratic letter (circa August 1) also condemned use of the reconciliation process to evade a Senate filibuster. Republicans understandably interpreted this missive as an ultimatum.

A group of Democratic senators (including Senator Coons) recently participated in a White House review of the Republican tax plan. The president phoned in from Asia and spoke for about ten minutes. Reportedly, no minds were changed as a result. Dem. senators get surprise call from Trump on taxes, politico.com,
11/7/17.

William Whipple III
Middletown

This letter was submitted with the title “It takes two to tango,” which conveys that it’s hard to act bipartisan when the opposition is so determined to call the shots.

Senator Carper was also a participant in the White House review, and his impressions of the president’s call were subsequently disclosed in a CNN interview. Sen. Tom Carper: Gary Cohn, Trump’s top economic adviser, faked bad connection to end call with boss, David Sands, Washington Times,
11/22/17.

Claiming the conversation was not helping the negotiations, Mr. Carper, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, said he suggested to Mr. Cohn that he tell Mr. Trump, “‘Mr. President, you’re brilliant! But we’re losing contact, and I think we’re going to lose you now, so good-bye.’ And that’s what he [Cohn] did, and he hung up.” The senator said the two sides [then] “went back to having the kind of conversation that we needed to."
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