Republicans are understandably nervous about the political position they’ve found themselves in. A year after an election that vaulted them to total dominance over the levers of federal power, GOP officials have effectively nothing to show for their efforts; Donald Trump is the least popular first-year president of the polling era; the Russia scandal is an existential crisis for the Republican White House; and Democrats just won sweeping victories in off-year elections.
It’s against this backdrop that Republican leaders are convinced that an unpopular tax plan will put things right. That’s exceedingly unwise.
Part of the problem is that many of the provisions in the plan are political suicide. The current version of the GOP legislation scraps all kinds of deductions and tax credits that enjoy broad public support. Everything from medical expenses to adoption costs to education costs are on the chopping block because Republicans can’t figure out how else to pay for their tax breaks.
GOP officials are quick to point out, of course, that the details of their plan haven’t been finalized. That’s true. But they wrote the pending legislation, and this is what they’ve put on the table for everyone to see.