‘This is class warfare': Tax vote sparks political brawl over populism that will carry into 2018 elections
2017-12-02 — washingtonpost.com
Democrats see an opening for an attack on President Trump and Republicans as allies of the wealthy and Wall Street interests. Republicans, who watched Trump capture an antiestablishment populist mood in 2016, may find it difficult to sell a tax bill that was underwater in polls even before the mostly party-line vote on the Senate measure.
Veterans of President Barack Obama's administration, with memories of how Republicans attacked the passage of the Affordable Care Act, argued that Republicans overly optimistic and had misread the national mood. Republicans were "deluding themselves," said former Obama strategist David Axelrod, to think that voters would reward them for a tax cut.
"There are two categories of people who will benefit here -- wealthy, corporate interests, of course, who scored a bonanza, and Democratic ad-makers, who have been handed a treasure trove of egregious targets and tawdry, swamp-like images with which to work," Axelrod said.
The bill's progress has not much resembled Washington's last raids on the tax code. President Ronald Reagan's 1981 tax cut passed by super-majorities in the House and the Senate, while President George W. Bush's 2001 tax cut -- sold at first as a way to spend a surplus, then as a way to combat a recession -- attracted 13 Democratic votes in the House and 12 in the Senate. In 2010, an even larger number of Democrats voted to extend the Bush-era tax rates for people making less than $400,000, fearful that cutting them back would lengthen the Great Recession.
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