With one of the deepest tax cuts in U.S. history about to take effect, the long-term verdict on their popularity — and economic sustainability — will begin to take shape in a big way early next year.
Republicans are staking their legacies and immediate political futures on a strictly partisan bill that, for now, is viewed unfavorably by majorities of Americans. It’s a major political risk for Republicans, and it could be a political boon for Democrats, who have warned that the tax plan will add dangerously to the national debt while favoring the rich.
Look no further than Missouri’s two U.S. senators to see the vastly different worldviews on this legislation and how the two sides will talk about it going forward.
Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., responding to Democratic claims that benefits will accrue mostly to corporations and the wealthy, said “When they see their check for the first work done next year, sometime in January or early February, it is going to be pretty clear that no matter what people are saying, they have benefited from the tax bill.”
But Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said the strict party vote will doom the long-term popularity of the measure, along with what she predicted will be eventual pushes by Republicans to cut safety net programs to help cover a loss of $1 trillion or more in federal revenue that experts say the bill produce over the next 10 years. Its passage, McCaskill said, further demonstrates that the political middle “is on life support.”
Missouri’s delegates in the House of Representatives also were divided along party lines in their response to the tax plan’s passage. Republican Rep. Vicky Hartzler said it “will make American business competitive again,” and Missouri Republican Rep. Sam Graves said it would deliver “historic relief.”