No major piece of legislation has had less public support than the GOP scheme to tax the middle class to enrich corporations and billionaires.
House and Senate Republicans have in a mad dash to pass their tax scam, steamrollering nonpartisan analysts who warn it will explode the deficit and raise taxes on the middle class, and hoping to get a unified bill out of conference this week.
One reason they are rushing appears to be that their proposal is massively unpopular.
In fact, according to a new poll, it would be the most reviled major change to public policy in decades:
A new USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll finds just 32% support the GOP tax plan; 48% oppose it. That’s the lowest level of public support for any major piece of legislation enacted in the past three decades, including the Affordable Care Act in 2009.
Americans are skeptical of the fundamental arguments Republicans have made in selling the bill: A 53% majority of those surveyed predict their own families won’t pay lower taxes as a result of the measure, and an equal 53% say it won’t help the economy in a major way.
The only recent bill that drew public disapproval this strong was the GOP’s disastrous attempt to repeal health care coverage. In July, that bill’s support hit a rock-bottom 13 percent.
And no bill in a generation that has actually become law was even close to this unpopular — not Obamacare, not the bank bailouts, not even the deficit reduction bills in the 1990s, which outright raised taxes.
The public clearly does not believe empty Republican promises that their families will be helped by tax cuts for corporations and billionaires. Especially since House Speaker Paul Ryan is openly boasting that once the bill is passed, he will start working on a plan to cut Medicare.
Nor does it help that parts of the bill are nakedly punitive toward specific states, with one provision in the Senate bill effectively taxing natural disaster losses in California but not Texas.
It should be noted that voters like the idea of tax reform in general. They want Congress to ease their own rates and close corporate loopholes. They just know that is the opposite of what Republicans plan to do.
The GOP can spin their tax scam until the cows come home, but the American people are no longer buying what they are selling. It is time lawmakers listened to their constituents and started from scratch.