The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Cutting Off Your Nose

Karl Rove does a good job of describing the vagaries of getting tax reform legislation passed in a fractured congress. The legislative "process" combines arcane rules with duplicitous self-interest, with one party more interested in #Resistance than getting anything meaningful accomplished, and the other party more interested in "principle" and abstractions than moving the country forward. It's a mess.

Rove does, however, identify the small group that is most culpable:
The biggest obstacle is the House Freedom Caucus. This group of just over 30 Republican congressmen has already slowed up the process by threatening to vote with Democrats against the GOP budget resolution unless they can see and approve, in advance, every major provision of the tax-reform bill. The Freedom Caucus tried in late July to block the House Budget Committee’s passage of a resolution unless the border-adjustment tax was taken off the table—which it then was. Now the Freedom Caucus’s members say they’ll flake on the budget resolution if tax reform includes full, immediate expensing of business investment. But if that’s agreed to, they’ll have more demands.

These lawmakers say they want Congress to operate in “regular order,” with committees grinding away to write legislation instead of leadership handing it down. This is hypocritical bunk. What they want is for their caucus to dictate the details of tax bills to the House Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Finance Committee and the Republican majorities on both sides of Capitol Hill. Their approach is to make demands while threatening to join Nancy Pelosi in opposing the budget resolution unless they get their way.

If the Freedom Caucus acts on its threat, the budget resolution could be voted down, making tax reform impossible. No doubt, following their M.O., the group’s members would then blame the GOP leadership. Even if the resolution passes, the Freedom Caucus’s shenanigans may delay tax reform until 2018. These lawmakers are demonstrating once again that the freedom they most prize is freedom from the responsibility of governing.
There's an old aphorism about "cutting off your nose to spit your face." That's what the Freedom Caucus is doing. By sabotaging any attempt a tax reform, they are sabotaging the administration's attempt to spur economic growth. And in doing that, they're sabotaging the biggest driver (economic growth) of government revenue that might actually reduce the annual deficit and help control the ever rising debt.

The GOP Freedom Caucus is part of the problem, not part of the solution.