In defense of the GOP and Mitch McConnell (and before anyone chastises me for that, hear me out), it’s not realistic to think that anyone actually reads all the legislation that gets voted on.
That’s a truly absurd state of affairs, but the fact is, lawmakers tunnel on what’s important to their constituents (that’s part of holding public office) and what we end up with is slapdash public policy.
In a way, it’s all crowd sourced. You cobble something together and hopefully, it ends up representing the general public interest by virtue of the fact that self-preservation requires lawmakers to fight for/against whatever parts of a given piece of legislation impact their constituents. Of course crowd sourcing is inherently flawed and when you introduce partisanship into the equation, the whole thing becomes a giant cluster fuck. Meanwhile, it’s incumbent (get it?) on party leaders to take a kind of 30,000 foot view of things in an effort to push for legislation that subjugates narrowly-construed, local interests to the broader party agenda (i.e. in-line with the donors).
Given all of that, the fact that no one actually read the tax cut bill that barely passed the Senate in the wee hours of Saturday morning and the fact that the legislation is clearly aimed at advancing the interests of corporations and the wealthy isn’t exactly a surprise. No one reads this shit save for the parts that matter to their constituents and Republicans control the government. Therefore, we got what we got: a tax cut bill that disproportionately benefits corporate America and the rich and that seeks, once again, to give trickle down economics a try even though history shows it never fucking works.
So when I say “in defense of the GOP and Mitch McConnell”, all I mean is that you can spare me the incredulity because everyone knew this was coming and there’s nothing “new” about the process.
Neither, by the way, is there anything particularly shocking about the fact that a party full of purported deficit hawks advanced a piece of legislation that balloons the deficit. These party-line “principles” get tossed out the window when political expediency requires it, and that goes for both Republicans and Democrats.
Ok, with all of that said, this was a particularly egregious example of a dynamic that is ubiquitous. For one thing, this is a pretty big piece of legislation, so if ever there were a time when everyone should take a breather and actually read the damn thing, this was it. Further, this looks like it was even more farcical than usual. Have a look at these tweets:
— Senator Dick Durbin (@SenatorDurbin) December 1, 2017
They are scribbling changes in the margins. What could possibly go wrong. https://t.co/dXtHjc1JDm
— Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) December 1, 2017
— Senator Dick Durbin (@SenatorDurbin) December 2, 2017
So much for regular order! Oh yeah sure, we'll have plenty of time to read the final GOP tax bill – if you can make out the scribbled handwriting snuck into this massive, unsearchable PDF. #GOPTaxScam pic.twitter.com/a64mNovvHQ
— Senator Bob Menendez (@SenatorMenendez) December 1, 2017
.@SenateMajLdr, if you are so intent on forcing middle class families to foot the bill so your donors can have a tax break, at least have the decency to find a printer. #GOPTaxScam pic.twitter.com/qFkfaru6ml
— Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi) December 1, 2017
I was just handed a 479-page tax bill a few hours before the vote. One page literally has hand scribbled policy changes on it that can’t be read. This is Washington, D.C. at its worst. Montanans deserve so much better. pic.twitter.com/q6lTpXoXS0
— Senator Jon Tester (@SenatorTester) December 2, 2017
Ultimately, we shouldn’t act like this is a surprise, but on the other hand, we certainly shouldn’t pretend like this is something that is acceptable from our elected officials. This is a complete and utter debacle, and everyone (including the GOP) damn well knows it.
The only thing that matters here is getting this thing done by the end of the year so Trump and Republicans don’t have to suffer the embarrassment of having to admit they didn’t get a single thing done in 2018.
That is not a good excuse for doing a half-assed job when it comes to passing a tax plan that literally no one besides corporations likes or really even wants in the first place and that pretty much every nonpartisan analysis has shown is doomed to fail.