From the beginning, it's been clear that Donald Trump is a con man. But he's not the only one. Paul Krugman writes:
I’m talking about Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House, an obvious phony who nonetheless convinced the rubes — that is, much of the news media and the political establishment — that he was a brilliant fiscal expert. What we’re witnessing now is the end of the charade, the political equivalent of what happened when graduates of Trump University tried to get some value in return for their money.
The Republican tax bill bears all the marks of the party's attempt to "repeal and replace" Obamacare:
On Thursday, House Republicans unveiled a tax “reform” bill with the same good order and careful deliberation with which they unveiled their various attempts to repeal Obamacare. That is, after having had years to prepare, the G.O.P. waited until the last minute to throw something together, without any hearings or serious analysis.
Why are they in this spot? Put bluntly, despite all the talk, they never worked out the details:
This week’s debacle was predictable from the moment, more than seven years ago, that Ryan began establishing himself as a media darling by publishing impressive-looking blueprints for fiscal reform with titles like “Roadmap for America’s Future.”
Like the bill just released, all these blueprints included huge tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy; but Ryan insisted that any revenue losses would be made up for by ending unjustified tax breaks. Which tax breaks would he eliminate? He refused to say.
These evasions worked brilliantly as a public relations strategy. Those who warned about his plans’ phoniness were ignored. Ryan even received awards for fiscal responsibility.
So now the Republicans are stuck with a plan that will blow a hole in the deficit. And the only way to fix that is to take tax breaks away from ordinary folks:
What they came up with was a hodgepodge of stuff: ending deductions for some state and local taxes, limiting deductions for mortgage interest, phasing out child tax credits, and so on.
Since the point of these measures is to offset tax cuts for the rich, they will, more or less by definition, end up raising taxes on large numbers of middle-class families.
It's a repeat of Repeal and Replace. It's clear that the Republicans are a caucus of con men and women.
Will ordinary folks catch on?