Has the “crumbs” sneer over tax cuts started to have an impact? A new poll from Morning Consult suggests that the GOP hasn’t pressed the advantage from its key legislative victory from December, and Democrats seem ready to double down on their condescension because of it. The trend hints that the tax cuts may have had too much of a short-term political impact to matter in the midterms, absent a real argument that voters will have to pay more with a Congress under Democratic control:
The number of voters reporting paycheck increases as a result of the tax law Republicans enacted in December has declined in recent weeks, according to a new poll that also shows increased opposition to the revised tax code.
Fifty-five percent of the 1,993 registered voters surveyed in a Morning Consult/Politico poll conducted April 19-23 said they have not noticed a boost to their paychecks in the last several weeks because of the tax overhaul, while 22 percent said they have seen an increase and 23 percent said they didn’t know.
A similar March 1-5 poll found that 27 percent said their paychecks had increased, compared with 50 percent who said they had not and 23 percent who didn’t know.
That’s an odd result, but it’s mainly within the margin of error. The tax cuts got noticed most in late January, when paychecks began reflecting the decreased withholding and companies began hiking wages and paying bonuses. Not surprisingly, they became significantly more popular, and that actually hasn’t changed much. Morning Consult notes that overall support for the tax bill was 46/36 in March, and it’s 44/39 in today’s poll. With a margin of error of ±2%, the difference is negligible, and shows tax cuts still relatively (if mildly) popular.
However, Republicans want and need a multiplier effect on these new tax rates. The more money people kept for themselves, the more popular this should have been. Perhaps the passage of massive spending increases and the reports of sharply escalating deficit spending has sapped some of the support. The lack of momentum has incentivized Democrats such as Nancy Pelosi to double down on their class-warfare schtick, such as in this cringe-inducing exchange reported first by the Free Beacon:
“You’ve spoken about the effects of the Republican tax plan, specifically referring to its effects on average Americans as crumbs,” the student said in comments first flagged by the NTK Network. “As the son of small business owners, I know that it’s helped my parent hire more employees. It’s helped us pay off our mortgage, helped put me through college.”
The student asked Pelosi if she still thought “crumbs” was a good way to describe benefits resulting from the tax law.
“Would you still refer to the effects of this tax plan on average Americans as crumbs?” the student asked.
“Yes there are some benefits that some are feeling in a particular way,” Pelosi responded. “My statement was really a fuller statement that says while they provide a banquet for the top one percent, they are giving some crumbs to other people.”
One can almost see the condescension rolling off the former Speaker’s words toward the student asking her to justify her comment. Pelosi then does a little dishonest dancing around “the life of the bill”:
Pelosi further claimed millions of middle class families will pay more in taxes as a result of the tax law.
“Here’s a tax bill that they advertise as a benefit for the middle class, and did you know 83 percent of the benefits of the tax bill go to the top one percent?” Pelosi said. “In the life of the bill, 86 million middle class families will pay more taxes.”
True … but only because the tax rates expire after eight years. In order to pass under reconciliation, Republicans had to limit the length of the tax cuts. Until then, though, working- and middle-class earners have seen real benefits, in terms of increased compensation via bonuses and higher wages, job creation, and private-sector infrastructure investment. That includes the small-business owners who sent their son to this school who ended up asking Pelosi to account for her rhetoric.
Besides, Republicans want to solve that Year Nine problem now by making the new tax rates permanent. Shouldn’t that make Pelosi and her fellow Democrats happy? Oddly, they don’t seem terribly interested in helping those lower-income workers keep more of their own money. Instead, they want to trawl it back for their own pet projects:
However, because Senate Republicans aren’t using the “reconciliation” procedure to pass a tax cut bill on party lines, Democratic support would be needed — an unlikely scenario. At least nine Democrats would have to join with Republicans to pass such a bill and break a 60-vote threshold.
“If they are interested in making the individual rates permanent that’s something we ought to take a look at. I don’t know why we wouldn’t want to do that,” McConnell said. “I’m skeptical there’s a desire here but of course we’d like to make the individual tax cuts permanent.” ….
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said his caucus would wait and see what the GOP’s bill actually does. But Democrats’ preference is to raise taxes on corporations from 21 to 25 percent and plow tax breaks for the wealthy into a massive infrastructure bill.
The corporate tax rates are already permanent, though. The question is whether Democrats who keep talking about “crumbs” want to give individuals the same level of certainty about their own finances and taxes. They seem less interested in taking action to match their stated concerns, and more interested in just getting more cash for more spending.
Expect Democrats to keep up their class warfare attacks on the tax cuts, with the ruling class being foremost in their minds. Republicans had better find more effective ways to sell the tax cuts as beneficial to working families, or else they may get forced into “I told you so” arguments when Democrats take control of Capitol Hill.