For the love of God, name it whatever Trump wants. This is the one thing he’s indisputably great at. He destroyed Jeb Bush’s chances at being president with two words, “low energy.” He won the nomination demanding that we “build the wall.” The “Crooked Hillary” sobriquet may have stuck in enough people’s minds to amplify the impact of the Comey letter last October. He knows what he’s doing.
House Republicans think “The Cut Cut Cut Act” is silly and simplistic, not to mention unrepresentative of their true ambition, which is tax reform. No doubt Ryan would prefer something sonorous like “The Tax Reform and Regulatory Simplification Act of 2017.” Fark that. Let the branding guy, who’s proved that he knows how to win a national election, handle the branding.
Less than 24 hours before the bill is slated to be revealed, the name of the bill has still not been settled and there is still dispute over the name, according to a senior congressional aide and a senior White House official…
The sources said it’s been decided that the Ways and Means Committee will have the final say over the name…
Ryan initially kicked the naming over to Trump because of his penchant for branding, according to a senior Hill aide…
“The fact that he wanted to name the bill, that is hilarious and perfectly illustrates how — in things both large and small — the Hill can’t quite figure out Trump,” said a person with direct knowledge of the dispute.
Ardent Trump critic Ben Shapiro admits the obvious:
Let's be real: The Cut Cut Cut Act is better branding than anything the GOP has come up with in 20 years.
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) November 1, 2017
Whom do you trust with your sales effort, the guy who won the Rust Belt or the guy who ran on entitlement reform as VP nominee four years earlier? Ryan should take what he can get here. Trump’s first choice for a name was probably something like “The Cut The Sh*t Out Of Taxes Act” or “The Really Big, I Mean Huge, Tax Cuts Act.”
In Ryan’s defense, though, apart from not wanting to spend the next month or two having to say “cut cut cut” on camera 50 times a day, there’s a reason to resist Trump’s branding. Josh Barro notes that it doesn’t cut, cut, cut for everyone and a lot of taxpayers are destined to notice that if it passes:
The exact figures will depend on the details in the legislation to be released, but the Tax Policy Center estimated 25% of American households would face a tax increase under the Republican plan by 2026.
The “Cut Cut Cut” name would therefore lead to an awkward question from many voters: If this bill is about cutting and cutting and cutting taxes, why are my family’s taxes going up? Why am I losing my personal exemptions and my state and local tax deduction? Why can’t I contribute as much to my 401(k) as I used to?
Imagine if ObamaCare had been named “The ‘If You Like Your Plan You Can Keep Your Plan’ Act.” On the other hand, Trump is so good at branding that the “cut, cut, cut” moniker may become its own quasi-truth, at least among his base. Name the bill that and have pollsters ask people two years from now if literally *everyone* got some money back from the “cut, cut, cut” law and I bet you’ll have upwards of 85 percent of Republicans saying yes.
What’s Ryan’s top choice, anyway? “The Whatever The Chamber Of Commerce Wants Act”? Given the apparent improbability of Republicans passing any major legislation, a conservative friend suggests calling it “The We Ain’t Doing A Damn Thing Act” instead.