April 10, 2017

BIPARTISAN DEALS ARE GENERALLY OVERRATED ANYWAY: Democrats’ Conditions for Tax Overhaul Make Bipartisan Deal Unlikely.

Democrats say they oppose net tax cuts and will resist proposals that mostly benefit high-income households. Those priorities diverge from President Donald Trump’s repeated promise to “cut the hell out of taxes” and congressional Republicans’ plans to lower marginal tax rates and repeal the estate tax.

“Tax reform’s got to be responsible and it’s got to be progressive,” said Sen. Ben Cardin (D., Md.).

Republicans made overtures across the aisle in recent weeks and, in theory, Democratic participation on tax policy could ease legislative challenges for Republicans vexed by slim House and Senate majorities and internal disagreements. By attracting Democratic votes, Republicans could overcome procedural hurdles without uniting fractious wings of their own party.

There is, at some level, rhetorical room for agreement. Mr. Trump says middle-class tax cuts are a top priority. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) says he’s aiming for his plan to be revenue neutral—collecting as much money over the next decade as the current system does. Mix Mr. Trump’s class rhetoric, Mr. Ryan’s budgetary promise and the prospect of spending on infrastructure and there is a recipe for bipartisanship.

Even WaPo’s Wonkblog admits that “America’s taxes are the most progressive in the world,” but maybe Capitol Hill could agree to a “conspicuous consumption” levy on immodest third homes.