Wednesday, December 13, 2017

On tax bill, Josh Gottheimer's Problem Solving is a problem

Josh Gottheimer, the member of Congress from New Jersey's 5th District (rural west and suburban north Jersey), beat a Tea Party incumbent in 2016 and so has to be cut some centrist slack. He has made bipartisanship his brand and co-leads the self-named Problem Solvers, a caucus of about 40 reps, half Republican and half Democrat. In the summer, after ACA repeal bills failed in the Senate, the Problem Solvers put forth an ACA marketplace stabilization proposal that looked rather like the Alexander-Murray bill that later took shape in the Senate (discussed in this post). It got no traction but did no harm.

In tax bill season, though, Gottheimer's bipartisan shtick is turning dangerous, IMO.  He has said he wants to "get to yes" on a tax cut bill; he's put out a proposal, in concert with NJ Republican Leonard Lance, that avoids the most direct harm to New Jersey (restoring SALT and mortgage deductions) while ignoring the bill's overall devastation of the federal budget and disfiguration of the tax code. This too will probably do no harm...but if the bill that comes out of House-Senate conference does mostly restore the SALT and mortgage deductions, a few Democratic votes in support would be a very bad thing.

That's my working assumption, anyway - and I have a letter in arguing as much. Gottheimer's claims that his plan provides "deficit reduction" particularly stick in the craw:

Gottheimer has said he wants to “get to yes” on the tax cut bill. So, in conjunction with Republican Rep. Leonard Lance, he has taken the Republican Senate bill — which would blow a $1.4 trillion hole in the federal budget, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) — and proposed a series of adjustments that would raise the deficit by a mere ... $1.3 trillion. Gottheimer misrepresents this mild shaving of a massive giveaway to the super-rich as “deficit reduction.”  
The rest, again, is here

1 comment:

  1. Andrew:

    I am seeing the same also. There is no compromise on this as it creates a deficit, skews 66% of it to the 1% who do not need it, makes the middle and low income earners pay for it, and there is nothing simple about it. I am still looking for a bunch of Dem Senators to get on TV and denounce it in unison. That is only reserved for in-party denouncements.

    Keep up the goo work as you are correct.