This is a non-healthcare post.
The GOP tax bill is a mess, riddled with math errors, ucontradictory language, and un-implementable directives.
One is a huge and possibly un-fixable problem for the GOP – unfixable without ignoring requirements to keep the deficit-increasing impact of the bill within strict limits..
Late Monday night, the news that drafters made a $289 billion mistake hit the wires, infuriating the very corporate bigwigs the bill was supposed to reward.
Without getting too far into the weeds, a last-minute addition to the bill in the Senate added the Corporate Minimum Tax back to the bill, which effectively killed a bunch of other incredibly popular tax breaks – like the Research and Development credit. That will raise costs by perhaps $289 billion.
Here’s what one totally pissed off Republican CEO said:
Robert Murray,C.E.O. of Murray Energy Corp., angrily estimated that his company’s tax bill would increase by $60 million. “What the Senate did, in their befuddled mess, is drove me out of business and then bragged about the fact that they got some tax reform passed,” Mr. Murray said in an interview. “This is not job creation. This is not stimulating income. This is driving a whole sector of our community into nonexistence.”
But both the House and Senate have passed the bill, you say, so they’ll figure it out in the Conference Committee.
Not so fast.
To “fix this”, conferees will have to find the same amount of revenue from other sources. So, other taxes are going to go up – a lot. Or the AMT for companies will have to disappear. And given the very tight timeline to get this done, and the intransigence of the “freedom caucus”, and the furor over many other provisions, the longer this thing is in the public’s eye, the less chance it has of becoming law.
And the less damage it does to health insurance companies, Medicare recipients, doctors and hospitals.
Which is a very good thing.
Folks, this stuff is complicated. We live in a very, very complex world, and there are NO simple solutions to the really knotty problems we have. It’s time to take a set aside the sound bites and get to governing.