In 1993, the Democrats had unified control of government for the first time since History's Greatest Monster, and they decided to pass the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993. Yup. Reconciliation. As in, let's duck a filibuster in the Senate so that we don't have to worry about trying to get any minority party votes, which we won't get.
Anyway, the bill included tax increases, which was why they weren't going to get minority party votes. When you read about Bill Clinton raising taxes, that's it. That's the thing. And, um, funny story. It passed by a single vote in the House of Representatives. Her name was Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky. She was the final vote to pass the 1993 budget. As she cast her vote, the Republicans taunted her that she wasn't going to stick around much longer. You see, she represented a very close district, and midterm elections swing against the party of the president.
As it turned out, Margolies-Mezvinsky was one of the Democratic incumbents who lost her seat in the 1994 election, which brought the GOP the House majority for the first time in four decades. She served a total of one term in the House. The popular legend is that her vote for the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act was what did her in. Realistically, she was a vulnerable, first-term Democrat facing a Republican wave in 1994. She was in trouble anyway, but the vote probably didn't help. It wasn't a popular vote, and as David Brady, John Cogan, Brian Gaines and Douglas Rivers argued in "The Perils of Presidential Support," (Political Behavior Volume 18, Number 4), Democratic incumbents who were too close to Clinton did
Post-script for Margolies-Mezvinsky. Her son married Chelsea. Crass joke for the morning: was that vote a dowry? (I've told way worse than that...)
Anywho, policy actions have consequences. Sometimes.
The Republicans are poised to pass a tax bill. I hesitate to call it tax "reform" because, it's a tax cut. As simplifications go, this thing ain't much of a simplification. Mostly, it is a corporate tax cut surrounded by a bunch of other stuff intended to keep it within a $1.5 trillion price tag over a 10-year period to stay within the confines of the budget resolution the GOP passed for itself. It's a tax cut, rather than serious reform.
Still, the odds of passage are very high.
Then what? Elections aren't governed by Newtonian mechanics. There's no action-reaction to it. Nevertheless, the bill is quite unpopular, and understandably so. It is mind-bogglingly stupid. But, the dumbest stuff isn't even the most unpopular stuff.
I've ranted before about the insanity of "skinny repeal," so I won't bother again today, but once that goes into effect, there are some potentially disastrous consequences. Add to that tax increases on middle class voters, and all to play smoke and mirror games. You want to cut corporate taxes? Cut corporate taxes. The GOP started with the notion of a 20% corporate tax rate, and a $1.5 trillion deficit increase over 10 years, without any plan on how to reconcile those two.
Oh, and they are attacking funding for universities, and trying to make tuition waivers taxable. Obviously, education didn't do these people any good, so why should the taxpayers subsidize anyone else, right?
The basic problem, in accounting terms, is the old compressibility issue of attempting to fit two decapounds of fecal matter into a single container designed to hold only one decapound. See? The metric system is easy! Water is not compressible. Are tax cuts? I guess we'll find out!
And all they had to do was just pass a budget resolution with a higher cap on the deficit increase.
Regardless, the problem the GOP is having is that the tradeoffs they are making in order to fit the 20% corporate tax rate into the $1.5 trillion limit are... 20 pounds of shit. Per capita. Once "skinny repeal" goes into effect and the individual healthcare markets start going nuts, problems ensue.
Will the GOP face any electoral consequences, the way Margolies-Mezvinsky did?
There are two possible mechanisms: the health insurance consequences, and the tax consequences. Each is a big, separate question. I guess I'll have more to write! More to come...