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Will Tax Reform Be A Big Test For Term Limits?

by United States Grant (Principles: Peace Through Strength) - 1 year ago

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Retiring Senators Flake and Corker can kill the Republican tax bill before it explodes the deficit but will these deficit hawks yield to pressure from the donor class?

It is a matter of faith among those who promote term limits that members of Congress, once freed from the need to seek reelection, would vote their conscience.  It is the constant need to raise money for reelection, say the term limit proponents, that forces those in Congress to sell themselves to the highest bidder.  Once reelection is no longer on the table, those members will be free to vote in the best interest of their constituents and the country.

Well, we’re about to see if that is really true.  Throughout the administration of President Barack Obama, Republicans took the position that huge annual budget deficits were destroying our country. The centerpiece at the 2012 Republican convention was a large national debt clock counting up at an alarming rate. Elect us, they said, and we will deal with this.  No Republican was stronger on reducing the debt than Senators Jeff Flake of Arizona and Bob Corker of Tennessee. Corker, in fact, has stated that he will not vote for a bill which adds even $1 to the deficit.

Fast forward to this week where the Senate will vote on a tax “reform” bill which massively cuts taxes for corporations and adds at least $1.4 trillion to the national debt over 10 years. The actual amount will likely be higher since the only thing which keeps it under $2 trillion is that gimmick that on paper, the tax cuts for low to middle income families will expire in 2027. The reality is that Congress will never let those cuts expire as the expiration would represent a huge tax increase.

So Corker and Flake have a choice. If they stick to their principles and vote no, there is a good chance that at least one other Senator will join them to either kill the bill or force major changes. On the other hand, they may decide that whatever future career they pursue, they will still need support from the same Republican donors who put them in office in the first place. In that case, principles will take a back seat to expediency and they will vote for the bill.

Thus, a no vote on tax reform by Flake and Corker will boost the case for term limits while a yes vote will undercut the entire rationale for forcing members of Congress to retire early. 

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