Unicorns often prove elusive, but unipartisanship can sometimes bring its own cornucopia. As a singular initiative of Republicans, presided over by Vice President Mike Pence, the United States Senate has passed the long-awaited tax bill, the consequences of which to your pocketbook may be computed at taxplancalculator.com. The Democrat party was uniform in its resistance to reform. Charles Schumer, who likes to remind AIPAC that “shomer” is Hebrew for “protector,” reminded Americans that the artery running through his protectorate is not Main Street but K Street.
Only Republicans, apparently, believe the two most dreaded words are “THE IRS.” For Democrats, revenue is enforced by one word, not dreadful in the least: it is all “THEIRS.”
At the moment of passage, the Democrats of the Senate — who often deride President Trump for juvenile behaviors — chanted a message to the majority: “Rue the day!” Yes, indeed, they were so certain, so confident in dismissing this as a Pyrrhic victory for Republicans. You guys may have won the battle, but you have just given us ammunition to win the war!
If the Democrats are correct in this assessment, they should be inviting me to their victory party tonight, presumably at the Javitz Center in New York City with the leftover balloons and glitter from Hillary Clinton’s big bash last November. Why did I get this silly invitation from the Heritage Foundation to celebrate? Haven’t they heard of day ruing over on Massachusetts Avenue? I suppose the Democrats think the street should be renamed Rue De Day, or if you prefer genuine Parisian, Rue Des Martyrs.
Well, they may not be entirely on the wrong track. In fact, they have given me a touch of the travel bug, and I will head over to Paris myself, to the Rue De l’Ancienne-Comédie. I think this is the oldest joke in the book, and the Dems are the punch line. Yes, I see a lot of rue in the future, and a lot of laughter, but I think Republicans will be doing the laughing and Democrats will be doing the ruing. (Economist Art Laffer is the “last laugher” again; he advised Reagan’s tax revolution and lived to see this triumph as well.)
A lot of work remains to be done. Phil Kerpen of American Commitment reminds us that employees will only see a bump in their take-home pay in February if they file a new W-4 in 2018 reflecting the new tax rules, but IRS could not prepare the form until final passage of the bill clarified all its elements. Paul Teller at the White House promises a strong push from the Oval Office to Internal Revenue to crank those forms out (I will notify TAS readers as soon as they do), because it is critical to turn those around in time to affect your paycheck soonest.
So why rue? If you are a voter in November 2018, I predict you will not be motivated to sign on with the Democrats who insist — nay, demand — that you pay every possible penny in tax to the Treasury, even if the high rate of taxation actually discourages you from starting a company to make more money. Do you prefer to pay less or more? Do you prefer to have a choice whether to purchase health insurance, or would you rather pay the Obama-Roberts tax? If you are a person — please, please tell me I am not read exclusively by liberal Twitterbots — you will save on your individual taxes. If you are a person who has the company of a spouse, you will save on your joint filing. And if you own a joint, you will save tons on your corporate rate. Ruminate on that and ye shall not rue.
We cannot take leave of each other on this historic day without celebrating the work of two beloved and respected colleagues. The great Grover Norquist of American Tax Reform has worked day and night (not even a slight exaggeration) to make this happen for decades. His fingerprints are everywhere on this bill, and the result answers for all time President George H.W. Bush’s famous question: “Who the Hell is Grover Norquist?” Additionally, he stays on top of taxation in states and municipalities, and travels around the world to advise countries everywhere to adopt Reaganesque tax policy.
Then there is the indescribable and irreplaceable Erica Suares, who is not only Mitch McConnell’s right hand, she is the entire right lobe of his brain. No one works harder than her, no one is more loyal than her, and no one understands the minutiae of each item of Senate business better than her. She is an encyclopedia, and a pleasant one at that. I have to stop here in case she reads this, in keeping with the Talmudic dictum: “Say part of a person’s praise when they are present and all of it when they are absent.” Suffice it to say that a great McConnell achievement such as this is only possible because of Erica.
As one of the Spectator Five (Tyrrell, Lord, Buckley, Goldstein, Homnick) who predicted Donald Trump’s victory back in July 2015, I have some street cred in prognosticating outcomes. As such I join the Democrats in an admittedly juvenile chant, but with a small modification, shouting at Republicans: “Rule the day!”