The GOP tax bill is business as usual in America’s unequal democracy

This holiday season, President Trump has promised to “give our country the best Christmas present of all — massive tax relief.” But in this case, “our country” mostly means “rich people.” When the Republican tax cut takes full effect, more than 80 percent of the benefits will go to households in the top 1 percent of the income distribution. Merry Christmas! …

In fact, the bill is historically unpopular. Among major legislative efforts of the past quarter-century, only last spring’s abortive attempt to repeal Obamacare has polled worse.

That fact has political observers scrambling to explain why Republicans are “amazingly … putting all their energy behind passing an unpopular tax bill.” “What gives?” As Ezra Klein of Vox wrote, “Politicians are meant to have an instinct for self-preservation, a sense of the public will, a fear of electoral consequences.”

But “fear of electoral consequences” seldom accounts for much of what happens in Washington. CONT.

Larry M. Bartels (Vanderbilt), Monkey Cage