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Kirk Kovach | University of North Carolina

The first thing to know about the GOP tax plan is that it looks nothing like what Trump campaigned on. You may have seen some of his old tweets resurface, suggesting that hedge fund managers and their ilk were getting away with murder on tax rates. On that point, the now-president was not wrong, but his colleagues in the Capitol don’t seem to care.

What makes me question the seriousness of this Congress is its sophomoric approach to its legislation. The GOP senators that have touted this as a job-creating, economy-boosting measure, do not actually have much of an idea what is in it, it seems.

Take for example the infamous trending topic on Twitter over the weekend, the #CorkerKickback. Basically, there is a provision which seems expressly to benefit real estate investors. Senator Corker can count himself among those who would benefit in spades; and, as a matter of fact, the senator seems to have seen the light on the benefits of the conference bill after this provision was tacked on.

I think you can honestly give Corker the benefit of the doubt on this. The thing is, it doesn’t sound any better if you do, because that means admitting, as he has, that he did not read the bill. The International Business Times broke the story, and a quote from the soon-to-be retired Senator from Tennessee is indicative of this entire process. With regard to the only major legislative achievement of this Congress, and with his vote likely to be the deciding factor, Corker offered this remark: “I had like a two-page summary I went through with leadership,” said Corker. “I never saw the actual text.”

So, the senator never read the bill, which hinges on his support. And, by the way, the difference between the version he couldn’t support and the one he now does? A kickback for real estate moguls like Corker. Apparently that gem didn’t make its way to Corker’s desk before his nay turned to yea.

The gist of the whole bill can be summed up by a beautiful misreading of a Nancy Pelosi quote: “We have to pass the bill so you can find out what’s in it.” When the then-Speaker said that, it was taken out of context. She was suggesting that it would be understood better once enacted because it was being misrepresented by its opponents. In the case of these Republicans, it seems that even the proponents don’t know what they are pushing onto the rest of us.



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