The GOP Burns Its Tax Reform Camp

Andrew Sullivan —  Mar 24 2014 @ 12:23pm

Last week the House GOP, under pressure from Wall Street, rejected the financial tax component of Congressman Dave Camp’s tax reform plan. Chait is unsurprised:

Camp’s [plan] – not just the financial tax, but the whole thing — represented a shocking moment in Republican policymaking. Here was not just a vague gesture in the direction of moderation that characterizes most Republican “reform” proposals, but a genuinely serious effort to grapple with trade-offs and impose the real, necessary pain on Republican constituencies that any such effort requires.

He adds that plan’s demise may prove telling:

The whole point of the push-back from Wall Street, which has reinforced a wildly unenthusiastic reception within the GOP, is not only to prevent Republicans from striking a deal with Democrats and actually passing a tax reform, which could happen if Republicans wanted it. … It’s to murder his plan in a public way so as to prevent it from becoming the baseline for any future Republican agenda. That effort seems to be meeting with predictable, depressing success.

Ben White And Maggie Haberman sound a similarly ominous note:

Republican elites on Wall Street and elsewhere in corporate America are now actually cheering inaction in Congress as preferable to ideas such as Camp’s. “The Camp draft catalyzed most of the business community around the notion that it was so bad, and it’s not just private equity and financial services — there were so many other punitive measures in there — that people just decided, the whole system’s broken here, nothing’s going to get done,” another senior Republican business leader said. “And that’s what we need to work toward. We need to work toward gridlock.”

In another post, Chait notes that the Tea Party seems to have jumped into bed with its one-time enemy:

[B]ecause [Wall Steet] is pushing for partisan combat rather than bipartisan cooperation, it has provoked zero backlash from conservative activists – even though it is killing a reformist, preference-eliminating, tax-rate-lowering reform that is the most promising legislative incarnation of a populist reform to have emerged in years.