By Daniel J. McLaughlin
What do you give to a man who has everything in the world for Christmas? With a vast amount of wealth and power, accruing billions and the most powerful office in the world, Donald Trump is a difficult man to buy a gift for.
The president does not want to give at the season of goodwill - instead, the former businessman wants to take away. While tax cuts may sound like a welcome present, the Republican tax plan may be a lump of coal, rather than a sweet satsuma, in the stockings for Americans.
“We’re going to give the American people a huge tax cut for Christmas," the president declared, "A great big, beautiful Christmas present!"
It took until the middle of the night for Republican senators to pass a tax bill that they believe would benefit middle class Americans. In the early hours on Saturday, GOP senators endorsed a $1.5 trillion tax cut - the final version of the bill was passed on a 51-to-49 vote just before 2am. Senator Bob Corker was the lone Republican to vote against the plan, citing concerns that it would drive up the federal deficit.
The Republicans unveiled a hotchpotch tax plan to guarantee its passage in the Senate. The complex bill was evidently last minute, released only hours before passage, with handwriting still present on the final version. The Los Angeles Times reports on late-night negotiations behind closed doors, with special deals for senators who withheld their votes: "oil drilling for Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski, medical deductions for Maine’s Susan Collins, a bigger small-business deduction for Wisconsin’s Ron Johnson (who owns part of a small business)."
The president had set an arbitrary deadline for Christmas. Santa Claus will be coming to town, as well as trillions of dollars of "unaffordable tax cuts for the richest Americans in a stunning monument to brainlessness", CNN argues. It will be a gift for the wealthiest in the country, but it will be a curse for those on a low-income.
The tax cuts will be exactly what Wall Street asked Father Christmas for in their lists, despite whether they have been naughty or nice. "Wall Street can cash in," Matt Egan and Danielle Wiener-Bronner write for CNN Money, "even if Main Street doesn't." They are not euphoric over the GOP tax plan because it will create new jobs and stronger wages - they are happy due to the amount of additional money they will rake in.
The GOP tax plan will now need to be reconciled with the House-passed version, according to the Guardian. Lawmakers need to draft a unified bill by Christmas, thanks to Trump's set-in-stone deadline, with the proposals contrasting on different key provisions, such as the corporate tax rate.
Donald Trump and the Republicans are desperate to score their first major legislative victory. The GOP tax plan will be a gift for Trump, in terms of a win and the tax cuts he could receive along with his wealthy friends, but it could be a bleak midwinter for many other Americans.