A new proposal coming from the House Republicans who have taken over the chamber after the midterm election is setting off alarm bells with members of the conservative Wall Street Journal's editorial board.
Now that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has finally been sworn in and work has begun, members of the majority caucus are rushing to pass proposals they have been sitting on and a bill being forwarded by Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA) could come back to haunt the GOP when the 2024 election rolls around.
As the editors point out, Republicans can't seem to stop shooting themselves in the foot with unpopular bills that will become fodder for future Democratic attack ads.
Calling the GOP caucus "masochists," the editors cautioned House Republicans either to kill Carter's bill, which would create a national sales tax (among other changes) before it reaches a floor vote, or to suffer the consequences later.
Beginning, "Rule No. 1 in the legislative handbook is to make your opponent take the tough votes, but House Republicans may be reading it backwards. They’re set to vote on a national sales tax that won’t become law but will give Democrats a potent campaign issue," the editors added, "The point is that a consumption tax might make sense if Congress were writing the tax code from scratch. But it isn’t, and we could end up with both a national income and sales tax, the latter of which could evolve over time into a value-added tax."
Noting that the same proposal has been made before -- only to flop -- the editors pointed out that it will get a hearing due to a promise McCarthy made to Freedom Caucus members as he struggled to win their votes for speaker.
That promise they state is a big mistake.
"Democratic Reps. Pramila Jayapal and Don Beyer have chimed in on Twitter to call the tax a death blow to middle-class pocketbooks," they wrote. "These attacks don’t take much imagination when inflation is running hot, and the Fair Tax has hurt GOP candidates before. When tea party Republicans ran on the idea in 2010, Democratic groups ran ads that blasted the sales tax but ignored the other tax cuts."
They added, "The tax issue is a rare GOP advantage these days, and Republicans would be crazy to squander it with a Fair Tax vote," and then suggested, "If Mr. Carter and other supporters insist on a masochistic vote, the GOP could invoke the Freedom Caucus’s demand for 'regular order' and kill the Fair Tax in the Ways and Means Committee."
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