The Mahablog

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The Mahablog

Endless Insanity in the New GOP House

My “congressman,” Jason Smith, was not one of the 20 or so nutjobs who held out against Kevin McCarthy in the speaker vote debacle. Smith was a pro-McCarthy nutjob. Yet he somehow got the chair of the Ways and Means Committee. I can promise you that no good will come of that, unless it’s to utterly bleep up the House Republicans somehow.

For example, Semafor is reporting that McCarthy may have promised the House nutjob fringe that he would allow the House to vote on a “fair tax” proposal, which I believe is the kind of thing that would have to go through Ways and Means.

As part of his deal to become House speaker, Kevin McCarthy reportedly promised his party’s conservative hardliners a vote on legislation that would scrap the entire American tax code and replace it with a jumbo-sized national sales tax. …

…The idea of a “fair tax” that would replace our current IRS code with a single sales tax was popularized on conservative talk radio in the late 1990s. It has kicked around Washington ever since, popping up in the occasional presidential platform, but never received a vote.

Its current champion in Congress is Georgia Rep. Earl “Buddy” Carter, whose Fair Tax Act would swap out the income, payroll, estate, and corporate levies for a 30% national sales tax. It would also send out “prebate” checks to soften the blow on lower income families, all while abolishing the Internal Revenue Service.

If people don’t like inflation, how are they going to feel about a 30 percent sales tax? I can’t imagine this has a serious chance of passing in the House, since I’m sure there are at least some Republicans who realize that this would not be a popular thing if it went into effect. And it wouldn’t have a chance in the Senate. Still, just the fact that some of the House nutjobs take this nonsense seriously says something. Where Jason Smith stands on this issue, I do not know. Smith does want to privatize Social Security, so he can’t be counted on to support anything sensible.

But one thing I do know, is that Rep. Vern Buchanan of Florida is really pissed at McCarthy now.

As I wrote last week, Republicans have been fixated on whether 71-year-old Rep. Vern Buchanan might retire from Congress after losing the House Ways & Means chairmanship to the 42-year-old Speaker’s pet Jason Smith, potentially reducing Kevin McCarthy’s margin of error from four votes to three to pass critical partisan legislation. (If McCarthy somehow loses fabulist George Santos, too, he could be held hostage by as few as two members of his already fractious House conference.) Vern’s people say he won’t retire (despite the rumblings on the Hill), but they didn’t deny that he was mighty pissed to be passed over as the most senior person on the Ways & Means committee by Smith, a member who was fifth in line.

Just how angry was he? Well, a source on the House floor during the vote told me that while McCarthy was gaveling down the votes, Buchanan walked up to McCarthy and said, “You fucked me, I know it was you, you whipped against me.” He then proceeded to chew out McCarthy’s deputy chief of staff for floor operations, John Leganski. It was shocking to see such fury from Buchanan, who’s known for being mild mannered. Indeed, I heard that the tirade was so heated that the Speaker’s security detail stepped in with a light touch. (McCarthy’s spokesperson Matt Sparks disputed this detail saying, “at no point did anyone have to step in.” A spokesperson for Buchanan declined to comment.)

McCarthy got the speaker’s gavel, but how long will he be allowed to keep it?

Note also that Marjorie Taylor Green, Paul Gosar, and Lauren Boebert are now all on the Oversight Committee. James Comer, who is eager to investigate President Biden on the documents issue but thinks Trump has earned a pass, is chair. I suspect the new Oversight Committee will be looking a lot like the old House Un-American Activities Committee in no time.

In other news, Greg Sargent writes that Biden just outmaneuvered MAGA Republicans — and they barely noticed.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas unveiled an initiative on Friday that would extend more protection against deportation to undocumented immigrants who report labor rights violations by employers.

This is a big move by the administration, one long sought by immigration advocates. Biden’s immigration record is decidedly mixed, but this would address a serious problem: Undocumented migrant workers often fear reporting workplace violations — ones they were victims of or just witnessed — because it could lead to their deportation.

Now they will have improved access to a legal process that can defer their deportations for two years and potentially extend them work permits. The hope: To encourage them not just to report unsafe or exploitative working conditions, but also to cooperate with ongoing Labor Department investigations, improving working standards for all workers.

So far, Sargent continues, the anti-immigrant Right hasn’t paid much notice to this policy change. To come out against it they’d have to come out in support of predatory employers. Well, they’ve done worse.

See also Josh Marshall, Trump’s Disappearing, and He Knows It.

3 thoughts on “Endless Insanity in the New GOP House

  1. If one thinks it was an oversight to put Green, Gosar, and Boebert on the Oversight Committee, then one is sadly mistaken.

    That was clearly done with malicious intent.

    Is that a travesty?

    Yes.  Clearly.  Absolutely.

    But on the plus side, wait until the folks in the 'burbs get a gander at the GQP's Three Stooges holding court in hearings!

    People will be hurling their dinners from laughter after seeing clips of these thimble-brains preening at their hearings on the evening news, or on the late night comedy shows!

    Of course, you can also hurl from the realization that half of our legislative branch is controlled by these malicious, malignant, nit/dim/half/fuck-wits.


  2. "…Fair Tax Act would swap out the income, payroll, estate, and corporate levies for a 30% national sales tax."

    Let me unpack why a national sales tax is "regressive", which means it hits poor people more than rich people. Look at income tax. Say you earn a million dollars per year. How much do you spend on stuff that would be taxed at 30%? Maybe $200K. MOST of your income goes into investments to make you even richer. Not having seen the small print, I have to believe housing and new cars would be exempt. So your fat-cat tax rate would be 6%. Look at the working bloke with kids – making 60K. He spends 100% of his earnings to stay afloat. Maybe 20% of his spending would be exempt (again, what's the small print on the bill.) Do the math – his tax rate is 24%.

    Next is payroll tax. Look it up – I did.

    "A payroll tax is a tax paid on the wages and salaries of employees to finance social insurance programs like Social Security, Medicare, and unemployment insurance. " Who pays payroll taxes? Half is paid by the employee and half by the employer. Do you think the employer will bump your pay up by the half he pays – or will he pocket the money? 

    Estate taxes: That's also called the "inheritance tax." Abolish it and when Trump dies, his kids get all of it. Meritocracy? Passing on huge sums of money creates pools of influence – like the Koch family.

    (And the Koch Brothers inherited their money, for example. Likewise the Kennedy dynasty. I don't think the Clintons have been doing their thing for altruistic reasons – they know huge sums of money can move the world. It's wrong.)

    And what do I have to say about eliminating corporate taxes? 

    Could ANY more malicious and devious scheme to transfer the tax burden to the middle class have been devised?

    Obviously, nothing that cruel to the regular voter has any chance of becoming law. Right? Not in a democracy. They aren't planning on keeping a democracy. Remember: democracy is rule by the majority. They (the 20 terrorists) plan to force the Senate and White House to accept the extortion demands of a credit default. Once this is passed, the terrorists can't allow free and fair elections after the plebes realize they are serfs to the upper class. 

     As I see it, (opinion) the terrorists plan to create a crisis that Biden and the Senate will do ANYTHING to prevent/end. I mean ANYTHING. Ending the IRS is the top thing on thier list. De-funding the IRS was the first bill they passed. The TEA in Tea Party stands for "Taxed Enough Already." This is a revolution paid for by the rich to end the threat of government for the people dipping into their obscene wealth to ease the burden of common people. This is a desperate gambit – I think the plan is to ram this through 'democratically' – according to the formula of votes in the House and Senate with the President signing. But once they have it, elections that could reverse the free ride for the rich and corporations can't be allowed. Nobody has shown any cards to prove that – yet. But if this tax abortion was done, it could be undone with a vengeance when the financial impact blows apart lives. If the rich can get it (which I doubt) they have a plan to keep it (which I dread.)


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