Picture the scene in your mind: It's Christmastime, and the Washington Post editorial board is having one of its last meetings before the end of the year. There's a tinseled tree in the corner, egg nog on the table, managing editor Cameron Barr is wearing his best ugly sweater and the mood is bright and cheerful--except for poor Jennifer Rubin, who sits by herself at the far end of the room, her dour expression like that of Ebenezer Scrooge contemplating the price of a lump of coal before slipping it into Tiny Tim's stocking.
"Oh, come now," Barr says to her. "It's Christmas, Jen! Sure, Donald Trump got his tax cut--but he hasn't been on Twitter in days. He isn't even taking Eminem's bait. How about you find something else to write about, just this one time?"
A glimmer then appears in Rubin's eyes. She puts down her egg nog, which Barr secretly spiked with the Pepe Lopez tequila Bob Woodward gave him as a gag gift, as the barest hint of a smile touches her lips.
"Yes," she says, nodding slowly.
Barr leans in anxiously.
"Of course," Rubin continues, the glimmer in her eyes becoming a spark.
The excitement swells within Barr, so much he can barely contain it.
"Why didn't I think of it before?" Rubin asks, the spark becoming a fire.
Barr can't wait any longer. "What is it, Jen? Tell me!"
Rubin stands up slowly, balling her hands into fists so tightly the knuckles crack.
"Ivanka!" she growls, dashing out of the room and straight to her desk, where she begins typing furiously.
"Well, I tried," Carr shrugs. "Now where did I leave that bottle of Pepe?"
You have to give Rubin her props, though--nothing clickbaits like Ivanka Trump, and given the level of thought that went into her latest #NeverTrump screed, we're talking about a maximum return on investment with a minimum of effort. Even the Donald himself would like that business model. Here's how Rubin announced things on Twitter:
Maybe it's just me, but Jennifer Rubin pooh-poohing 75 extra bucks in Joe Sixpack's wallet recalls the huffiness of Leona Helmsley's remark about tax laws being for the little people. But what's up with the Ivanka hate? Even Rosie O'Donnell couldn't help but like her, and we all know Rosie's feelings about dear old daddy. Maybe, like Lucy from Peanuts, Rubin didn't get the real estate she wanted for Christmas. Whatever the reason, she comes off as pretty cranky:
She’s a walking advertisement for the danger of nepotism, an exemplar of class privilege and a perfect representative for Republican know-nothingism. She was supposed to be the brains of the family and the moral ballast; instead, she’s a self-righteous enabler.
Ivanka, I just met a girl named Ivanka... Say it loud and there's music playing... Say it soft and it's almost like praying...
She was out talking nonsense again on Thursday: “I’m really looking forward to doing a lot of traveling in April when people realize the effect that this has … The vast majority will be [doing their taxes] on a single postcard.” Thunk. There’s no postcard. That was a prop. And the filing for the first year under the new tax code will be in 2019.
Well, crap. I guess we better call Congress back from recess and have them scrap the whole damn thing. Or better yet, we could just be happy that we'll all start seeing more money in our paychecks starting at the beginning of 2018. Given that most people don't really look forward to filing their taxes, I don't think they'll be too upset over the postcard thing.
She also declared of Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), who decided to vote for the final tax bill after voting no on the Senate version: “He really believes that tax relief, coupled with the administration’s deregulatory actions, will create the growth that will start to erode and ultimately eliminate the national debt that has been accrued over the last several decades.” I’m confident Corker believes no such thing because that would be preposterous, unsupported by any reputable economic analysis.
Finally, something that doesn't make Rubin sound like the Grinch bitterly staring down at Whoville with a mixture of jealousy and contempt. It's true that even the rosiest projections of economic growth are unlikely to offset the deficits that will be created by tax reform. Then again, the last administration burned through $1 trillion worth of porkulus like Richard Pryor in Brewster's Millions and didn't even have a lousy T-shirt to show for it. At least with the tax cut, people will get more jobs and bigger paychecks. That kind of party is worth the hangover.
But there is the small matter of that $75...
She’d like to tout the child tax credit, but that, too, is less than advertised. Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who championed the child tax credit, came on board with very little inducement. “Rubio and Lee didn’t get the biggest change they wanted, which was to apply the credit to low-wage workers’ entire income. Under their proposal, a minimum-wage worker making $14,500 would get a $494 tax credit; under the current bill, she’ll get only $75, according to the liberal Center [on] Budget and Policy Priorities.”
From this talk, you'd think that Lee and Rubio took the $419 that never made it into the tax credits and used it to light up their cigars. Alas, no--they actually fought pretty hard for what they got, with Rubio even threatening to torpedo the whole thing if he didn't get those credits, which were offset by making the corporate tax rate 1% higher than in the original bill. Also, Rubin forgets to mention that folks who get that credit owe no federal income tax in the first place--which means that they're getting a net benefit from other taxpayers. But never mind. To Rubin, Rubio and Lee were so chintzy they might as well have been donating muffin stumps to the homeless.
How this is proof of Ivanka's cluelessness is anybody's guess, though, and probably requires a level of crazy known only to those Japanese soldiers who didn't know World War II had ended--and #NeverTrumpers who view the 2016 election the same way. All I can do is hope that Rubin gets the help she needs--and maybe something nice for herself as a Christmas present. I hear Ivanka's fashion line is lovely.