Flake and Corker Played a Dangerous Game on Tax Reform

Flake and Corker risk creating a purity test in GOP primaries based on loyalty to Trump.

UPDATE: This piece has been updated to reflect Senator Jeff Flake is now embracing the GOP's tax plan.

Senators Jeff Flake and Bob Corker were holding the Senate Republicans' tax plan hostage to their concerns, which could be addressed elsewhere and which neither have been too committed to in the past few years to do much about. They suddenly care about spending after giving Barack Obama a blank check to raise the national debt.

It actually looks more like they wanted to derail anything that could help President Trump and, consequently, derail anything that might help Republicans mitigate the damage that will otherwise be inflicted next year. If that is the case, I think Guy Benson is right that they risk setting up the GOP for a real purity test on support for President Trump's agenda. If Republican voters see people like Flake and Corker, supposedly Republicans, derail the President's agenda when even John McCain supports it, they'll be demanding blood oaths in primaries that candidates support Donald Trump.

This is a really dangerous game Flake and Corker have been playing. They claim to support the plan, but they have some concerns. They'd be more believable about their concerns if they'd ever really stuck to their convictions on those concerns in the past. Their willingness to obstruct the tax reform package will just make the GOP primaries in their home states even nastier and increase the odds of the Democrats taking back the Senate. But it seems pretty clear they do not care, or at least did not seem to care till Jeff Flake came out this morning saying he would not support the plan.

As of this writing, Senator Corker is still a hold out, though he says the plan will pass. Senator Flake has agreed to the concessions made by the Senate GOP leadership. They are, to put it bluntly, cosmetic changes of no major value. But they are enough so Senator Flake can show he got a concession and also show he is a team player. The question now is whether Senator Corker will want on the team or go it alone.

Had the men scuttled this plan, they would have been publicly blamed by the President and by Senate leaders. In both states, with primaries already turning into referenda on who is most likely to support President Trump, the men would be persona non grata within their own parties. Passing the tax plan not only helps the GOP at large, but it helps them both too. Jeff Flake knows it and Bob Corker will probably figure it out.

Another reason to eliminate the 17th amendment.


I don't buy this. Eric, I support your Christian perspective but don't trust your narrative here. You work for the billionaire Cox family - they sign your checks. People like you and Clark Howard support their agenda either consciously or unconsciously. This tax bill as proposed is a big gift to the super wealthy. They get the real benefits and the middle class wage slaves, the vast majority of us get crumbs. Congress supports and abets these big donor class anti-free market oligarchs to their mutual benefit. Republicans and Democrats do not have our interests in mind. This cannot stand. Flake and Corker have broken free of the oligarchs and are trying to do what's right. They are not the enemy.

Newsflash! That's what RINOs do.


@LibertarianHarry If anybody is an oligarch, it is corker and Flake.

@LibertarianHarry in what sense are you a libertarian because you are spewing tired old propaganda here. The tax bill isn't a "gift" to the super-wealthy. Currently, the rich pay at disproportionately high effective rates as compared to others. This bill lessens that gap and it does that by letting them keep their own money and making them pay at rates closer to others. It's still not a flat tax though (where everyone pays at the same rate (fair)). Read this to get the stats, educate yourself. http://lockeanliberal.com/2017/11/26/the-rich-deserve-a-tax-cut/

Those two are sore losers who got early warning that kept them from suffering the loss. Personally, since I'm a Tennessean, I can say up close I'm glad to see Corker gone. I just wish it was sooner. This is what he will do until he steps away from his seat in the senate. It proves his childishness and pettiness. As far as I'm concerned, how he got elected to office was the most of a "Lesser of two evils" for Tenesseans" because Ford would have been worse. As it turns out, Corker is no better than what we expected from Ford. Flake could have done a lot better than being a RINO. When they put that suit on, it doesn't come off very easily. Corker never was conservative. He just went to DC in the suit. They are two peas in a pod and will do whatever they can to just cause trouble.

The key thing to remember is that tax rates don’t matter. What matters is tax revenue. Revenue typically goes up when rates go down from punitive amounts, like they are now. A very tired saying goes: “A rising tide lifts all boats.”

our national government has already proven it can modify, not modify, repeal, not repeal, amend, not amend, politicize, and/or ignore any piece of written law, proposed law, or any other legalese crap that they choose, anytime they choose so go ahead and pass the bill so we please the many and piss off the very few who care. HURRY so all the rest of you sexual perverts can continue your pathetic useless lives. God bless the USA.

It seems the order of the day in Washington now is Revenge Politics. A toning down of the insulting Tweets might make the "kids" less inclined towards payback. But that's all we see any more. We're making America juvenile again.

If we had an economic discussion minus the political machinations which is impossible the following scenario emerges.

1) Individual rate schedules need to be adjusted to allow for inflation in the price index since the last major tax reform 30 years ago, which causes bracket creep. Those with taxable income over 200K (married) don't need tax reduction, let them pay their fair share as they benefit from the "system" and need to give back. Move the corporate rates to 15% to 75K, 25% 75k to 100K and 30% over 100K. That's all that's needed.
2) Go after Apple Computer etc. tax schemes which rob the Treasury of Billions.
3) Keep the AMT in place for those with taxable income over 300K (married).
4) Flow-thrus don't need a special tax rate - leave as is. Carried interest abuse needs to be reined-in - where the promoters get a cut of the deal even if they cash out 5 years later, they should pay at ordinary income rates when they cash out.
5) Child credit should be increased to at least 2.5K. Adoption credit should stay in place.

The largely socialist government dominated USSA is helplessly in Debt and refuses to downsize government and cut actual spending. The former DC Swamp pogrom was to regulate and gut the private sector middle class while enabling approved international progressive corporations. Raising taxes to pay for more spending while increasing the debt leading to a dead end 3rd world status for the USSA like the Detroit model. Now Trump realizes the economic engine must be ReStarted to avoid this scenario. Also as a second step the Feral government must be downsized in people and departments, while gradually ending FDR's ponzi social security scheme with tax exempt savings plans. DemocRats will never agree to reform and ChamberPot Repubs will never do what is necessary either. The DC Swamp never suffers for their actions, they are always exempt from their actions. Now throw in these two defeated Repub senators who have found their conscience to continue the DemocRat's economic demise plan by wrapping themselves in the "Deficit" argument. It is a valid argument AFTER a tax cut jump start, and these two despicable weasels know this. DemocRats are just Marxists and not worth the effort other than to charge them for treason.

Time for a third party to mess up the mess the two standing parties have made of just about everything that concerns the people. "The Rich" don't have enough money to pay off our national debt, so who is going to pay it off? Our grandchildren and their children. But the most likely scenario will be that the United States will eventually collapse under its fiscal burden, with the help of those we owe money to of course. We send people to Congress and what do they do? Pass bills and bills and more bills that all too often negatively impact our private lives, and worse our pocket books, and then they "pass the buck" back and forth between themselves. There is no way that the people can hold them accountable when there are just two choices, but a third party could especially if it is made up of and supported by people who really care about this country. If some take on this project they will have to care about this country because it would be a real fight, but a fight that is doable given the anger of so many people.

Sometimes I pause to reflect on the bygone days. Then I think; do our political leaders set the moral example for the people to follow; OR, does the people set the standard of morality that the political leaders follow?