Democrats’ unwillingness to understand what motivates middle America is why they keep losing elections.
As Senate Republicans prepared to pass the most sweeping tax reform legislation in decades, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews sought to grasp why “regular” Republicans–including rural voters–support tax cuts.
To help him answer the question, Matthews invited Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), an opponent of the GOP tax plan.
Matthews accused the tax relief bill of being aimed exclusively at helping the wealthy.
“Here’s a problem I have,” Matthews said. “I grew up with Republican parents, modern Republicans, they weren’t well off. They didn’t benefit from this Republican bounty for the rich.”
The “‘Hard Ball” host then asked why “rural people” vote for policy that allegedly is only for the rich.
“Why do regular Republicans who are not rich, including the rural people who voted for Trump, cheering for a tax cut, which goes to people that they’ll never meet, maybe see in a movie or hear about on wall Street.
“They’ll never meet these people, why do they say, ‘great work, Donald Trump, keep giving money to the top one percent of one percent? People I will never be invited to their homes, never meet them on the street because they’re not on the street?’ Why did they vote this way? Explain.”
Bennet was at a loss for a reply. “I’m not sure I can explain that,” he said, before claiming the tax bill is unpopular with Republican voters in his home state.
“I can tell you that, consistent with your polling, the Republicans in Colorado, a lot of them hate this bill.”
Matthews retorted: “Yeah, but they’re still gonna vote for Trump.”
Bennet disagreed. “Maybe not again, because what he’s saying completely conflicts with what he said on the campaign trail.”
He went on to describe one of his grievances with the legislation.
“Let me give you one example that your mom and dad, I bet would have driven them crazy. In this bill, the top 572,000 households–these are people that make more than a million dollars–they’re getting $37 billion in this bill year after year after year. And we’re not paying for it. We’re borrowing that money.”
Bennet’s description made it sound as though the government is taxing money from the poor and middle class and giving it to the rich.
The bill is called a “tax cut” because Americans–middle class as well as wealthy–will pay less to the government. The rich aren’t “getting” money, simply keeping more of their own earnings.
The dollar-amount of tax relief for the wealthy is larger because they pay more in taxes. But an analysis by the Joint Committee on Taxation showed that middle class households will receive 47 percent of the bill’s tax cuts.
By contrast, those who earn more than $1 million will receive 14 percent of the tax cuts.
A Senate Democrat is unlikely to explain the GOP tax bill in those terms. If Chris Matthews truly wants to understand why rural Republicans want tax cuts, he may want to try asking some actual Republicans.
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