Senate Republicans have slammed the results of recent polls, insisting they’ve been “distorted.”
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (
Moore Capito, much like the president, has continued to advocate for the tax bill despite its rampant unpopularity.
— Shelley Moore Capito (@SenCapito) December 2, 2017
When Huffington Post reporters asked Senator Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) about the measure’s unpopularity, he insisted it was impossible for legislators to sell tax cuts before they’re passed because tax cuts “are generally unpopular,” a claim, FiveThirtyEight points out, is historically inaccurate:
Why is support so low? Americans are opposed to the bill because they think it disproportionately benefits the rich. (It likely will.) President Trump’s administration has argued, however, that there were similar complaints about the Reagan tax cut plan of 1981, which preceded an economic boom.
The Reagan plan, though, was far more popular in 1981 than the current Republican plan is now. In a Gallup survey taken in the days after Reagan signed his tax cuts into law on Aug. 13, 1981, 51 percent of Americans were in favor of it. Just 26 percent of Americans were opposed. The other major tax cut of the Reagan administration (signed in 1986) wasn’t nearly as popular, but it was still more popular than the current GOP legislation. A CBS News/New York Times survey conducted in the days after the bill passed Congress found 38 percent in favor and 34 percent opposed.
Indeed, major tax cut plans are usually more popular than unpopular. Heck, even some tax hikes have been more popular than the current GOP bill.
A report from Politico posits that Republicans “are giving taxpayers little time to adjust to sometimes major changes in policy.” They expect, for example, to implement the new tax regime on January 1, only days after they hope to push it through Congress.
“The more you read, the more you go, ‘Holy crap, what’s this?’” said Greg Jenner, a former top tax official in George W. Bush’s Treasury Department. “We will be dealing with unintended consequences for months to come because the bill is moving too fast.”