Republicans in Washington are going full speed ahead on tax reform legislation. President Donald Trump said his administration’s plan would ‘‘ignite America’s middle class miracle once again’’. House Speaker Paul Ryan says the bill should be on Trump’s desk by the end of the year.
There’s just one problem: At the moment, no such tax reform bill exists. House Republicans plan to introduce one on Wednesday, then push it through in a couple of weeks. By comparison, the last major overhaul, in 1986, took more than a year from the point an actual bill was presented. Ultimately, Congress passed the measure with large and bipartisan margins.
This time around Republicans have been urging swift action on . . . a nine-page ‘‘framework’’. This outline calls for reducing the corporate income tax rate from 35 per cent to 20 per cent, while lowering and consolidating the number of individual rates from seven to three. Without details, it’s hard to have any kind of meaningful debate.
Instead, key Republicans and Trump officials have been shopping around ideas behind closed doors. Closed-door negotiations followed by an extremely truncated public debate is no way to proceed. An overhaul is badly needed. But it deserves to be debated thoroughly and publicly, not rammed through amid a frenzy of secretive lobbying and deal-making.