The New York Times’ editorial board does not like the Republican Party’s recently unveiled tax-cut bill. Not one bit.
The board dislikes the plan so much, in fact, that it couldn’t decide this week whether it wanted to call the proposal “cartoonishly evil” or go a more specific route and invoke Disney’s infamous miser Scrooge McDuck.
So it did both.
The print version of the board’s review of the GOP bill bears the headline, “A Cartoonishly Evil Tax-Cut Bill.” The online version of the editorial meanwhile bears the title, “A Tax-Cut Bill to Make Scrooge McDuck Proud.”
As a pop culture bonus, both versions of the editorial’s opening sentence include a reference to Mr. Burns of "The Simpsons," another infamous cartoon miser.
The paper’s analysis of the bill is as cartoonishly over the top as it claims the GOP plan is. It's heavy on the accusations of dastardly behavior, and it sure reads a lot like the Twitter feed of Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. But as far as meaningful scrutiny and explanations go, the board's review of the tax-cut bill comes up very short.
Their first substantive point is that the corporate tax cuts are permanent, but the personal tax cuts expire in 2025. The editors misleadingly suggest Republicans would have taxes go up on ordinary people. Republicans have publicly made it clear that they have every intention of renewing those breaks, and they are happy to let them nominally expire in the later years precisely because of how unlikely it is that Democrats would block their renewal.
“This tax bill would take money from working families and give it to the world’s wealthiest people,” the editorial board claims.
“Let that sink in,” they urge, hovering over the reader’s shoulder like a fussy grammatical sommelier.
The board takes exception to proposed cuts to Medicare. The board also repeats the canard that legislating that people should not be required by law to purchase health insurance is the same thing as people losing their health insurance.
“This would leave 13 million people without insurance and drive up premiums for many others who are already struggling to afford coverage, all in the interest of reducing spending by $338 billion so Republican lawmakers can cut taxes for big businesses, despite Democratic opposition,” the board said.
As if that weren’t bad enough, they continued, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and his wife, Louise Linton, posed this week with a freshly printed sheet of $1 bills. What that photo op has to do with the board’s overall point about the merits of the tax-cut bill is anyone’s guess.
Moving on from the specifics of the GOP’s proposals, the board then leans heavily on public polling, arguing that their position must be the correct one because surveys say many Americans agree. The board also appeals to “even some Republicans” argument by noting a few GOP lawmakers have voiced displeasure with the tax-cut bill.
The board then concludes by returning to basics: accusing the GOP of being the party of big business and donors.
“Republicans are pushing ahead to show their donors they can accomplish something, particularly letting them keep more of their money,” the board continued in its cartoonishly simple review of the proposal. “The party has made clear where its values lie. Well-heeled campaign funders matter. Middle-class families don’t.”
The Times uses the word cartoonish to describe the GOP plan. But the only one here using Disney references and repeating crazy political agitprop is the Times' board.