Rubio Admits The Truth About GOP Tax Cut

[ Posted Monday, April 30th, 2018 – 16:55 UTC ]

Senator Marco Rubio just let the cat out of the bag. In traditional "Kinsley gaffe" fashion (defined as a politician accidentally telling the truth), Rubio admitted what Democrats have known all along -- that the Republican tax cuts were primarily designed to help Wall Street, not Main Street. Here is the relevant quote, from a recent interview Rubio gave to The Economist: "There is still a lot of thinking on the right that if big corporations are happy, they're going to take the money they're saving and reinvest it in American workers. In fact they bought back shares, a few gave out bonuses; there's no evidence whatsoever that the money's been massively poured back into the American worker." That's a pretty sweeping indictment not only of the sole item on the Republican agenda that the GOP Congress has managed to pass, but also on the sole plank in the Republican platform for the 2018 midterm elections (which will take place almost exactly six months from now).

Rubio's admission is a stark contrast from how the rest of his party is attempting to sell the tired old snake oil of trickle-down economics. When the tax cut bill was being debated in Congress, the White House made a jaw-dropping promise that wages for the average American worker would immediately increase by $4,000. Needless to say, they haven't. Workers have noticed this fact, too. Tax cuts are usually quite popular with the public, but not this time around. A recent Gallup survey showed only 39 percent support for the GOP tax cuts, while a majority of 52 percent disapproved of them. And yet this is all the Republican Party has to run on in November, because it's all they've really accomplished in Washington (despite controlling both houses of Congress and the White House).

Of course, nobody's expecting Rubio to remain consistent on his new-found honesty. Rubio is infamous for attempting to stake out some sort of maverick position from the rest of the GOP (as he did on immigration and climate change), right up until he feels the heat from the rest of the party. Then he immediately backs down and repudiates his own position (as he did most notably on immigration, where he managed to help shepherd a bill through the Senate only to disown it when it became contentious in the House). Rubio, it is worth pointing out, is not up for re-election until 2022, so he's got nothing to fear this year from the voters. He has already run for president once, and is quite likely eyeing another possible run in the future, which could be the reason he's attempting to sound like a real economic populist right now.

Tellingly, he addresses his previous presidential run in the article, and puts forth an explanation of what he did wrong: "I spent a tremendous amount of time focused on the opportunities I had as the son of a bartender and a maid in the past century. I didn't spend nearly enough time talking about what the bartender and the maid face today." Later, he makes the same point in just as personal a fashion: "My relatives are firefighters and nurses and teachers and electricians. These are people who are not all that excited about the new economy." Not exactly Bernie Sanders, but in the same ballpark at least.

Rubio also identifies a big problem that most politicians (from either side of the aisle) usually can't bring themselves to admit: the decline in manufacturing is going to continue no matter what Washington does, because automation is going to take over millions more jobs than it already has. Rubio states: "The future is going to happen. I have no problem with bringing back American car-manufacturing facilities, but, whether they're American robots or Mexican robots, they're going to be highly automated." He also breaks from Republican orthodoxy on what to do about this state of affairs: "Government has an essential role to play in buffering this transition. If we basically say everyone is on their own and the market's going to take care of it, we will rip the country apart, because millions of good hardworking people lack the means to adapt."

This is flat-out heresy, for a Republican. Government has a positive role to play in average people's lives? Oh, the horror! Rubio, to his credit, did try to get the child tax credit doubled (to $2,000 a child) in the Republican tax cut bill. However, when they only included a watered-down version of this that was nowhere near as expansive or universal, Rubio shrugged his shoulders and voted for it anyway. This, again, is standard behavior for him -- he's voted in lockstep with both his party and Donald Trump, so it's a little disingenuous for him to be claiming he's fighting for the little guy now. Remember, he's only a maverick until the wind shifts direction -- then he caves in to party pressure.

Democrats, of course, were delighted to hear Rubio's remarks. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's office immediately put out a statement: "We couldn't have said it any better ourselves." In fact, it wouldn't surprise me at all to see Rubio's "there's no evidence whatsoever that the money's been massively poured back into the American worker" quote appear in many Democratic ads this fall. After all, this will be the centerpiece of many Republicans' campaigns, so it's certainly fair game to attack it with a fellow Republican's own words.

It's a little mystifying why the Republican tax cut isn't working out for them the way they had planned. They keep coming back to the trickle-down snake oil for a reason, after all: it usually works out for them politically. Usually, people are happy enough with the pittance they get back in their paychecks and don't care all that much that people at the top get most of the benefits of a Republican tax cut. From Ronald Reagan until at least George W. Bush this flim-flam has worked out well enough for Republicans. It's even more mystifying to figure out why voters are so down on the idea right now because the economy is going so well. In normal times, a good economy is good news for the party in power. This time around, it doesn't seem to be buoying up Republicans much, if at all. The economy's fairly good and voters theoretically are already getting their tax cut in their paychecks, and yet it doesn't seem to have translated into any support for the GOP at all.

Perhaps -- just perhaps, mind you -- average Americans have finally seen through the snake oil itself. Perhaps they're better informed about how over 80 percent of the tax cuts goes to Wall Street and the ultra-wealthy. Perhaps this time around they're just not that excited about a couple lousy dollars in their own paychecks in exchange. If this is true, it doesn't exactly bode well for Republicans in the future, since at this point cutting taxes on big businesses is about all they have left that they can agree upon as a party.

Democrats will be running this year on improving access to healthcare, boosting education funding, raising the minimum wage, and (for some of them, at least) a massive federal jobs program unlike any seen since the Great Depression. Republicans will be running on "the tax cuts are great, and are already solving all your problems." But people hate being told they're doing great when they don't feel like they are. Marco Rubio, at least for the moment, just admitted as much. But I would be very surprised to hear any other Republican back Rubio's sentiment up, and indeed I fully expect Rubio to be backpedaling away from his own words very soon now. It's what he always does, so it should come as no surprise this time.

-- Chris Weigant


Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant


21 Comments on “Rubio Admits The Truth About GOP Tax Cut”

  1. [1] 
    nypoet22 wrote:


    i don't think the myth of the tax cut is any less compelling now than it was in the past, it's just that the household economy has not improved for 99.9% of the public. when we talk about "the economy" we're talking in macro terms, overall production and consumer demand, but everyone except the ULTRA-rich has seen an increase in the cost of living, without a corresponding increase in income, irrespective of a few tax pennies here or there. even the moderately wealthy aren't really benefiting much, and the working poor are working even harder and getting even poorer.


  2. [2] 
    Paula wrote:

    I think the public HAS seen through the snake oil this time with respect to this tax bill and all the benefits they AREN'T experiencing.

    But I disagree that the economy is "doing well". Or, more accurately, I think that statement needs context. The reality is wages have been flat for the majority of Americans since the 1970's. What the economy is doing that registers as "well" is producing enough low-paying, few-no benefits, can't get ahead, no-security jobs to employ enough people to create "low unemployment" figures, etc. Last month new job creation was low, previously, new job creation numbers were "good" except - how much did they pay? Plenty of people earn a lot above minimum wage and still earn less compared to the peak in 1973 - when you compared income to outgo. If wages had the same ratio to expenses, inflation etc. that they did in 1973 minimum wage would be over $20/hour. But in today's economy (per this handy page: that produces roughly 130 million jobs, 18 million earn less than $10/hour and 63 million earn between $10-$20/hour. 81 million jobs play less than what would have been minimum wage in 1973. Some 49 million pay more than $20/hour.

    So when you produce a "tax cut" that provides non-existent or laughably low income improvements to the majority of working Americans, they AREN'T impressed.

  3. [3] 
    Paula wrote:

    [1] nypoet: you were writing while I was writing -- I agree completely.

  4. [4] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Not much motivation for the people who pay little or no income tax to cheer over income tax cuts. What they would cheer over is cuts in payroll taxes, gas taxes, sales taxes, etc., and that never seems to happen.

  5. [5] 
    Kick wrote:


    Exactly right. :)

  6. [6] 
    Kick wrote:


    So when you produce a "tax cut" that provides non-existent or laughably low income improvements to the majority of working Americans, they AREN'T impressed.

    Yes, totally right. The so-called "middle class" tax cuts for corporations are the catalyst for record stock buybacks and additional means with which companies can accomplish the purchase of machines and/or technology that allows them to displace American workers and/or move offshore in search of cheaper human labor and/or tax havens they routinely use to accomplish tax avoidance... as they have been doing now for decades.

    John Oliver had an interesting segment regarding corporate tax avoidance if anyone is interested. WARNING: Do NOT watch this if foul language or lying offends you... lots of F-bombs being dropped and BLOTUS fake populism con:

  7. [7] 
    Kick wrote:

    C. R. Stucki

    Not much motivation for the people who pay little or no income tax to cheer over income tax cuts. What they would cheer over is cuts in payroll taxes, gas taxes, sales taxes, etc., and that never seems to happen.

    True, and a whole lot of people who are middle class and do pay income taxes could have quite easily had tax cuts tailored toward them if that was the object of the exercise and BLOTUS hadn't conned them with the populism "bait and switch" BS that his tax cuts benefit them and not himself and his wealthy friends.

    I have now agreed with 3 posts in a row... including Stucki's... so I've officially just crossed over to the Twilight Zone.

  8. [8] 
    neilm wrote:

    I think societies "learn" - the saying "don't believe everything you read in the newspaper" wasn't coined until a long time after newspapers appeared and society learned their strengths and weaknesses. So it is with communism, fascism, Tammany Hall and most recently "trickle down". Too many late night jokes about "trickle down" being yellow dribbles, etc.

  9. [9] 
    TheStig wrote:

    I have noticed that the meme "Karl Marx Was Right" is currently trending on Google. This is attributable to established and intellectually respectable contributors from the right, left and center of the mediaverse. The vein is still intellectually strong 10 Google pages some point I'm sure it peters out into 3am drunk/stoned dorm room bullshit session material.

    I hasten to add that virtually all the aforementioned top ten page contributors agree that Marx correctly identified fundamental flaws of Capitalism, but seriously whiffed on workable solutions. (Sorry if anybody got the vapors or palpitations).

    Rubio is just reprising the role of TV's Captain Obvious, without the beard and red uniform. I guess it beats looking like "Captain Ridiculous."

  10. [10] 
    nypoet22 wrote:


    marx has always been right about the flaws inherent in capitalism. where he was tragically wrong was in overestimating the ability of a socialist state to account for the power of human greed. i don't think anyone can really blame him, since socialism didn't exist yet in mid-nineteenth century europe. however, we now know a lot more about why all successful economies need elements of individual choice available to producers and consumers.


  11. [11] 
    Kick wrote:

    Don Harris

    So what is a citizen that has caught on to BOTH divisions on the Big Money Party to do?

    More of this asinine bullshit where Don lumps the parties together and then claims he never does that.

    Maybe someone should come up with a way that citizens can vote against the Big Money snake oil candidates of both divisions of the Big Money Party and build support to create an alternative to the choice that is really not a choice at all.

    Republicans and Democrats are two different parties, and there's no such thing as the "Big Money Party," and anyone claiming otherwise is lying. Additionally, any moron with two brain cells to rub together already knows there are several parties with candidates for which one can vote, depending on the state they live in, of course... listed below but not limited to:

    Peace and Freedom
    Independent candidates

    And if someone does, maybe someone in the media will actually do their job and inform citizens about that opportunity instead of feeding the bullshit machine that has brought us to the point of having to choose the candidate that will hurt us the least or just minimize the damage instead of candidates that will actually make things better.

    You think it's the "job" of the media to inform people about your utter asinine and nonsensical bullshit claim that there is a "Big Money Party" with two divisions and no other choices they can make and that candidates who follow your arbitrary rules are going to "actually make things better"?

    Speaking of selling "snake oil" and the "bullshit machine," your repetitive rhetoric certainly qualifies and sounds like a story for Fox News Entertainment.

  12. [12] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Kick [12]

    Speaking of selling "snake oil" and the "bullshit machine," your repetitive rhetoric certainly qualifies and sounds like a story for Fox News Entertainment.

    I swear that I could actually hear a microphone being dropped to the floor as I finished reading that post!

  13. [13] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    nypoet22 [1] -

    Yeah, but wasn't that true in the 00s, when the Bush tax cut got passed? Seemed like the snake oil worked back then better than now, but that's just from memory.

    Paula [2] -

    All good points. This is why if I were the Dems (I say this just about every election, though) I would make a minimum wage hike the central issue. It's true "rising tide lifts all boats" -- the peons get a raise (to $15, hopefully), their supervisors demand more than the peons are making, the managers of the supervisors have to be making more than the people they're supervising, and it works its way up the chain. Only possible drawback, if I remember basic economics, is the risk of inflation. But it's been so long since that's been a problem, it'd probably be manageable (again, hopefully).

    C. R. Stucki [4] -

    An excellent point. CA might be about to get a shock -- the legislature passed a $0.12/gal increase in the gas tax, and a repeal measure is now qualified for the ballot. We'll see what's going to happen with that....

    Kick [7] -

    I agree too. And you're right -- bizarrely, we all seem to be agreeing for once...

    TheStig [10] -

    Seems like about once a decade, one or two brave Republicans actually feel an ounce of compassion for the poor. Remember Jack Kemp? Or George W. Bush supposedly being a "compassionate conservative"? Trump sold snake oil by the barrel when he tried to pass himself off as the champion of the little guy, but he's not intellectually consistent (and that's the nicest way I can put it) to stand firm for targeting tax cuts to the little guys instead of the fatcats like himself. Paul Ryan sold him a bill of goods, and he agreed just because he wanted to sign ANY bill they could agree to.

    I regret that the true effects of the tax cut won't be seen until months after the 2018 election -- when everyone sits down to do their taxes in early 2019. There will be winners, but the losers (among the middle class) are going to be howling. Too late to influence the election, however.

    Kick [12] -

    Don't forget the "Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party" up in Wisconsin! A vestigial remnant of the last Populist/Progressive era...


  14. [14] 
    TheStig wrote:

    "once a decade, one or two brave Republicans actually feel an ounce of compassion for the poor."

    but most of the time the poor are viewed as an inexpensive source of protein. :)

  15. [15] 
    TheStig wrote:

    DH-15..."and then refuse to address the feasibility of One Demand."

    You First.

    -Your detailed resume
    -Detailed Game Theory Math Analysis of OD
    -Detailed business plan
    -Up to date website containing all the above

    Lot of work? Yes...but You Selling A Product in a highly competitive market. Seems to me the consensus around is that you are selling an empty box. Nobody has any obligation to buy it...or provide free advertising for it.

  16. [16] 
    TheStig wrote:

    DH-18. :-) !!!!!!

    Congratulations, US Citizen with an idea among 300 million other US Citizens with an idea. Was the Battle Hymn of the Republic gently playing in your head while you wrote that self righteous, evasive nonsense?

    But wait - there's more! You can recycle your resume as your epitaph.

    In the immortal words of Bob & Ray:

    "Write if you get work."

  17. [17] 
    Powderhound522 wrote:

    We should start labeling Rubio the new John McCain - he talks a big game, then falls in line with whatever garbage policy the rest of his party supports.

  18. [18] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    TheStig [16] -

    A modest proposal, indeed!


    Powderhound522 [20] -

    Now there's an idea!

    The whole "maverick" label is completely overrated, especially among Republicans... but the media seems to keep falling for it...



  19. [19] 
    Kick wrote:

    Don Harris

    Once again, for those of you that like to believe what you want to believe rather than accept basic facts

    The lying solicitor who keeps trolling this blog insisting that his fabricated "Big Money Party" is real is the very definition of someone who believes what he wants to believe rather than accept basic facts. You don't get to lecture anyone about reality when you make up shit in order to peddle your self-serving BS.

    Saying the Democrats and Republicans are both addicted to Big Money does not mean I am claiming they are the same in every way.

    More of this "in every way" straw man bullshit? Who on this blog has ever accused you of claiming the parties were alike "in every way" when that is obviously utterly nonsensical bullshit? That, however, does not absolve you from your fabricated and completely made up "Big Money Party" that doesn't exist and your continuing to spew this lie.

    If it's okay for citizens to vote for all those other parties, then why isn't it okay for citizens to participate in One Demand?

    Another straw man argument, Don. Who on this blog said it wasn't "okay" for citizens to participate in One Demand? Who is stopping them? No one. But that doesn't make it okay for you to continue the lying rhetoric that people only have a choice between the "Big Money Party" candidates when that Party is a lie fabricated by you. You are free to peddle your lying rhetoric somewhere else... as you always have been and always will be.

    And why do Democrats complain when they lose elections that the people that voted for one of these other parties are responsible for the Republican winning because those citizens could have voted for the Democrat?

    Ask a Democrat. It's actually not relevant to the topic of your repeating lying rhetoric.

    Why aren't the Democrats responsible for not running a better campaign or a better candidate?

    Again, this is not relevant to your lies regarding the "Big Money Party" that only exists in your imagination.

    Yes, it is the job (or responsibility) of journalists to inform citizens about all options.

    Wrong. It is no one's responsibility to repeat your lying rhetoric and self-serving bullshit.

    Especially when they claim to be presenting the information that is not being covered by other media or when they claim to be a reality based blog and then refuse to address the feasibility of One Demand.

    Wrong. Your repetitive rhetoric claiming there is a "Big Money Party" is utter nonsensical bullshit. No one... repeat no one... is required to lie and peddle this bullshit for you.

  20. [20] 
    Kick wrote:


    You First.
    -Your detailed resume
    -Detailed Game Theory Math Analysis of OD
    -Detailed business plan
    -Up to date website containing all the above

    ^^ Yes, exactly this. ^^

    Lot of work? Yes...but You Selling A Product in a highly competitive market. Seems to me the consensus around is that you are selling an empty box.

    Okay now, TS, I do take issue with this empty box characterization. ;) Wouldn't an empty box be a useful thing one could use to transport items from place to place? A box full of bullshit is much more indicative of what he's peddling.

    Nobody has any obligation to buy it...or provide free advertising for it.

    Exactly right. There's a plethora of bullshit out there already... add his box to "Bullshit Mountain." :)

  21. [21] 
    Kick wrote:


    And CW does have an obligation to back up criticism of what he writes if he is going to claim to be a reality based blog.

    Wrong. Peddling your lies about a "Big Money Party" would be lying. Trolling the author to repeat your lying rhetoric in order to prove he has a "reality based blog" borders on insanity.

    He has no obligation to write about it...

    Ding, ding, ding. :)

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