There was such high hopes for Republicans going into 2017. A GOP-controlled House and Senate putting legislation on a Republican President’s desk is exactly what they’ve been asking for since Barack Obama first took office. Voters delivered. All was well in the world. 2017 was going to be the year the GOP finally got stuff done.

I don’t have to tell you the punchline. It’s more like a punch in the gut. I know there are readers who will have valid excuses why Obamacare wasn’t repealed, Planned Parenthood wasn’t defunded, the wall wasn’t funded, and DACA is on its way to becoming law. I also know there are plenty of readers who will point fingers at this faction, that branch, or this person about why we don’t have anything of substance after nearly a year of trying. I’ll nod in agreement with pretty much all of the excuses and finger-pointing because all will likely be valid to some extent. The only one I won’t accept is that the Democrats obstructed. That would be false. They didn’t have to. The GOP obstructed itself just fine.

All of this leads me to the current dilemma. The GOP must pass tax cuts before the end of year. Why? Because the aforementioned utter failures at everything else they’ve attempted have forced them into a position where they might get literally nothing big accomplished in their entire first year with full control. That label is too much for them to want to carry, so they’re doing everything they can to get something they can call tax “reform” on the books. This should terrify us all.

Not only is the plan not what most Republicans would have wanted, it actually does worse by some of the people who wanted it. The effects on the middle class are debatable, but one thing that’s very clear is a huge mistake they have to get fixed before they can pass it. As reported by the Wall Street Journal:

That means a business owner’s next $100 in earnings, under certain circumstances, would require paying more than $100 in additional federal and state taxes.

As lawmakers rush to write the final tax bill over the next week, they already are looking at changes to prevent this from happening. Broadly, House and Senate Republicans are trying to reconcile the bills they passed, looking for ways to pay for eliminating the most contentious proposals. The formal House-Senate conference committee will meet Wednesday, and GOP lawmakers may unveil an agreement by the end of the week.

The possible marginal tax rate of more than 100% results from the combination of tax policies designed to provide benefits to businesses and families but then deny them to the richest people. As income climbs and those breaks phase out, each dollar of income faces regular tax rates and a hidden marginal rate on top of that, in the form of vanishing tax breaks. That structure, if maintained in a final law, would create some of the disincentives to working and to earning business profits that Republicans have long complained about, while opening lucrative avenues for tax avoidance.

In reality, this is should be pretty easy to fix. I’m not going to blow this out of proportion like so many in the media will, but it demonstrates a reality: these tax bills were rushed with the sole purpose of getting something passed in 2017. Had they repealed Obamacare, they would have been much more careful and methodical about putting out a tax cut package that wasn’t loaded with glaring holes and fiscal irresponsibility. Had they gotten the wall funded and started building it in full force, they might have held the tax bill a little longer to make sure they weren’t making huge mistakes with the nation’s economy.

We are riding a wave when the economy is in great shape. By rushing a mistake-ridden tax plan through to the President’s desk, they’re putting all of that at risk. This economy would be strong with very few risks of backsliding if it weren’t for Capitol Hill’s arbitrary deadline prompted by their failure to accomplish anything in 2017. For the sake of their majority, the GOP is willing to put the economy at risk with a sloppy tax plan.

We need tax cuts badly, but I’d rather wait a little longer and get the right tax plan in place instead of rushing it to protect a few politicians fighting for their careers.

Jeanne Ives

By John Ruberry

At my own blog and here at Da Tech Guy, I enthusiastically backed the candidacy of Bruce Rauner, the current Republican governor of Illinois.

Count me as an ex-supporter. I’ll be voting for state Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) in next spring’s primary.

Rauner was a political newcomer when he narrowly defeated unpopular incumbent governor Pat Quinn three years ago. He became the first gubernatorial candidate in the Land of Lincoln to win a majority of the vote–albeit a very small one–since Rod Blagojevich’s first victory in 2002.

Rauner’s campaign slogans were “Bring Back Illinois” and “Shake Up Springfield.” He hasn’t done either which is why, in its upcoming cover story, National Review is calling Rauner “the worst Republican governor in America.”

After Quinn’s own narrow win in 2010, he and House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago), by far the most powerful politician in Illinois,  ramrodded through the General Assembly what was called a temporary income tax increase, which would expire shortly after the 2014 gubernatorial election. At that point, after Quinn’s presumed next win, the tax increase would be voted on again and made permanent.

But fed-up Prairie State voters, most of whom are corralled into gerrymandered legislative districts created by Madigan, who is also the chairman of the state Democratic Party, have no other way to fight back except at the top of the ticket every four years. They chose Rauner to stop the bleeding.

In his previous career Rauner was a venture capitalist. When he took over a company he could fire the CEO. He can’t do that with Madigan. So what followed was a game of chicken. Rauner, as part of his Turnaround Agenda, supported such common sense reforms as term limits for legislators, later changed to term limits for legislative leaders, which was clearly aimed at Madigan, who has been speaker of the House for an unprecedented 32 of the last 34 years. It’s Madigan who Reuters calls “the man behind the fiscal fiasco in Illinois.”

Other Turnaround Agenda items included tort and pension reform–Illinois has one of the worst-funded public pension systems in America–a ban on public sector unions contributing to state political campaigns, an option for local governments to enact right-to-work laws, as well as a two year property tax freeze.

Rauner said he was not averse to an income tax increase–but in exchange for his support of a tax hike he wanted his Agenda Turnaround agenda passed.

For thirty months the game of chicken continued, and that included an unprecedented two years without a budget. Illinois’ pile of unpaid bills tripled, reaching a level of over $16 billion. In the end Boss Madigan won. Overriding Rauner’s veto and some Republican legislative defections–who provided cover for Democrats in unsafe seats to vote “No,” Madigan’s 32 percent income tax hike became law.

Rauner and the GOP didn’t see a single part of the Turnaround Agenda included in that tax hike. Its passage was a colossal failure for the Republicans and long-suffering Illinois taxpayers.

And Rauner has been a colossal failure too. Yet he’s still running for reelection. In his video announcement Rauner dons a leather jacket and rides a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, which is ironic as southeastern Wisconsin, which is where Harley-Davidson is based, has been a direct beneficiary of Illinois’ decline.

The failures of Rauner don’t end with Madigan winning the tax increase war. Breaking a promise he made Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago, Rauner, who is pro-choice, signed into law a bill that keeps abortion legal in the state even if the US Supreme Court overturns the Roe vs. Wade decision. The bill also allows Medicaid funding of abortion as well as funding of abortions for state employees. And Rauner also signed into law a bill, weeks before California did, making Illinois a sanctuary state.

Ives, who is Rauner’s only declared Republican opponent, voted against both bills when they were up for vote in the House.

Last week the governor drove home the gist of his own failures when he said of Illinois, “I’m not in charge.” Who is? Madigan, because he has “rigged the system,” Rauner says. Is that true? Probably. But Rauner has had three years to unrig it. That’s why voters hired him.

What expectation do we have that Rauner can unrig it in a second term?

In her campaigns announcement Ives said that she wants to “realign public sector salaries and benefits to be commensurate with their private sector counterparts who finance it all.” Specifically she favors 401(k) plans for new state hires. Ives, a West Point graduate and a mother of five, also backs property tax reform and in an acknowledgement to one of President Trump’s campaign themes, vows to fight for the “forgotten people in Illinois” Of which there are plenty, including me.

In that campaign introduction Ives refers to the governor as “Benedict Rauner.” While I don’t view Rauner as purposely traitorous to the voters who supported him, he has been a spectacular disappointment as governor. I apologize to anybody who took my advice and voted for him.

Rauner says he is “not in charge” of Illinois yet he still wants four additional years of not being in charge. Who in their right mind can get behind that? Rauner says “it’s time to finish the job.” But he hasn’t even started it yet. Imagine Rauner as a homebuilder and three years after hiring him all that he has to show for his efforts is an unkempt pile of bricks paid for with money borrowed from you.

That’s Illinois, which leads the nation in negative net-migration. Its bond rating is the lowest ever for a state.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.