By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – I watched the House debate in Washington Tuesday leading up to the vote passing the Republican tax bill, and if you’ve been following the arguments we’ve been hearing for months and years now, there was nothing new.

The Republicans claim their tax cuts will unleash historic economic growth that will grow jobs, put money back in everyone’s pockets, and overwhelm any fears about budget deficits.

The Democrats predict the rich will pocket the bulk of the proceeds and little will trickle down to the lower classes, while the social safety net will be slashed to make up for all the red ink.

Like I said, nothing new.

Read More: How Tax Bill Will Affect You

But I was struck by the two contrasting philosophies of what government is there for expressed by the two ranking members of the Ways and Means Committee.

“Opponents of this tax bill, they don’t really worry about tax cuts for the rich, they worry about tax cuts for you, because if you spend your money, they can’t. If you have the first claim over your earnings, they no longer do,” said Rep. Kevin Brady, a Republican from Texas.

“He spoke before about the people’s money. Well you know what the people’s responsibility is? A million new veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan, that’s the people’s responsibility. When we talk about responsibility and the people’s money, Medicare is the people’s responsibility,” said Democratic Congressman Richard Neal of Massachusetts.

There you have it in a nutshell.

The Democrats still have confidence in government’s ability to help those in need; the Republicans don’t share that faith.

And you know what’s sad about hearing this debate yet again?

They’ve spent decades trying to find reasonable middle ground, and seemingly, incredibly, can’t.

Talk back to me via email at, or you can reach me on Twitter, @kelleratlarge.

  1. Ironic, isn’t it, Jon, that your fellow liberals finally got so desperate that they were arguing the coming boom associated with this tax reform law would cause too much stimulus and would overheat the economy.

    So which is it? A drain on the economy? Or a boom that turns to overheating?

    Seems as though your message is a touch mixed.

    And as for bills that affect a wide swath of our world? Wasn’t Obamacare passed with smoke and mirrors, out-right buy-offs of at least two senators, and a straight party-line vote?

    And who pocketed almost all of the free money from that program? It certainly wasn’t the guy on the street who ended up paying double-digit increases of his health insurance premiums every year while at the same time getting gouged with double, triple and quadruple levels of deductible.

    Let’s wait and see how well this tax plan does before we start the criticisms. As far as I can tell, neither you, nor I, nor an overwhelming number of American taxpayers are tax accountants or tax lawyers.

    You’re spitting into the wind again,sir. It’s become a habit of yours of late.

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