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COMMENTARY: Democrats aim rabid, slobbering demagoguery at tax reform bill

columnist Rob Port

MINOT, N.D. — The tax reform bill, which is in the process of being reconciled from its House and Senate iterations, "is the worst bill in the history of the United States Congress" Rep. Nancy Pelosi said recently during a rant on the House floor.

Pause for a moment to reflect on the stupidity of that comment.

In order for it to be true we have to believe that the tax reform bill is worse than the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 which required all states, even those where slavery was illegal, to capture escaped slaves and return them.

Worse than the Indian Removal Act which forced Native American tribes in the southeast to move west along the "trail of tears."

Worse than Public Law 503 which, when passed in 1942, codified President Franklin D. Roosevelt's executive order authorizing the internment of Japanese, German and Italian Americans during World War II.

I could go on, but I think you get the point. The angry, hyperbolic denunciations of tax reform coming from Democrats should be treated as so much partisan posturing.

Certainly not serious and well-intentioned criticism.

Even here in the far more pacific waters of North Dakota politics we've seen Democrats make claims about tax reform which are worthy of eyerolls.

Case in point Aaron Krauter, a staunch ally of Sen. Heidi Heitkamp who has been fairly transparent about his own political ambitions in 2018, claims the reform is bad for farmers.

In a recent letter to the state's newspapers, Krauter claims the bill will add $1.5 trillion to the national debt over the next decade and this will almost certainly require cuts to farm programs.

While not as wild as Pelosi's rhetoric, Krauter's claims are no less specious.

For one thing, it's no certainty that the tax reform bill will add anything to the national debt. Republicans argue that the economic growth the reform will stimulate net revenue gains, and they could well be right.

But even supposing they're wrong, even supposing Krauter's $1.5 trillion figure is accurate, so what?

That's about $150 billion in deficits per year, an easy enough figure to address via spending reforms. Reforms which needn't necessarily target farm programs despite Krauter's claims.

I'm loathe to defend any deficits, but it's galling to hear Democrats gripe about the possibility of a relatively small deficit created by tax reform when they were ambivalent about running deficits of over $1 trillion per year for the first four years of the Obama administration.

That was back when our liberal friends, who controlled the House and the Senate at the time, were trying to stimulate the American economy with government spending.

Deficits in pursuit of bigger government were kosher with them, but potential deficits resulting from letting Americans keep more of their own money are worse than pro-slavery laws and the forced internment of immigrants.

There is plenty of room for honest criticism of Republican tax reform. It's too bad that Democrats seem largely incapable of it.

Port, founder of, a North Dakota political blog, is a Forum Communications commentator. Follow him on Twitter at @RobPort