Protesters demonstrate near the full Senate budget committee markup of the tax reform legislation on Capital Hill Nov. 28, 2017 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
While Trump says tax plan is “selling itself,” GOP donor groups launch major advertising campaign amid growing opposition.
By Jessica Corbett / 12.22.2017
While recent polling indicates that the majority of Americans oppose the GOP tax plan signed by President Donald Trump early Friday, Politico reports right-wing groups are planning a multimillion-dollar campaign to promote the deeply unpopular new law.
Despite a CNN poll revealing that only a third of Americans favor the Republicans’ tax plan while 55 percent oppose it—a 10-point jump from just last month—Trump seems to be ignoring the widespread opposition.
“It’s selling itself; it’s becoming very popular,” the president falsely claimed from the Oval Office on Friday. “I don’t think we’re gonna have to do much selling.”
Conservative donors, however, are planning to invest heavily in efforts to shift public perception of the plan, which gives massive tax breaks to corporations and wealthy individuals at the expense of American families, and was deemed the #GOPTaxScam by critics as it made its way through Congress.
“The Koch network will launch a multimillion-dollar push next year to sell the bill, with paid advertising and town halls,” according to Politico. “A major GOP super PAC is planning to spend $10 million to protect House members. And another group, the Committee to Unleash Prosperity, plans to spend the majority of its $1 million annual budget selling the tax plan next year, according to one of the group’s founders, Stephen Moore.”
“Right now, Americans think it is a tax increase instead of a tax cut, but when they start to see what happens to their paychecks and how the economy responds, they will change their minds,” said Moore, who is also a visiting fellow at The Heritage Foundation and an informal economic adviser to Trump.
Tax experts have warned that the GOP tax plan, as Common Dreams has reported, gives “more than 80 percent of tax cuts to the nation’s richest one percent while also—among other things—raising taxes on 92 million middle-class families; increasing healthcare premiums; encouraging outsourcing of U.S.-based jobs; and limiting deductions for state and local taxes.”
Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity, a group backed by the right-wing billionaire Koch brothers, explained his group plans to spend millions on town halls as well as radio, television, and digital advertising to convince voters the deal is somehow good for them.
Corry Bliss, who heads the American Action Network and Congressional Leadership Fund—which both have ties to House Republican leaders—told Politico the leadership fund will spend $10 million before the end of February to promote GOP lawmakers in 30 districts nationwide. Politico notes that the action network spent $24 million “selling the tax plan before it passed.”
Bliss also said that passing the tax plan will likely pay off for Republican lawmakers—some of whom even admitted during Congress’ debates over the bill that they were motivated to push it through because of their deep-pocketed donors’ demands.
“Our donors care more about legislative accomplishments than winning elections,” Bliss said. “This will be a real shot in the arm.”