Top Republicans hit the airwaves this morning to defend their tax bill. It was a disaster.

Peter Roskam says massive unpopularity of tax bill is a bonus, creates ‘low expectations.'

CREDIT: SCREENGRAB
CREDIT: SCREENGRAB

Ahead of the House’s expected final vote on the Republican tax bill, leading House Republicans went on cable news on Tuesday morning to make their final arguments for an overhaul of America’s tax code that will skew roughly 82 percent of its benefits to the richest one percent over time. Suffice it to sale their sales pitches did not go well.

On CNN, Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL), a member of the House-Senate conference committee on taxes, argued that the unpopularity of the bill — recent polling shows 55 percent of American opposed to it — isn’t actually a bad thing, as it creates “low expectations.”

“I think this is going to be far more pleasant for people” than they expect, he said.

Later, Roskam argued that while millions of people in blue states like his may end up experiencing tax increases under the GOP plan, top earners in those states will at least see a decrease. He also dismissed concerns that the legislation includes provisions specifically benefiting real estate developers like President Trump and his family, asserting (falsely) that “everybody” benefits.

Meanwhile, over on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) dodged a tough line of questioning from hosts about why the bill skews benefits toward hedge funds and Wall Street. He argued that what Americans really care about is “that average family making $73,000 a year — I mean, both blue collars workers — will see a tax cut of $2,059 in this tax bill.”

Brady later dismissed distributional objections to the bill as an “ancillary issue.” When MSNBC hosts wouldn’t stop pressing him on why the bill skews benefits to the wealthy, he called them “obsessed.”

Roskam and Brady didn’t get as creative as President Trump’s favorite TV show did the day before in its effort to sell the bill. On Monday’s edition of Fox & Friends, hosts and former White House communications boss Anthony Scaramucci devoted a segment to discussing how unpopular President Reagan’s tax cuts were when they were they were enacted in 1986 — the suggestion being that the American public may simply not know what’s good for it.

There’s at least one big problem with that analogy, however. The Reagan tax cuts were actually supported by a plurality of the population — while only 39 percent approved, that was still six points higher than the 33 percent that disapproved.

On the other hand, a solid majority is opposed to the Trump/GOP plan. Only 33 percent support the tax cut plan currently on the table, while 55 percent are opposed.