Even with majorities in both houses and the presidency’s bully pulpit, Republicans have not managed to convince Americans that their tax bill is for the middle class. The latest Marist poll finds that “58% of Americans consider President Trump’s policies to be directed toward the wealthy. 30% believe they are geared toward helping the middle class, and only 3% say the president’s policies intend to help the poor.”

That perception is fueled by a raft of analyses showing the tax bill is heavily tipped to benefit the rich and corporations. The liberal-leaning Tax Policy Center, for example, finds with regard to the House bill:

Families with income under about $20,000 with children under 17 likely would see a modest or no tax cut in 2018; Families in this low-income category who have older children can expect essentially no tax change.
Families with incomes between about $20,000 and $40,000 with children under 17 likely would experience tax cuts in the range of $800 – $900 in 2018. However, similar families with older children would experience much smaller tax cuts.
By 2027, low-income families (income under about $20,000) with children under 17 can expect somewhat larger tax cuts than the modest ones for 2018, perhaps on the order of $300 per year; low-income families with older children would likely see their taxes rise.
By 2027, moderate-income families with children (both over and under 17) would likely owe more taxes than under current law. For many, these tax increases could be significant.

Likewise, the structure of the Senate bill tends to undercut claims of a middle or working class tax cut:

The core of the bill is a large corporate tax cut that would overwhelmingly benefit wealthy households, along with a tax cut for “pass-through” businesses that’s also heavily tilted to high-income households and an estate tax cut providing a reduction in the tax worth $4.4 million per estate (for the estates of married couples) for the nation’s very largest estates.  These tax cuts are so costly that they require offsets like removing the tax deduction for state and local taxes to comply with the limitation that the tax cuts only increase deficits by $1.5 trillion over the decade.  They leave little room for meaningful help to low- and moderate-income families.
Even a provision touted as targeting working families — an expansion of the Child Tax Credit — would do far more for high-income families than low- and moderate-income families.  Some 10 million children in low-income working families would get $75 or less, while families with incomes between $150,000 and $1 million would become newly eligible for the credit.  A married couple with two children earning $1 million would newly receive a full $3,300 Child Tax Credit, on top of large additional tax cuts from other provisions.

Now Senate conservatives have gone one step further toward making this a reverse Robin Hood plan. They’ve dredged up repeal of the individual mandate, a measure that will remove millions of people from coverage and destabilize the Obamacare markets. Why are they anxious to bring back a plan that’s already been rejected? They need the money for their high-earner and corporate tax cuts. No, really. Remember when Senate Republicans got cold feet on the health-care bill when they realized cuts to Medicaid to pay for tax cuts going to the highest earners? It’s back!

The “individual mandate repeal would also lead to large enrollment declines that could make it harder for insurers to forecast their risk pools, and therefore to set premiums appropriately, in the near term,” the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities wrote recently. “Falling enrollment and increased uncertainty and confusion could lead some insurers to exit the individual market altogether, threatening access to coverage.” In addition, “Eliminating the mandate would also reduce employee enrollment in employer-sponsored coverage and would make it less likely that healthy people sign up for Medicaid before they get sick, something the Trump Administration recently asserted was one of its objectives for Medicaid waivers.”

Senate Republican leaders are altering their tax bill to include a repeal the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, a major change as they now try to accomplish two of their top domestic priorities in a single piece of legislation.
Party leaders said Tuesday their tax bill will include a provision that would repeal the individual mandate, a part of the health care law that creates penalties for Americans who don’t have health insurance. . . . Repealing the mandate would free up more than $300 billion in government funding over the next decade, but it would also eventually lead to 13 million fewer people having health insurance, according to projections from the Congressional Budget Office.

You do wonder if these people have a political death wish. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) went to the floor to lambaste the idea. “Republicans just can’t help themselves. They’re so determined to provide tax giveaways to the rich that they’re willing to raise premiums on millions of middle-class Americans and kick 13 million people off their health care,” he said. “Rather than learning the lessons from their failure to repeal health care, Republicans are doubling down on the same partisan strategy that would throw our health care system into chaos. If the American people weren’t already outraged by this bill, injecting health care into it will certainly do the trick.”

Maybe they’ll bully moderates into going along this time or convince one another that simultaneously cutting rich people’s taxes and eliminating health-care coverage for others is political genius. However, they might just wind up getting neither health-care nor tax reform.