President Trump seems to be in a mood for deal-making lately, having agreed to pursue legislation to legalize the status of so-called “Dreamers” without asking for a border wall in return.
The move came only a week after Trump bypassed Republicans and struck a deal with Democratic leaders in Congress to raise the debt ceiling and fund the government through mid-December.
Former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino, a conservative Republican who has battled Democrats in multiple congressional campaigns, is warning Trump and his administration not to fall for the supposed olive branches Democrats are offering.
“Please, I’m begging you: If you think this ‘We have to cater and move over and get the moderate Democrats’ strategy is going to win, you’re losing your mind,” Bongino said on a recent episode of his podcast “The Renegade Republican.” “They hate you, the Democrats will never vote for you, they can’t stand you.”
Not only has Trump shown an increased willingness to deal with Democrats, he also sought to assuage a common left-wing concern about his administration’s soon-to-be-announced tax plan. While speaking to reporters Wednesday, the president declared, “The rich will not be gaining at all with this plan.”
Bongino was apoplectic.
“Why are we doing that?” he demanded. “Why are we saying that? Why are we saying that? We’re doing class warfare now? … If you believe class warfare’s legit, you’re in the wrong party.”
Bongino, whose latest book is titled “Protecting the President: An Inside Account of the Troubled Secret Service in an Era of Evolving Threats,” advised Trump to abandon any liberal-inspired war on the rich and drop tax rates to 20 percent across the board – income, capital gains and corporate rates. He is profoundly irked by Republicans who insist any tax reform has to be revenue-neutral.
“What’s the point then?” he asked. “If the purpose of tax cuts, and you’re a legitimate conservative or libertarian, is to inject money into the economy by letting people fatten up their wallets and spend and invest it, what’s the point of saying it has to be revenue-neutral, in other words, we have to take the money back another way? ‘Revenue-neutral,’ meaning we’re going to cut tax rates, but we need to take the same amount of money from you anyway.
“Are you that stupid? Seriously, can you be in Congress and be this dumb? So your point is that we want to make a fictitious tax cut, so here’s what we’re going to do: We’re going to cut the middle class tax rate from whatever, 28 to 20 percent, but don’t worry, we’re going to eliminate all these deductions to make sure you pay just as much. What’s the point? The point [should be] to get more money into your wallet. The point isn’t to screw you over in some stupid shell game like a clown show…. Are we this dumb? We’re arguing now on leftist terminology.”
Bongino pointed out the federal government is doing just fine in terms of revenue. Uncle Sam collected a record $2.97 trillion in total tax revenues through the first 11 months of fiscal year 2017. But at the same time the government was raking in a record level of taxes, it was spending $3.64 trillion, running a deficit of approximately $674 billion.
Bongino believes it’s time for Republicans to make a bold move on taxes.
“Folks, you need to go for it on the taxes,” he implored GOP lawmakers. “You need to go for it, okay? It is time to take the football, get on the field … and throw the damn ball down the field. Go for the Hail Mary and go to win the game. Don’t play to tie, don’t do the two-point conversion; throw the Hail Mary and get down the field. You’re losing by five, you need six. Throw the ball down the field. Don’t run it, don’t kneel on it, don’t wait for overtime; you’ve gotta go for it. And what’s happening now? The Republicans in Congress are inventing every excuse in the book not to push for this big agenda.”
One Republican argument for avoiding bold action is the fear of losing congressional seats. But Bongino noted Democrats didn’t care about losing congressional seats when they passed Obamacare.
“You know what they did?” he began. “They said, ‘We want single-payer health care.’ They know it sucks, but they want to control the health care system. The only avenue they had to get there was Obamacare, so you know what they did? They passed it despite the fact that Americans hated it and largely still do, and they lost a ton of seats, because you know what? The Democrats didn’t care. They had their agenda, they wanted control, and they said, ‘You know what? We’re going to throw the Hail Mary down the field on Friday Night Lights. We’re not going for the tie and we’re not playing for overtime, and if we’ve got to lose a few members and lose the Senate, at least we have Obamacare, and I guarantee you the Republicans won’t repeal it,’ and they were right.”
Bongino wants Republicans to show that kind of courage on tax cuts and immigration. He thinks the Democrats are outsmarting the Republicans yet again by getting Trump to moderate and cutting deals that give them everything they want while giving Republicans next to nothing in return. He believes this will lead to Democratic victories in 2018 as Democratic congressmen show their constituents an impressive list of accomplishments while disillusioned Republicans stay home, believing their party has sold them out.
Bongino wondered aloud: “Who told you this was a smart idea?”
“Whoever’s telling them that – sell out on the tax thing, use class warfare arguments, and by the way, go for DACA with no border wall and you’ll get all these Democrats to love you – is utter insanity,” he seethed. “You don’t have to be Sun Tzu to figure out that when you’re doing what the other side wants you to do, you’re probably losing.”