After Republicans in the U.S. Senate passed its version of a tax reform bill early Saturday, passions, rhetoric and threats rippled across the Colorado political landscape this past weekend, proving hyperbole is the mother's milk of politics.
Republicans, predictably, argued that lower taxes, especially on corporations, is the salve the economy needs to help lower and middle-income families, while Democrats see a recipe for utter disaster if the bill makes it to President Trump's desk to become law.
The Senate bill got no Democratic support, and Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee voted against because the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates the legislation could add $1.47 trillion to federal deficit over a decade.
Republicans argue that economic growth will cover the tab.
Sen. Cory Gardner, a Republican from Yuma, flagged the bill's benefits for everyday folks. He pointed to the expansion of the child tax credit from $1,000 to $2,000. The bill also preserves the mortgage interest deductions for homeowners.
Gardner said every income bracket would pay less in taxes, while Democrats point at the unequal tilt toward the rich, at the expense of the federal deficit and social programs for the poor.
Sure, the Senate bill cuts the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent, but high taxes drive jobs and business investment to other countries, Gardner contends.
"We know workers bear much of the burden of the corporate tax rate and lowering the corporate tax rate will lead to bigger paychecks for hard-working Coloradans," Gardner said.
ProgressNow Colorado executive director Ian Silverii had a short, threatening statement about the GOP tax plan. The state's leading liberal organization cited "massive future cuts to vital programs like Social Security and Medicare to give the wealthiest Americans including President Donald Trump a tax cut."
"Cory Gardner will lose his seat for this," Silverii predicted.
Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet got on a rhetorical roll about the tax bill on the Senate floor Friday, and his impassioned words also got ahead of his facts.
"Republicans claim this plan pays for itself, just like they claimed when they cut taxes in 2001 and 2003," he said in a statement Saturday. "It won't. Instead, this plan borrows over $1 trillion from our kids and grandkids. It is the sons and daughters of Colorado's teachers, firefighters, and police officers who will have to pay back that bill. And for what? To end poverty in America? No. To invest in infrastructure or health care? No. To strengthen our safety net? No. But to fritter it away on tax cuts for the wealthiest people in America."
OK, that's probably solid, or close enough for his opinion. But then Bennet skated out onto the factual thin ice to join Gardner.
On the Senate floor Friday, Bennet called the GOP tax cuts under the second President Bush "supply-side economics, which is exactly the same move that we're seeing today. (It) resulted in the worst recession since the Great Depression."
The Washington Post Fact Checker gave Hillary Clinton three Pinocchios when she made the same claim last year.
"It's difficult to summarize vast economic changes in a single sentence - and economists will forever argue on root causes of the crash. But Clinton's effort to pin much of the blame on Bush's tax cuts is rhetorical poppycock," The Post deemed the tax cut/recession theory.
Adam Fox, director of strategic engagement for the left-leaning Colorado Consumer Health Initiative and the coalition organizer for the Protect Our Care Colorado Coalition, accused Republicans of theft and deceit.
"Senate Republicans successfully deceived their constituents and crammed their horrendous tax heist down the gullet of the average American today," he said. "At its core, this bill takes health coverage from working families to give tax cuts to the wealthiest 1 percent and multinational corporations."
Protect Our Care Colorado is a coalition of 48 organizations.
Colorado state Democratic Party chairwoman Morgan Carroll, a former state senator who lost her race to unseat congressman Mike Coffman last year, proved she had the brinksmanship chops for D.C. politics.
"This bill is a moral abomination and an absolute disaster for anyone who isn't a millionaire, a billionaire, or a corporation," Carroll said in a statement.