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Democrats have already won the tax reform battle

  • Forget the math and guessing about vote totals, the Democrats have already won this tax reform battle.
  • Even if a bill is passed, it will be filled with Democrat class warfare ideology and 'tax and spend' methods.
  • The Republicans will pay for this dearly in the 2018 midterms.
Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
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Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

We're getting ever closer to an actual vote on the Senate Republican tax reform bill.

But here's a spoiler: The Democrats have already won.

No, you don't have to be an odds maker or a psychic to know that. All you have to do is pay attention to way the so-called Republicans talk about tax reform and of course, what's actually in the bill.

First off, we all seem to take it for granted that it's okay to talk about taxpayers along imaginary and often derogatory "class" lines. It's as if the Democrats' oft-used terminology of "the rich," or "the middle and lower classes" is now part of the GOP lexicon too. That's even though those classifications are often just meant to be divisive and have roots in Marxist/Leninist ideology. But the Republicans are making sure to set aside special rules and tax rates for the "rich" just like the Democrats and socialists in Europe believe is right.

With Republicans like this, who needs Democrats?

Just to set the record straight. Class divisions are meaningless on an economic level too. A family that grosses $150,000 in income in any given year living in New York City or Boston without massive assets sitting in the bank isn't "upper class" or "rich" in any real way. And a family that grosses $50,000 in income in any given year in Whitefish, Montana may or may not be "middle class" or "poor" either. Classifying people in that way isn't just inaccurate, it can be insulting and divisive. Yes, we can have fair tax rates based on income levels. But when even Republicans talk about their tax bill using these class labels, it's a bad sign.

The point is Republicans have already forfeited the issue to the Democrats and the left in general. Before anyone addresses the issues of deficits and revenues, GOP members of Congress talk about their tax reform bill using the same divisive and leftist terminology. Even President Donald Trump talks about this so-called "middle class" when he's pushing for changes in the bill:

It's particularly unfortunate that the president's tweet seemed to make a delineation between the middle class and "job producers." President Reagan was very careful not to make that mistake during his presidency. He rarely used the word "class" at all, preferring to use terms like "families," "the little guy," and simply "the American people" when addressing the bulk of the population that was neither financially rich nor poor.

And all Americans become better job producers when they're allowed to spend or invest more of their own money. When we spend more money at a restaurant and eat out more, that leads to a need for more wait and clean up staff. And even when we save more money in the bank, it's more likely that bank will lend it to a new business owner to hire workers and buy needed capital. It would be a lot better and certainly more Republican of President Trump if he made those kinds of arguments and used more of President Reagan's non-divisive terminology in his tax reform comments and tweets.

Terminology and mixed messages are one problem, but the other reason the Democrats have already won this tax reform battle is because the Republicans are just like them when it comes to spending. To be specific, the GOP clearly doesn't believe in cutting it. We learned that in the coldest and hardest terms late Monday when reports surfaced that several Republican senators are considering putting automatic tax hikes into the reform bill if tax revenues fall short of expected levels.

Senator Bob Corker, a Republican Trump opponent who is on the fence on the tax reform, echoed that idea in an interview on CNBC's Squawk Box Tuesday morning as he warned about growing budget deficits.

The message from Corker and his cohorts is clear: If tax revenues come in short of the massive spending levels Congress and the White House want, then it's the American people who will have to come up with more cash to fix it. There's no mention anywhere, not from the GOP, the Democrats, or the media punditry for any kind of automatic spending cuts if revenue falls short. Oh no, that's not even in the discussion. And that's because the Republicans are just like Democrats they denigrate so often with that "tax and spend" label. Taxing and spending may be the way we've been told Democrats do things, but Republicans in Congress are now completely on board with the same M.O.

With Republicans like this, who needs Democrats?

Right now, two Republican senators, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Steve Daines of Montana, are on record saying they will not vote for the Senate Republican tax reform bill in its current form. That means the bill is already at the maximum number of Republicans it can lose and still be passed with the 52-48 GOP Senate majority and Vice President Mike Pence's tie-breaking vote. With just one more Republican senator needed to nix the tax reform bill, the chances of passing it are less than 50/50 right now.

But the vote numbers game is really irrelevant in this environment. Even if this bill passes, this tax reform process has proved to us that there really are two Democratic Parties in Washington. Yes, the so-called Republicans are calling for major corporate tax cuts and the Democrats want them cut a bit less. But when it comes to individual tax rates, revenues, spending, and class obsession, the two parties are essentially the same. And while President Trump is clearly a different type of politician entirely, he's still not leading the fight for truly conservative and Republican tax reform in the right way.

With Republicans like this, who needs Democrats?

The Republicans have essentially seen the enemy and the enemy is them. They simply won't follow conservative Reaganesque doctrine and cut tax rates for everyone across the board and handle the possible rising deficits with spending cuts. That fatal flaw is a big reason why this tax bill is still exceedingly unpopular in the polls. Think about that for a second. Just how flawed does a bill and the campaigning for a bill that promises Americans a big tax cut have to be for it not to get even close to 50 percent approval?

It's becoming more and more clear to that disapproving public that members of Congress from both parties see holding office as a means to control the power of the purse to reward friends and attack enemies. Cutting spending means cutting what they see as their rightful power. So they'll never really do it. Our money and wealth is theirs to use as they please, even against us. This is one very ugly definition of tyranny.

The way the GOP is acting and talking in this tax reform process is eerily similar to what we might have heard from their supposed opponents on the other side of the aisle. And that's why this tax reform battle is already a victory for the Democrats and the same may be true for their fortunes in the 2018 midterm elections.

Commentary by Jake Novak, CNBC.com senior columnist. Follow him on Twitter @jakejakeny.

For more insight from CNBC contributors, follow @CNBCopinion on Twitter.