Sunday, October 8, 2017

Sunday reading- GOP tax "reform" is a hypocritical joke

Great article from this weekend by Forbes contributor Stan Collender which is summed up in its title- "The Republican Party Is A Deficit Fraud."
The budget resolution passed last week by the GOP-controlled Senate Budget Committee provides for a $1.5 trillion increase in the deficit and debt [over 10 years]. That will very likely become more than $2 trillion when the final version of the fiscal 2018 budget is developed jointly with the Republican majority in the House.

The demands by the House Freedom Caucus and its counterparts in the Senate that emergency spending for past hurricane relief be offset with spending cuts so the deficit isn't increased haven't been repeated now that the hurricanes have happened while a Republican is in the White House. Even some of the GOP's most virulent critics of the past aid have worked hard to get the additional spending now while at the same time denying they are being two-faced about the deficit increases that will result.

There's also billions for the wall between the United States and Mexico and a still-unspecified $1 trillion infrastructure program.

Whatever spending cuts have been proposed are too small to offset much of the deficit increases being considered, and most won't be enacted by the Republican-controlled Congress anyway.

On top of everything else, Trump and congressional Republicans are relying on a level of economic growth to seemingly pay for their tax cuts and spending increases that few reputable economists think is really possible. The much-more probable lower growth rate means the federal deficit will be higher later than any Republican is now admitting publically.
And given that Trump is also asking for more money to the military, the only spending cuts that could be enacted to keep the deficit from spiraling back to Great Recession levels would come from Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. We've already seen how hated the proposed cuts to Medicaid were in the Obamacare debates, and you'd have to think cuts to programs like Medicare and Social Security, which cover everyone and not just the poor, would be even more of a no-no for most voters.

Plus, why are we even talking about cutting taxes for the rich and corporate and exploding the deficit anyway? It's not like these guys don't get far more than they deserve as it is, and it's pretty clear that as taxes have been cut for those groups, they've hoarded more of the profits for themselves.

So why would we continue more of this, and make our crippling inequality even worse? I'm not even a deficit scold, and think deficits are fine if/when the alternative is an austerity that drives the economy into recession and makes people worse off. But this GOP fiscal policy is insane feudalism that shows how full of crap these people were when they cried crocodile tears about Obama's stimulus package in 2009. And we needed stimulus in those days when we were losing hundreds of thousands of jobs a month. Nowadays, with unemployment below 4.5% and 8 straight years of GDP growth?

Former US Labor Secretary Robert Reich released a video this week showing what a crock that Trump/Ryan trickle-down is, and reminding us that states like Kansas (and Wisconsin) have tried this "cut our way to prosperity" plan in recent years, and have been left in the dust.

If there's any "tax reform", it should try to take away the incentives of profit-hoarding and wage-suppression that have led to the two-tier society that's holding this economy back for the vast majority of us. Some of that includes higher taxes on the rich, and it includes added security and options to older workers through methods such as expanding Social Security and encouraging unioninzation to raise wages.

If you're not talking about that, you're not talking about anything that will help this country's economy keep moving ahead after 8 years of growth, and actually be a boon to the average American.

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