Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Three Things You Need To Know About a Republican's Budget Proposal

Aside from all the sound and fury of the Republicans waging war against CNBC, something of actual substance came out from this past week's debate debacle: the Republican candidates were asked to talk about their proposed budget agendas they'd push if they ever made it to the White House.

Just remember: if a Republican does win the Presidency in 2016, the odds favor the party retaining control of the House and most likely the Senate, meaning any budgets on this table are likely to pass that first year in office.

Meaning we're all screwed as a nation, because as pointed out by Simon Maloy at

...the debt alarmism on display at the debate was part of a broader rejection of fiscal reality by pretty much every candidate. The federal deficit is going down thanks to a slowly improving economy and a series of ugly fights over tax hikes and spending cuts...
...But here’s the thing – while the Republican candidates were warning about the nation-ending threat posed by the allegedly out-of-control debt, they were also pushing tax proposals that would (pause for effect) dramatically increase the debt.
Let’s focus first on Marco Rubio, since he came out of the debate looking pretty good and also had a contentious exchange with moderator John Harwood about his tax plan. Rubio’s proposal calls for rate cuts on income and reducing the number of brackets, new tax credits for middle class families, and the complete elimination of taxes on capital gains and estates. Rubio insisted last night that this wildly regressive plan did not favor the wealthy – an assertion that is flatly untrue. With regard to its effect on the debt, the Tax Policy Center examined Rubio’s plan when it was first released earlier this year and it found:
They’ve proposed a tax reform that would add many trillions to the national debt over the next decade (a problem dynamic scoring is not likely to paper over). The Tax Policy Center estimated that an earlier, less ambitious version of the plan’s individual provisions would add $2.4 trillion to the debt. This plan would surely be even more expensive.
This is a common feature of most of the 2016 GOP candidates’ tax plans – they call for massive tax cuts on top earners, and they would (according to conservative estimates) cost more than $1 trillion dollars over the next decade, with some soaring as high as $10 trillion. And that’s just the cost of the tax cuts. Most of the candidates also want to dramatically increase defense spending from its current levels while also pursuing a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. That means they want to decrease the debt while cutting taxes for the wealthy and increasing military spending while balancing the budget. The only way this math could conceivably work is if you put in place deep, ruinous cuts to entitlement programs and the social safety net – something no one endorsed on stage last night because it would be political suicide. None of this works, none of it makes sense, and yet it’s the position of pretty much every candidate for the Republican nomination.

Ergo, the three things you need to know and need to remember about ANY Republican budget proposal:

1) Everything involves cutting taxes.

This is an axiom at this point in GOP ideology.  Every tax proposal has to be a cut (or has to look like a cut), much to the point that even new taxes on new revenue sources cannot be suggested.  Welcome to Grover Norquist's victory.  Even though our nation's federal system relies on - in fact was created on - the ability of government to raise revenues when needed to balance budgets and pay off debts.  The Republicans are convinced utterly that any tax hike is a disaster: not just for them personally as an election issue but that such tax hikes would kill businesses, take away jobs, and destroy planets.

With that mindset, the Republicans are convinced to go the other route, to cut taxes and keep cutting taxes (why they don't just go straight to ZERO taxes is answered by the fact most people understand THAT leads to utter anarchy).  And then they tell themselves that such cuts "pay themselves" by increased private-sector wealth across the board that would replace all lost revenues.  Except...

2) Every Republican tax plan skews to favor the very rich (which are very few), which means a majority of Americans suffer regardless of what the tax plan looks like.

Even the proposed tax plans last night that stick to a scaled/tiered tax rate system have rates on the upper incomes - especially large corporations - slashed at greater percentages than the lower incomes.  And the ones that pushed for a flat tax program - one that removes a ton of exemptions, credits and loopholes - argued for a flat rate that clearly profits the One Percenters at the expense of everyone else.

3) Republicans really don't care about balancing the budget or resolving the massive debt.  In fact, they want it all to fall apart.

Let's repeat what history has taught us: tax cuts don't work.  As I've written elsewhere, I've got anecdotal proof having lived through two massive tax cut plans - Reagan's 1981 budget and Bush the Lesser's 2001-2003 budgets - where the only real results I saw come out of both were massive deficits and massive unemployment.

For all the talk from the Beltway media about how "serious" Republicans are about deficits and debt, in practice these same serious Republicans act very much the way Dick Cheney did in 2003: that "Deficits don't matter."

The current roster of candidates are pushing more tax cut agendas that do nothing to balance a budget and in fact add to the debt. provided a nice little table graph from the Tax Foundation:

When you consider the Tax Foundation is a conservative pro-cut think tank, and even THEY are showing results in the red (except for Rand Paul's dynamic-scored revenue and one should be wary of dynamic scoring), that should be a huge honking clue that the ideology is not matching the reality.

Each plan relies on that GDP growth over ten years to be in double digits, but there's no guarantee of that.  Each plan makes assumptions into capital investments and jobs created that we've never seen in previous tax cut results.

Each plan still removes massive amounts of revenue to the federal government, essentially ensuring that either one of two things happen: the federal government borrows more money - increasing the national debt - to cover lost revenues to pay for sh-t, or else the federal government has to slash spending at the tune of billions of dollars.

If it ever gets to Option B, that's the win-win scenario for the hard-core Far Right.

Try to remember this one other thing about the modern Republican Party: they are anti-government.  They want deregulation across the board to free up private sector profits at the expense of safety and stability.  They want to end any and all civil liberties for minorities, for women, for the young and for the poor.

If they can slash the federal government's agencies to shut down their enforcement powers, the Republicans will view that as a win.  If they can get rid of the social safety net to ruin the lives of millions they view as "lazy rabble", the Republicans will dance in the streets without a care for the potholes they're leaving behind for any surviving generations.

Keep remembering that Grover Norquist is the Republican Overlord in charge of the tax cut agenda.  Keep remembering that Norquist is the one who brags wanting to shrink government down to a size where he can drown it in his bathtub.

Keep remembering that the Republicans keep talking about how bad and destructive government can be, and then wants you to elect them into offices that will let them act bad and destroy government just so they can prove themselves correct.  And leave everyone else holding the shredded remains when it comes time to pay the bills.

This is one of the many reasons why I keep saying here FOR THE LOVE OF GOD STOP VOTING REPUBLICAN.

1 comment:

dinthebeast said...

They're like an addict who says "I've got to spend less on food so I can spend more on dope"... Nothing will make them see how much harm they are trying to inflict on the country as long as they're still high on this toxic ideology.

-Doug in Oakland