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04/10/17 07:52 AM
04/11/17 06:28 AM
04/12/17 11:38 AM
04/24/17 07:20 AM
to many reports, Donald Trump is getting frantic as his administration
nears the 100-day mark. It’s an arbitrary line in the sand, but one he
himself touted in many pre-inauguration boasts. And it will be an
occasion for numerous articles detailing how little of substance he has
actually accomplished. Yet
many of these reports will, I suspect, miss half the story. It’s
important to note just how little the tweeter-in-chief has managed to
achieve; but we also need to focus on what, exactly, it is that he
Mr. Trump sold himself to voters as unorthodox as well as effective. He
was going to be a different kind of president, a consummate deal-maker
who would transcend the usual ideological divide. His supporters should
therefore be dismayed, not just by his failure to actually close any
deals, but by the fact that he evidently has no new ideas to offer, just
the same old snake oil the right has been peddling for decades.
We saw that on Trumpcare - where the administration outsourced its policy to Paul Ryan, who
produced exactly the kind of plan you might have expected: take
insurance away from millions, make it worse for the rest, and use the
money to cut taxes on the wealthy. Populism!
And now we’re seeing it on taxes. Mr. Trump has promised to unveil a "massive" tax cut plan next week. This announcement apparently came as a surprise
to his own Treasury officials, who obviously don’t have a plan ready.
Still, one thing is clear: Whatever the details, Trumptax will be a big
exercise in fantasy economics.
in 1980 George H. W. Bush famously described supply-side economics —
the claim that cutting taxes on rich people will conjure up an economic
miracle, so much so that revenues will actually rise — as "voodoo economic policy". Yet it soon became the official doctrine of the Republican Party, and
still is. That shows an impressive level of commitment. But what makes
this commitment even more impressive is that it’s a doctrine that has
been tested again and again — and has failed every time.
the U.S. economy rebounded quickly from the slump of 1979-82. But was
that the result of the Reagan tax cuts, or was it, as most economists
think, the result ofof interest cuts by the Federal Reserve? Bill Clinton provided a clear test, by raising taxes on the rich. Republicans predicted disaster, but instead the economy boomed, creating more jobs than under Reagan. Then
George W. Bush cut taxes again, with the usual suspects predicting a
“Bush boom”; what we actually got was lackluster growth followed by a
severe financial crisis. Barack Obama reversed many of the Bush tax cuts
and added new taxes to pay for Obamacare — and oversaw a far better
jobs record, at least in the private sector, than his predecessor.
So history offers not a shred of support for faith in the pro-growth effects of tax cuts.
and let’s not forget recent experiences at the state level. Sam
Brownback, governor of Kansas, slashed taxes. But the growth he promised never came,
while a fiscal crisis did. At the same time, Jerry Brown’s California
raised taxes, leading to proclamations from the right that the state was
committing "economic suicide"; in fact, the state has experienced impressive employment and economic growth.
other words, supply-side economics is a classic example of a zombie
doctrine: a view that should have been killed by the evidence long ago,
but just keeps shambling along, eating politicians’ brains. Why, then,
does it persist? Because it offers a rationale for lower taxes on the
wealthy — and as Upton Sinclair noted long ago, it’s difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.
Still, Donald Trump was supposed to be different. Guess what: he isn’t.
YOU'VE ALL BEEN TRUMPED. WE HAVE ALL LOST. SHOULD WE ALL JUST "GET OVER IT"?!
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