Saturday, November 14, 2015

And when Republicans do attempt to answer it ...

... their plans would grow the deficit. And not by just a little. Ezra Klein at Vox.com documents the economic "pickle" faced by Republican candidates.

... Republicans are stuck between a description of the economy that seems increasingly detached from the reality of the recovery and a set of economic plans that actually worsen many of the problems Republicans say they want to solve. It's a pickle.

Anyone watching the fourth Republican debate would be excused for thinking America is mired in a deep recession — that the economy is shrinking, foreign competitors are outpacing us, more Americans are uninsured, and innovators can't bring their ideas to market.

They would be surprised to find that unemployment is at 5 percent, America's recovery from the financial crisis has outpaced that of other developed nations, the percentage of uninsured Americans has been plummeting even as Obamacare has cost less than expected, and there's so much money flowing into new ideas and firms in the tech industry that observers are worried about a second tech bubble.

Nevertheless, the Republicans are trapped by their economic ideology with the ironic results that they are competing to see who can blow the biggest hole in the federal budget. Here are some supporting facts.

As Jordan Weissmann observed at Slate, if Rubio's plan only cost $6 trillion — and some estimates place it nearer to $12 trillion — paying for it would require pretty much eliminating the entire defense budget, or the equivalent elsewhere in the government. And that's just not going to happen.

... the simple fact is that the Republican tax plans will sharply increase after-tax inequality, and they will do so in the most obvious and mechanical of fashions: They will hugely cut taxes for the top 1 percent (and, making them yet more regressive, they will probably have to cut spending programs that benefit the poor to pay for those tax cuts).

It's the economy. But the "stupid" is coming out of the mouths of the Republican candidates.

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