Thursday, November 30, 2017

GOP tax bill - It must be Kansas, Toto.

A Republican Tax Scam Advances, observes John Cassidy (The New Yorker). And the GOPlins in the senate are pushing the tax bill even though we have a specific example of a failed version of the GOPlins’ plan. More on that below.

With the economy already close to full employment, and the cost of capital already at historic lows, most reputable economists don’t see the tax cuts resulting in big boosts to corporate investment, hiring, or G.D.P. growth. The White House and some G.O.P.-leaning economists are claiming that passage of the Republican bill would increase the size of the economy by about four per cent over ten years. But, as a briefing paper from the Committee for a Responsible Budget pointed out, most independent studies reckon that the G.D.P. boost will be less than one per cent. And if the budget deficit spirals and interest rates rise, it could end up being negative.

What can be stated for sure is that the Senate bill hurts the poor, does little for the middle class, and rewards the Republican Party’s wealthy donors. (An updated Congressional Budget Office report confirms all of these points.) It is stuffed full of gimmicks to disguise its true cost, and it makes a mockery of the G.O.P.’s claim to being the party of fiscal discipline. Republican leaders dispute all this, of course, but at this stage they would say virtually anything to get a bill passed. We are witnessing twenty-first-century Republican politics in the raw, and it bears virtually no resemblance to responsible governing.

Steve Benen (MSNBC/MaddowBlog) reminds us that the GOP refuses to learn the lessons of Kansas’ failed tax experiment. They are hell-bent on taking the same policies and practices that failed so badly in KS and pushing the disaster onto the nation as a whole.

Shortly after the 2012 elections, with Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s (R) radical economic experiment already underway, then-Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said of his former colleague’s plan, “This is exactly the sort of thing we want to do here, in Washington …”

… five years later, McConnell and his GOP allies have all the power they need to impose a Kansas-style experiment on the nation. Many who saw Kansas’ failures first hand have some advice to Republican policymakers: Stop.

The Kansas City Star published a piece over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend from Steve Rose, who described himself as a “Bob Dole Republican,” and who lamented the fact that Kansas’ failed tax plan and the current GOP tax plan “are twins.”

Republicans at the federal level are claiming, just like Brownback did, that there will not be a resulting massive deficit if taxes are slashed. Most independent, non-partisan researchers predict a $1.5 trillion deficit will be the result of the tax cuts that have been proposed.

Blinded Republicans claim these huge tax cuts for businesses and the wealthy will stimulate the economy enough that overall revenue will grow, not shrink. Revenue growth is supposed to trickle down to the middle-class taxpayers.

Sound familiar? That is exactly what was sold to Kansans, who saw their state’s budget hemorrhage. Nothing trickled down except cuts in services for the middle class.

The Kansas City Star’s editorial board published a related piece this morning, asking Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), “Why take this failed experiment nationwide?”

Moran endorsed his party’s regressive tax plan yesterday. Perhaps he hasn’t paid close enough attention to what happened in his own state this decade.

the scope of Kansas’ failed experiment is not in doubt. Brownback working with a GOP-led legislature, cut taxes far beyond what the state could afford, slashed public investments, and waited for prosperity to flourish across every corner of the state.

None of that happened. Not only have Kansas’ job growth and economic growth rates lagged behind neighboring states, but the state’s budget is in shambles, and Kansas’ debt rating has been downgraded multiple times.

The state has since decided to go in a different direction, though local officials realize it will take many years to undo the damage. Willfully ignorant Republicans at the national level seem desperate to repeat the same mistakes.

But, you see, neither facts nor history are driving this impending disaster. There is a stench of fear, of desperation, on capitol hill. The GOPlins have to show their base something, anything, no matter how awful, no matter how hurtful to their own base. Failing to do so would reveal the incompetence of the current crop of congressional Republicans in general and of the Twitterer-in-Chief Donald Trump in particular.

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