Friday, August 05, 2011

The Tax-Cut Gnomes

Step One: Cut Taxes
Step Two: ?
Step Three: Make Profit!

Tax cuts are supposed to be some miracle cure for economic woes, period. That's the deeply held faith of so many Republicans, Libertarians, small-l libertarians, Tea Partiers, and Right Wingers. That's what they sell in their political marketing to America.

If it was really true, where are the jobs? The United States has some of the lowest tax rates in our nation's history. Many of the states with the lowest tax rates also have the highest rates of unemployment (Georgia & Louisiana). Low taxes, tax cuts, tax loopholes, and all the subsidies our governments provide haven't been able to provide any national economic security for a decade. Jobs haven't been created or retained. Wages have only increased for the top 1%. New industries and businesses have had trouble opening. The only way the powers-that-be could pretend our nation made any economic gains in the last decade was to give us a shell game, where our whole economy become less dynamic, more dependent on cheap energy that no longer exists, a house of cards real estate bubble, and illegal labor.

In the face of all this truth, how do the right wing's political marketers reply to the burning wreckage of policy that is their biggest and most successful advertising?

Why, they double down on the bullshit and blame the economy on a make believe tax hike orchestrated by a tax cutting President, that's what.

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8 comments:

Dante said...

When you only read the cover page of the political marketing, you're likely to miss stuff:

Step Two: Cut Government Spending

Obama has not increased taxes yet but he has signed into law a legislation that will increase taxes. I think in that respect it's just as fair to say he has increased taxes as it is to say this recent debt deal has cut spending. I don't buy it, but at least the logic (or lack thereof) is consistent.

How do you reply to the policy wreckage? You rewind to 2006 where moderates abandoned Republicans in droves due to the Republicans' big-spending ways. You remind them that the Republicans told them in 2006 that spending would only get worse under Democratic rule. Then you say, "See, I told you so."

jeffrey said...

Step 4 is also cut taxes.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

"Cut Government Spending" is more Step 1A than Step 2. It explains how you cut taxes, not what happens on your way to profit. It also has nothing to do with how cutting taxes leads to profit/more jobs.

And even if I accepted it as "Step 2" I could still equate "Cut Government Spending" with "?" based on recent implementation.

For some folks, "Cut Government Spending" means to unfund mandates, ignore the cost of two wars, and engage in no-bid contracts with non-union companies under the presumption that you're getting the best deal.

For other folks, "Cut Government Spending" means "send government money to our well-connected clients instead of their connected clients."

As far as the policy wreckage, they were able to do that because of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. It is easy to survive political disaster when this crop of Democrats make up the lion's share of your opposition. They are a political gift that keeps on giving.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

Jeffery, they don't need a Step 4, if steps 1 & 3 are accepted as truth (as they currently are). It is a narrative so powerful that Democrats would rather risk losing their own base rather than run the risk of fighting its validity.

And the one chance in the last generation to prove it invalid was completely squandered by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.

Dante said...

"And even if I accepted it as "Step 2" I could still equate "Cut Government Spending" with "?" based on recent implementation."

From an implementation standpoint, I agree. I was merely pointing out the marketing.

"As far as the policy wreckage, they were able to do that because of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. It is easy to survive political disaster when this crop of Democrats make up the lion's share of your opposition. They are a political gift that keeps on giving."

You can't lay it all at the feet of Reid and Pelosi. Obama championed the stimulus. Obama continued the "failed policies of George Bush" with TARP. Obama bailed out the auto industry. And not a single bill in this Presidency had a veto overriden which means that everything Reid and Pelosi passed had Obama's signature on it.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

The stimulus worked, despite spending too much money for too little result. Pelosi and Reid made it the unmitigated political disaster that it was, and their legislative style guaranteed the Stimulus would not work as well as it should have.

That joins TARP, the auto bailouts, and all these others as necessary spending to keep the economy from completely collasing as any house of cards full of Monopoloy money is want to do. Our national choices at the time were not "stand up" or "fall down" they were "fall down easy" or "fall down hard."

We ended up falling harder than we needed to, but much easier than if we had not had the stimulus, TARP, and automaker bailouts.

As far as blame: Congress legislates. The President can suggest and recommend, but at the end of the day, his choice is between what Congress sends to him and sending it back so they can keep working on it. In the midst of a collapsing economy and a burgeoning panic, of course Obama signed into law whatever he was able to get to soften the blow.

The political capital squandered during this process allowed a disgraced and discredited GOP to stay in the game.

Dante said...

"The stimulus worked, despite spending too much money for too little result."

I don't know that I quantify any positive result at any expense as success. Besides, that's a tough sell to a crowd that is experiencing 9% unemployment and a national debt higher than our yearly GDP. I don't think it dooms Obama's re-eleciton bid. The last two times we had unemployment this high this close to a Presidential election were in 1976 and 1984. The incumbents split for one win and one loss in that scenario. But I don't think "the stimulus worked" is campaign material just yet.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

Like I said, the stimulus wasn't able to "fix" what is wrong with our economy (no single spending program could do that). But it wasn't supposed to. The stimulus was designed to provide a softer landing than what we appeared headed for. Judged specifically on those merits, it worked.

Judged based on the politics, the stimulus was an unmitigated disaster for Democrats and the President while proving to be an injection of adrenaline into the GOP. It continues to be both of those things.

Because, as you stated, it is very difficult to explain to a nation facing 9% unemployment that this is the least painful policy result they had a chance to expect, after the previous decade.

One thing the Dems, Liberals, and Progressives still haven't come to terms with is how very, very, very badly they lost the political fight to define the stimulus at the time it mattered.