Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Political calculus

Stan Collender, who is not exactly a socialist, (see here if you need convincing), writing in Forbes Magazine, which is not exactly Pravda, thinks the Republican Cut, Cut, Cut! bill is insane. It will blow out the federal debt by billions of dollars, making it impossible to invest in necessary infrastructure and forcing massive cuts in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. And no, it will not stimulate economic growth, or increase wages. Yeah, yeah, Krugman is a liberal so why believe him just because he has  that stupid Nobel Prize.

So you're thinking, "I don't care, I want a tax cut." Well you aren't going to get one. The Republican bill raises federal income taxes and reduces income for people making less than $70,000/year, and does nothing for people making less than $200,000/year. All of the tax cuts go to wealthy people and mostly to extremely wealthy people.

Now, this probably doesn't sound like the greatest political calculation. But you might be wrong about that. The tax increases on moderate income people won't become apparent for a few years; and that cuts in Medicare won't happen right away either. Because capitalists are stupid, if the bill passes the stock market will stay bubbly and since we're already in a growth phase that will likely continue for a while. The catastrophe may not be obvious to voters by November of next year, and if Collender and Krugman are telling them to be worried that will be a fart in a whirlwind.

However, 2018 is likely to be a bad election cycle for them after which it's just going to get worse. Ultimately, this will be politically, as well as economically, catastrophic. So why are they in such haste to do it?

That's easy. It's because their true constituency is the wealthy donor class, led by the Koch brothers. They are under orders. And they won't have to worry about the political catastrophe if the U.S. is no longer a republic, which is also part of the agenda. So maybe they aren't so insane after all.


Gay Boy Bob said...

It is unrealistic to not expect those who pay the lion's share of income tax NOT get a large benefit with any income tax reduction plan.

Also, I would posit that the Koch Bros, while influential with the establishment Republican leadership, don't hold much sway with the Tea Party types or the voters who support them.

Ted Cruz, Mike Lee and even Donald Trump and now the tight Alabama senator race are all prima facie evidence that those voters don't give a rat's ass about the Kochs or the Republican establishment leadership. All were outspent by their opponents, some much more well connected yet here we are.

Anonymous said...

GBB, you're naive. Watch "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington." Nothing's changed; if anything, it's worse. The Senate and Congressional Republicans are bought and paid for by the Kochs et. al, and the current administration is indeed attempting to rip down the republic of the USA. Bannon stated it outright.

So rich people should get a tax cut, eh? But not other folk? But no amount of rationality will make a difference to someone such as yourself...I've seen your posts and your capacity for cognitive dissonance and denial is stunning.

Gay Boy Bob said...

There are two parts to your comment, one on the behavior of the voters and the second on tax cuts.

As to voter behavior, you don't explain how all of these Tea Party types and Trump bucked the establishment who were backed with all of the big donors. Who were outspent by multiples by their opponents.

On the second part, you offer up a strawman that I would like to see *only* rich people get tax relief "but not other folk". That's simply not true. Please re-read it above.

*If* you pay taxes, you should participate in any reduction. All taxpayers.

But let me be as clear as possible. Creating more negative taxation in the form of refundable credits such as the additional child credit or the earned income credit that are designed for those who do not pay income taxes and gain a net benefit from the tax system is more accurately characterized as a backdoor national welfare system, not tax a cut.

Wanna have a national welfare system? That's a conversation we can have, but let's be honest when we discuss tax cuts and not call a goose a chicken.

Cervantes said...

The Tea Party was never anything but a Koch astroturf project.

Gay Boy bob said...

Where ever do you get your information?

Koch complained the choice between Trump and Hillary Clinton was like opting for cancer or a heart attack. And Trump bashed big-money donors, deriding his Republican rivals as “puppets” who went knocking on Koch’s door for backing.

Not surprisingly, the Koch network largely sat out the 2016 presidential election and, Trump went on to win without them.

When Donald Trump was running for president, billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch made it brutally obvious just how much they despised him. After spending hundreds of millions of dollars reshaping the G.O.P. in their image over the past decade, the brothers chose to keep their checkbooks closed during the 2016 election, with Charles likening the choice between the former reality-TV-show host and Hillary Clinton to choosing between a heart attack or cancer. Both brothers have condemned Trump’s travel ban, and in April, Charles wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post criticizing the administration’s “counterproductive” actions.

Gay Boy Bob said...

And where were the Koch Bros support when Ted Cruz won facing then sitting Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst in the runoff election for the senate seat?

Dewhurst was favored to win, raised over $30million and outspent Cruz 3:1 and yet Cruz won by 14 points.

It certainly wasn't the Kochs that put Ted in office