Lies, damn lies, and Republicans on taxes

Hard not to just paste the whole Krugman column (so good and so on target), but here’s some extensive portions:

One thing you can count on in 21st-century U.S. politics is that Republicans will lie about taxes. They did it under George W. Bush, they did it under Barack Obama and they’re still doing it under Donald Trump…

So what’s different this time? As in the Bush years, Republicans are claiming to be offering a middle-class tax cut. But where Bush truly was cutting taxes on the middle class, just much less than he was on the wealthy, current Republican plans would raise those taxes on many lower- and middle-income families, even as they go down for the wealthy. [emphases mine] (Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, claims that only “million-dollar earners”would see tax increases. This is the opposite of the truth.)…

Oh, and a memo to journalists: If you play it safe by reporting this as “Democrats say” that middle-class taxes will go up, you’re misleading your readers: Those estimates come from the Joint Committee on Taxation, Congress’s own nonpartisan scorekeeper…

Not long ago, leading Republicans claimed to be deeply concerned about budget deficits. Only fools and centrists took the Republicans seriously. Still, the abrupt shift to nonchalance about adding trillions to the debt in order to cut taxes on corporations and the wealthy is causing a bit of whiplash even among cynics. How do they justify the shift?

Well, they don’t seem to have settled on a story. Mnuchin keeps asserting that tax cuts will pay for themselves, going so far as to claim (falsely) that Treasury has released a study showing this. Mick Mulvaney, the budget director, cheerfully acknowledges that they’re using gimmicks to pass a bill that permanently cuts taxes on corporations, and not to worry. Whatever works, it seems

Sorry, but this isn’t the righteous anger of a man falsely accused of wrongdoing [Orrin Hatch]. It’s the rage con men always exhibit when caught out in their con.

But what’s the con about? The very incoherence of the arguments Republicans are making for their plans shows that it’s not about helping the economy, let alone ordinary families. It really is about making the rich richer, at everyone else’s expense. If this be bull crap, make the most of it.

Paul Waldman also lets loose:

Orrin Hatch is sick and tired, and so am I. Hatch, however, has the benefit of knowing that his illness and fatigue will soon be relieved by the soothing balm of victory, as the Republican Party fulfills its most profound and deeply revered purpose and delivers a tax cut to corporations and wealthy people…

A logician might counter that Hatch’s experience of poverty during the Depression is proof of precisely nothing when the question is what’s in the GOP tax bill. But all the same, he’s sick and tired of hearing that Republicans favor the rich. How dare Democrats keep repeating that foul calumny?

It might surprise Hatch to learn that as a liberal, I’m also sick and tired of the charge that the Republican tax plan is a gift to those who need it least. But I’m sick and tired of being forced to say it over and over again, with little apparent effect. I’m sick and tired of pointing out the impossibly audacious falsehoods Republicans tell about taxes. I’m sick and tired of having what so often feels like an endlessly repeating debate that ends the way everyone knows it will. Let’s lay out the steps:

  1. Republicans lie about their tax cut plan.
  2. Republicans pass their plan.
  3. Their plan contains exactly what liberals and Democrats say it does.
  4. Their plan has none of the glorious trickle-down effects Republicans claimed it would.
  5. The next time Republicans take power, we repeat this whole cycle again.

If that’s not enough to make you sick and tired, what would be? …

But what really makes me sick and tired is that it won’t matter. One way or another they’ll assemble the votes, both because this is what they live for and because they’ve convinced themselves that if they don’t pass this bill then their base will abandon them and they’ll be wiped out in the 2018 elections. Then no matter what happens—an economic boom, another recession, or anything in between they’ll say that it proves that what we need is yet more tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations. And we’ll have to keep having this argument for the rest of our lives. 

Yep.  Still looking for any evidence that the preeminent policy concern of Republicans is anything other than tax cuts for rich people.  They just make it too easy.

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