Chart of the day

So pathetic.

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2+2=6

David Plotz had about the best take on the Republican tax abomination on this week’s Slate Political Gabfest (it started around 9:00, if you are interested).  I loved the metaphor he used– once you’ve accepted 2+2=5 (1984 truly is the indispensable book of the Trump presidency), it’s really not that hard to say 2+2=6.  And, yes, politicians, lie and spin, but usually of the 2+2=4.4 variety.  Heck, forget 2+2=6, this might be 2+2=10.  The Post’s Jamie Downie on the mass delusion:

But the president isn’t the only one creating his own reality. In the debate over the GOP’s awful tax plan, Republicans have become specialists in delusion — both of voters and themselves.

Exaggerations in support of a policy aren’t new. But the GOP’s plan — which Republicans tout as a tax cut for the middle class — is so heavily weighted in favor of corporations and the wealthy that Republicans have taken misrepresentations to new heights. “The tax cut, if anything, is probably targeted more toward the lower-middle class and the working class than it is the upper class,” Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) told The Post, though independent analyses show the opposite. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) says it’s “about giving those families who are struggling peace of mind,” even though the Senate bill would cost 13 million people their health insurance. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) claimed Thursday night that Republicans would not cut Social Security or Medicare to replace the lost revenue. One day prior, he said less revenue would “mean instituting structural changes to Social Security and Medicare for the future.” Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) declared in October he would oppose any plan “adding one penny to the deficit”; now he is fine with a plan that will add $1 trillion in deficits over 10 years. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin claimed that Treasury staffers would release an analysis proving that the bill would pay for itself. A Treasury staffer told the New York Times that no such analysis exists.

In going to new lengths to delude voters, Republicans have begun deluding themselves. When Trump’s top economic adviser Gary Cohn spoke at a forum with CEOs, the moderator asked the executives if their companies would invest money from the corporate tax cuts, as Republicans have predicted. According to The Post, “very few hands went up. Cohn looked surprised. ‘Why aren’t the other hands up?’ he said.”

The budget gimmick Republicans expected would bail them out failed them as well. After the Congressional Budget Office projected the bill would add $1.5 trillion to the deficit, GOP politicians expected that “dynamic scoring” (which includes projected increased revenue from economic growth) of the bill would show a far smaller number. Instead, “dynamic scoring” found that the bill would add more than $1 trillion to the deficit, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation. “Republicans seemed almost shocked,” reports The Post’s Heather Long, “by how little credit the report gave to the power of tax cuts to drive economic growth.”

Evidence that supply-side economics doesn’t work is also getting shoved down the memory hole. When Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback took office in 2011, he conducted what he called a “real-time experiment” in supply-side economics. Brownback pushed through sharp cuts in corporate and income taxes, promising that the cuts would pay for themselves by boosting economic growth.

The reality in Kansas was far different: The state’s job growth is lower than the national average. Ratings agencies downgraded the state’s debt multiple times. School funding was slashed to levels so low that they violated the state constitution.

If we actually lived in a remotely sane democracy this just wouldn’t happen, or if it did, Republicans would be destroyed at the polls in 2018.  Next year will likely be bad for the Republicans, but in a just world (I recognize we don’t have one– one of the key reasons I’m a liberal), Republicans would be left with just a handful of elected offices.

All the lies, lies, lies, lies

Love this from Krugman on Republicans and taxes:

McCain declared that he had made his decision after “careful consideration.” Careful consideration of what? He didn’t even wait for an analysis of the bill’s economic impact by the Joint Committee on Taxation, Congress’s own scorekeeper — the only official assessment, since the Trump administration was, as I said, lying when it claimed to have its own analysis.

Later that day the joint committee delivered its predictable verdict: Like all other reasonable studies, its review found that the Senate bill would do little for U.S. economic growth, while directly hurting tens of millions of middle-class Americans, blowing up the deficit, lavishing benefits on the wealthy and opening up new frontiers for tax avoidance. But thanks to the moral collapse of McCain and other supposedly principled Republicans, at the time this column was filed the bill nonetheless seemed on track to clear the Senate.

But aren’t politicians always cynical? Not to this degree.

For one thing, there’s no precedent for this frantic rush to pass major legislation before anyone can figure out what’s in it or what it does. By way of comparison, the Affordable Care Act went through months of hearings before it was brought to the Senate floor; the full Senate then debated the bill for 25 straight days

Mnuchin said his department had a study showing great effects on growth; that was a lie. Donald Trump says the bill is “not good for me”; that’s a lie. Senator John Cornyn said, “This is not a bill that is designed primarily to benefit the wealthy and the large businesses”; that was a lie. Senator Bob Corker said he wouldn’t support a plan “adding one penny to the deficit”; that was a lie. [emphasis mine]

In other words, this whole process involves a level of bad faith we haven’t seen in U.S. politics since the days when defenders of slavery physically assaulted their political foes on the Senate floor.

All the lies made me think of this.

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