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Paul Krugman: Republicans, Trapped by Their Flimflam

Tuesday, October 3, 2017 11:42
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“In broad outlines, the tax story is a lot like health care”:

Republicans, Trapped by Their Flimflam, by Paul Krugman, NY Times: Last week the Trump administration and its congressional allies working on tax reform achieved something remarkable. They released a tax plan — or, actually, a vague sketch of a plan — that manages both to add trillions to the deficit and to raise taxes on a large fraction of the population. That takes talent.

…On taxes, as with health, leading Republicans have been lying for years. And now the fraud has caught up with the fraudsters.

The road to this tax-cut turkey began in 2010, when Paul Ryan … unveiled the first of a series of much-hyped budget plans, all purporting to offer a blueprint for eliminating the U.S. budget deficit.

In fact, they did no such thing. They proposed major tax cuts — primarily benefiting the rich, of course — then simply asserted that no revenue would be lost …

And what was the Ryan plan if you took out those mysterious revenue raisers and spending cuts? A plan to drastically cut taxes on the rich, savagely cut benefits for the poor and the middle class, and increase the overall deficit.

In other words, it was all a con. …

And the con went on for years. …

But then Republicans regained the White House, meaning that they had to come up with actual tax legislation. And this has put the con under terrible strain. …

So they came up with what probably seemed like a clever idea: eliminate the deductibility of state and local taxes. Hey, that would mainly punish people in tax-and-spend blue states, right? Not their problem.

But this turns out to be a much bigger deal than they seemed to realize. … According to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, their plan would give huge tax cuts to the top 1 percent, who would receive 79.7 percent of the benefits. But eliminating deductions would make many Americans, especially in the upper reaches of the middle class, directly worse off: …

And this would happen even though the plan would add several trillion dollars to the deficit. Did I mention that many of those facing tax hikes vote Republican? …

In broad outlines, the tax story is a lot like health care. In both cases, Republicans have spent years getting away with big promises backed by lies. Now, with real policy to be made, the lies won’t work anymore. And they can’t handle the truth.



Source: http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2017/10/paul-krugman-republicans-trapped-by-their-flimflam.html

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