Donald Trump and the GOP’s tax plan has set the stage for a very ugly history to repeat.
Republicans rave about how great Ronald Reagan’s 1986 tax reform was. But was it really as great as they claim? It’s tilt toward favoring the rich marked the beginning of America’s widening income inequality. And that’s nothing to brag about unless, of course, it was deliberate.
Although the methods may have changed since the Reagan era, the real goals of the Party of the Rich have not. This is evident in the Republican wealth redistribution tax bill working through Congress at breakneck speed so the public has almost no time to stop it. One reason for the rush is fear that voters will hand control of the House to Democrats in 2018. Another is even more sinister.
As Bruce Bartlett notes in The Guardian:
The tax cut, once enacted, however, will bind the hands of Democrats for years to come, forcing them to essentially follow a Republican agenda of deficit reduction and prevent any action on a positive Democratic program. The result will be a steady erosion of support for Democrats that will put Republicans back in power within a few election cycles.
The theory was laid out almost 30 years ago by two Swedish economists, Torsten Persson and Lars EO Svensson. In a densely written article for the Quarterly Journal of Economics in 1989, they explained why a stubborn conservative legislator would intentionally run a big budget deficit.
It will not take long for Republicans to declare that the $1.5 trillion deficit caused by their handout-to-billionaires tax bill will require offsetting spending cuts. Speaker Paul Ryan has had a plan ready to deal with that for years. It has been stalled because it eviscerates New Deal programs that even Republican voters love, like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. With Trump in the White House, all that could change.
Voters have always had a hard time remembering which party caused their problems. Even today, few GOP loyalists connect the dots between Ronald Reagan’s tax policies and the decline in the middle class. The reason is by the time the full effects of Reaganomics hit home, Democrats were in power, so they blamed them instead. This cycle is bound to repeat if Trump signs off on the 2017 version of screw-the-poor tax policy, especially since it’s designed to delay the worst effects on the working classes until well past the next election.
This chart from the New York Times says it all, this tax plan will just continue the disaster:
If American’s want to know why their quality of life has been falling steadily since another celebrity actor sat in the Oval Office, they need not look any further than their own susceptibility to believing in political get rich quick schemes. There is no such thing as trickle-down prosperity, no matter how many times Republicans sell it.
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