David Brooks: Republicans have bad policies, vote for them anyway!

So Marco Rubio, like most of the Republican pols, favors a tax plan that involves massive tax cuts benefiting the wealthy: cuts in upper-income tax rates, elimination of capital gains, eliminations of the estate tax, and a loss of federal revenue.

David Brooks admits the plan is unaffordable, but that’s not important because everyone running has bad budget plans. Instead, he suggests that we ignore all the details and focus on “how a candidate signals priorities. Rubio talks specifically about targeting policies to boost middle- and lower-middle-class living standards” so that proves helping the middle-class is what he cares about. A breakthrough! Never mind that his plan favors the rich, what matters is that he says it will help the poor!

I’m not sure what breakthrough Brooks imagines this is. The GOP since Reagan has embraced trickle-down supply-side economics, the claim that slashing tax cuts for the rich benefits everyone, and boosts tax revenue as well. Neither is true, and I doubt even they believe it: when we had a budget surplus in the late 1990s, supply-siders from George W. Bush to the Wall Street Journal asserted not that Reagan’s tax cuts had done the trick, but that taxes were clearly too high—if we cut taxes, it would lower the surplus before the government spent it (and then the same tools started complaining that since we didn’t have a surplus, we’d have to cut Social Security …) And invariably the tax cuts are directed at the rich, but not because wealthy politicians want to cut their own taxes or those of wealthy donors, no, the rising tide will lift all boats!

And being unaffordable has never been a big deal for Republicans. Reagan pushed massive tax cuts and massive military spending and left office with record deficits. W pushed massive tax cuts and massive military/security spending, and left office with towering deficits. Then pundits and Repubs start screaming that we can’t possibly penalize the rich by raising taxes, but with all that red ink we can’t afford the social safety net—it’s helping people who aren’t military contractors or CEOs that’s unaffordable.

As Brooks favors cutting Social Security to get the deficit reduced I can understand him wanting to believe this bilge. But there’s no reason anyone else should.


Filed under economics, Politics

4 responses to “David Brooks: Republicans have bad policies, vote for them anyway!

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