The Long Game of Republican Economics


Here is a brief modern history of Republican attitudes toward the deficit. For eight years under an Obama presidency, Republicans foretold of a debt apocalypse and urged lawmakers to slash deficits by trillions of dollars. Under Trump, both GOP-controlled houses passed a corporate tax bill that economists predict will grow deficits by at least $1 trillion in the next decade. Then, within hours after the tax bill passing the Senate, Republicans stepped up efforts to cut welfare spending on low-income Americans because, in the words of Sen. Orrin Hatch, “we don’t have any money anymore.”

This flip-flop—or, more accurately, a flip-flop/flop-flip—might strike some as a trivial double-reversal, or just quotidian hypocrisy. But it’s a microcosm of the GOP economic agenda, which has made regressive deficit-busting tax cuts the centerpiece of the party’s national agenda while using fears of the deficit as a stalking horse to attack progressive spending.

This is the long game of Republican economics, and it is the opposite of a secret. In fact, it is a published document. For years, House Speaker Paul Ryan, with broad party support, has proposed budget blueprints that both cut corporate taxes, thus returning trillions of dollars in post-tax income to business owners and investors, and slashed government spending on health care and anti-poverty programs.

Now Republicans seem poised to enact much of that very agenda. With corporate tax cuts nearly out the door—pending some ironing out in conference between the House and Senate—Republicans are turning their attention to the welfare system, arguing that neither the deficit nor the economy can afford current programs that help the sick or poor. In a recent radio interview, Ryan told radio host Ross Kaminsky that Republicans will try to reduce spending on Medicare, Medicaid, and anti-poverty programs in …read more

Source:: The Atlantic – Business

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