Republicans were supposed to run on their tax cuts. Instead, they’re running away from them. Only the Chamber of Commerce (naturally) is running ads thanking Republicans like Martha McSally for making permanent the deficit busting corporate welfare tax cuts for wealthy plutocrats that did not benefit the average American taxpayer. Republicans stunned to learn voters understand exactly what their tax cut did:
The reality is not in dispute. Around two-thirds of the benefits of the tax cuts went to those in the top quintile of taxpayers, with about 20 percent of the benefits going to the richest 1 percent. By 2025, when the cuts are fully phased in, the top 1 percent will get 25 percent of the benefits. (See details here.) The centerpiece of the plan, furthermore, was a gigantic corporate [welfare] tax cut. Republicans promised that this cut would produce a wave of investment and wage increases for workers, but so far the only wave that has resulted is a tsunami of stock buybacks benefiting wealthy shareholders, which is exactly what liberals predicted.
Those facts are available to anyone who might seek them out, but most people aren’t going to. What people do notice, however, is that their paychecks didn’t look much bigger after the tax cut. Maybe they’re getting a few more dollars a week, but it certainly wasn’t life-transforming.
Tax cuts are actually tax expenditures that are paid for by borrowing money. Tax cuts do not pay for themselves, despite the GOP’s insane adherence to faith based supply-side “trickle down” economics. All it does is explode the federal deficit. Republicans like to claim they are “deficit hawks” when a Democrat is in the White House, but the truth is they are actually deficit peacocks who really don’t care about the federal deficit, especially when a Republican is in the White House.
“The federal budget deficit swelled to $779 billion in fiscal year 2018, the Treasury Department said on Monday, driven in large part by a sharp decline in corporate tax revenues after the Trump tax cuts took effect.” Budget Deficit Jumps Nearly 17% in 2018:
The deficit rose nearly 17 percent year over year, from $666 billion in 2017. It is now on pace to top $1 trillion a year before the next presidential election, according to forecasts from the Trump administration and outside analysts. The deficit for the 2018 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, was the largest since 2012, when the economy and federal revenues were still recovering from the depths of the recession.
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[T]he numbers released by Mr. Mnuchin’s department suggest falling revenues were a far larger contributor to the rising deficit than higher spending. Federal outlays increased for the fiscal year, but, because the economy grew at a faster pace than outlays did the previous year, they fell as a share of the economy, to 20.3 percent from 20.7 percent.
As a share of the economy, revenues fell to 16.5 percent in fiscal year 2018, from 17.2 percent the year before. Revenues are now nearly a percentage point lower than their average for the last 40 years, the Treasury Department said in its news release.
Personal income tax collections rose slightly over the past fiscal year, the Treasury data show, though in September they were lower than they were a year ago. The big revenue drop came on the business side. Corporate tax revenues have fallen by a third from a comparable period a year ago, a direct consequence of the tax law signed last year, which reduced the top corporate rate to 21 percent from 35 percent.
For the full 2018 fiscal year, corporate tax receipts were nearly $205 billion. That figure is a drop from $297 billion in fiscal year 2017.
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Many Republicans, including Mr. Mnuchin, said during last year’s debate over tax policy that the proposed cuts would pay for themselves – faith based supply-side “trickle down GOP economics – by producing faster economic growth and correspondingly higher federal revenues. Outside analysts disagreed. The Joint Committee on Taxation, the official tax scorekeeper of Congress, projected that the law would reduce revenues by $1 trillion, even when accounting for additional growth.
Here’s the thing. This is not a bug but a feature of GOP economics: tax cuts are designed to create massive deficits so that Republicans can turn around and say they have to cut spending, in particular, by reforming the “entitlement” (earned benefits) programs of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid despite these “socialist” programs being extremely popular with Americans, including Republicans. We’ve seen this movie before, many times.
Evil GOP bastard Mitch McConnell this week has made clear the GOP’s devious legislative agenda for these programs in the next Congress. Mitch McConnell Blames the Poor for Trump’s Trillion-Dollar Deficit:
[A]fter passing a $1.5 trillion tax cut they insisted would pay for itself and then some, Republicans blame social services like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security for exploding deficits and debt and insist that such “entitlements,” sadly, have got to go.
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[A]s we learned this week, the U.S. budget deficit increased to $779 billion for the fiscal year, a 17 percent increase from the year prior, which is extra bad considering the economy is doing well, a scenario in which the federal deficit typically falls. Luckily, Mitch McConnell knows exactly who and what to blame:
“It’s disappointing, but it’s not a Republican problem,” McConnell said Tuesday in an interview with Bloomberg News when asked about the rising deficits and debt. “It’s a bipartisan problem: unwillingness to address the real drivers of the debt by doing anything to adjust those programs to the demographics of America in the future.”
The “real” drivers of debt, according to McConnell, are “Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid,” “entitlements” from which the Senate majority leader would cut off the old and poor if only he could get Democrats to sign on.
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McConnell’s take on the situation echoes that of the White House, whose National Economic Council director, Larry Kudlow, said last month that he doesn’t “buy” the argument that tax cuts increase the deficit, and that the real problem is “principally spending too much.” (Kudlow, who has a penchant for never being right about anything, also claimed in June that the deficit was “coming down rapidly.”) Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was even more blunt while telling his assessment to CNN last week, “People are going to want to say the deficit is because of the tax cuts. That’s not the real story.” (The report out of his own department suggests otherwise.) Incidentally, in June, reports circulated that the Trump administration was trying to figure out a workaround to cut another $100 billion from the tax bills of the wealthiest Americans, and in late September, House Republicans passed a piece of legislation that would add more than $600 billion to the debt over the next decade. Neither measure will come to fruition, but on the off-chance that one does, we’re sure McConnell stands ready to blame the poor and elderly freeloaders who clearly hate America.
A Daily Kos headline says it best: Mitch McConnell says it out loud—Republicans are coming for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid: “Listen to Mitch McConnell in his own words pivot from promising the tax cuts would not only be “deficit neutral” to less than a year later saying we cannot balance the budget without cutting Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid. This would cause an economic apocalypse for millions of Americans.”
Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post observes, Democrats should thank McConnell for the last-minute assist:
In the past week, Democrats have received an embarrassment of riches from their Republican rivals…
In an interview with Bloomberg News on Tuesday, McConnell bemoaned the size of the deficit rung up on his watch, while refusing to accept blame: “It’s disappointing, but it’s not a Republican problem . . . [The deficit] is a bipartisan problem: Unwillingness to address the real drivers of the debt by doing anything to adjust those programs to the demographics of America in the future.” Rather than rethink the massive tax cuts, he took aim at “the three big entitlement programs that are very popular, Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid,” complaining that there has “been a bipartisan reluctance to tackle entitlement changes because of the popularity of those programs. Hopefully, at some point here, we’ll get serious about this.” If one didn’t know it, you’d think the Republicans had been out of power for years — or had elected a Republican whose determination to address entitlements was thwarted by those pesky Democrats.
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The main GOP policy goals — cutting entitlements, cutting taxes for the rich and repealing protection for preexisting conditions — are extremely unpopular. . . In the final stretch before Election Day, Democrats are likely to remind voters of the GOP’s ambitions should they retain control of both houses. With many voters already saying they want a check on Trump, McConnell reiterated the policy stances that voters fear most. Schumer and his party couldn’t have asked for a better “October surprise.”
But wait, there’s more!
McConnell wasn’t done with the assists, however. He vowed to revisit appeal of Obamacare, at a time Republicans are trying to deny their support for repeal of the law’s provisions including protection for preexisting conditions. “If we had the votes to completely start over, we’d do it,” McConnell said. “But that depends on what happens in a couple weeks. . . . We’re not satisfied with the way Obamacare is working.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer seemed incredulous at Democrats’ good fortune. “Americans should make no mistake about it: If Republicans retain the Senate they will do everything they can to take away families’ health care and raise their costs, whether it be eliminating protections for pre-existing conditions, repealing the health care law, or cutting Medicare and Medicaid,” the minority leader said. “Americans should take Senator McConnell at his word.”
As Joan McCarter mocks at Daily Kos, Really, Mitch McConnell? You’re going to promise Obamacare repeal now? Thanks!
UPDATE: In a separate interview with Bloomberg News, McConnell also expressed support for a GOP lawsuit that would gut protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions.
Every Democrat running for the House and Senate should immediately cut ads demonizing Mitch McConnell as a villain in the same way that misogynist Republicans do to Nancy Pelosi, and remind voters that if they elect Republicans they will be coming for your health care, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
The advantage to this is that it is not fear mongering, as the Republicans are doing, but it is the truth — Mitch McConnell has openly declared that this is the GOP legislative agenda for the next two years.
You can stop the GOP’s devious legislative agenda by voting Republicans out of office en masse. Spread the word: “Just say no to Republicans.”
UPDATE: Democrats in Congress Are Going After the GOP for Trying to Cut
Entitlements (earned benefits):
Democrats in Congress are trying to remind voters of the effects the GOP’s proposed budget would have on Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.
A new report released Wednesday by the Democratic Joint Economic Committee analyzing the budget resolution that House Republicans proposed earlier this summer shows that proposed cuts to Medicaid, Social Security, and the Affordable Care Act could result in significant income losses to 40 percent of Americans. According to the report, the average beneficiary would lose an average of $1,500 per year in services or tax credits, with that number doubling to $3,000 for the average household.
According to the JEC report, the cuts that have been suggested by House Republicans would disproportionately affect low-income households. The report projects that by 2025, tax cuts for the top-earning 1 percent of Americans passed by former President George W. Bush and President Donald Trump are projected to run up to $2 trillion in deficit—the same amount Republicans want to slash from the social safety net. In their budget proposal from this summer, House Republicans said they wanted to repeal the ACA and massively cut health spending—$1.5 billion in Medicaid and ACA spending and $537 billion in Medicare cuts. The proposal would also reduce spending on other social welfare programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.