Should-Read: Paul Krugman: Shifts Get Real: Understanding the GOP’s Policy Quagmire

Should-Read: Why are the Republicans—Ryan, McConnell, and Trump, all—proposing a tax cut for the upper class substantially funded by a tax increase on the largely-Republican upper middle class anyway?

Paul Krugman: Shifts Get Real: Understanding the GOP’s Policy Quagmire: “There are crucial links between the health care faceplant and the bad news (for the GOP) on taxes — links both causal and… cultural…

…Republicans took power in January determined to cut taxes on the wealthy, bigly. That has, after all, been the GOP establishment’s overriding priority for four decades; it’s what donors demand. But they’re somewhat constrained by concerns about deficits. It’s not that they themselves care about red ink: nobody with influence in the GOP has ever cared about federal debt, least of all the deficit peacocks who preened and posed as apostles of fiscal responsibility. But all that posturing makes budget-busting tax cuts awkward. And procedural issues in the Senate also make it hard to do too much budget-busting without 60 seats….

Republicans have always claimed that they can cut tax rates without losing revenue by closing loopholes. But they’ve always avoided saying anything about which loopholes they’d close…. But… the shifts need to get real. So where will the money come from? The bright answer in Trumpcuts is, end the deduction for state and local taxes (SALT)… punish blue states…. But there are a lot of Republican voters in blue states…. And who are these voters?… Affluent but not super-rich… for whom deductibility of SALT is a big deal. As the details of the plan sink in, these people will scream bloody murder, and their representatives will become a big problem for the leadership.

So what were they thinking? My guess is that they weren’t…. We learned from health care was that after 8 years, Republicans had never bothered to learn anything about the issues. There’s every reason to believe that the same is true for the distribution of tax changes, which Paul Ryan called a “ridiculous” issue and presumably nobody in his party ever tried to understand. So now the lies and willful ignorance are catching up with them — again.


Brad DeLong
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