This report – Senate Republicans Threaten Tax Dispute Blockade – makes this post – Can We Do the Non-Crazy Thing with the Bush Tax Cuts?– seem like so much yelling by a rational person locked up by the raving pitchfork carrying mob. First from the NYT link,
Not even 24 hours after President Obama met with senior Republican Congressional leaders and expressed hopes for a “new dialogue,” renewed partisan fury engulfed the Senate on Wednesday, as Republicans threatened to block any legislation until a deal is reached to extend the expiring Bush-era tax cuts, potentially derailing the Democrats’ busy end-of-year agenda.
So the conservative destruction of America continues. Tied, gagged and held hostage with the Bush gift to the wealthiest 1% of America, are legislation to repeal DADT, the New Start arms treaty with Russia, clean energy innovation, jobless benefits for people who cannot afford their rent much less Republican elitism and identity politics, and the food safety bill. Can We Do the Non-Crazy Thing
Let’s remember that the permanent extension of “just” the “middle-class” Bush tax cuts, as President Obama has proposed, would add about $2.2 trillion to the debt over the next ten years–without interest costs and without the associated extension of Alternative Minimum Tax relief. Such extension would preserve the full value of Bush tax cuts for 97-98 percent of households while continuing to give the largest dollar value of tax cuts to those above the $250,000 threshold. (That’s because those in the upper tax brackets have income that passes entirely through the lower brackets.) Extending the upper bracket cuts along with the rest would raise the ten-year cost to close to $3 trillion (again, without interest). So the Administration and Congress are debating over whether we should commit to over $2 trillion, versus closer to $3 trillion, in deficit-financed Bush tax cuts.
The Village wisdom seems to be it would be bad for Democrats and Republicans to be gridlocked to the point where all the tax cuts expire. On the contrary. If tax cuts are passed now – regardless of cut off point as to what income bracket – they become the Obama tax cuts and Obama’s contribution to the deficit. They become the Republican’s contribution to the deficit. Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell(R-Ky) is the one saying the election was a mandate for Republican to firebomb the economy based on the election cycle’s budget peacockery. Republicans, unwilling to compromise, have decided to increase the deficit by $3 trillion dollars. That is simply a fact. It is not that Republicans cannot spin facts – they would not have a political movement without spin – it is those facts are ammunition for the majority of moderate Americans who favor letting tax cuts for the wealthy return to what they were under the Reagan administration. Republicans have been having conniption fits for over a year over the deficit ( they ran up the largest deficit in U.S. history during the Bush years. Ideological consistency and integrity have never been the rabid Rights strong suit). Now those same shrill conservatives have the chance to knock out a big chunk of the deficit and would prefer their poor suffering billionaire fiends catch a break. Democrats and President Obama will fold for no other reason than that seems to be what they do. Obama still has not gotten over his starry eyed ideals about bipartisanship and compromise. Andrew Sullivan – bless his little beltway heart – thinks yelling truisms at Republicans will make them blink – The Dickishness Of The GOP
What we’ve observed these past two years is a political party that knows nothing but scorched earth tactics, cannot begin to see any merits in the other party’s arguments, refuses to compromise one inch on anything, and has sought from the very beginning to do nothing but destroy the Obama presidency. I see no other coherent message or strategy since 2008. Just opposition to everything, zero support for a president grappling with a recession their own party did much to precipitate, and facing a fiscal crisis the GOP alone made far worse with their spending in the Bush-Cheney years. There is not a scintilla of responsibility for their past; not a sliver of good will for a duly elected president. Worse, figures like Cantor and McCain actively seek to back foreign governments against the duly elected president of their own country, and seek to repeal the signature policy achievement of Obama’s first two years, universal healthcare.
I know it is the opposition’s role to oppose. But the sheer scale and absolutism of the opposition, and its continuation in the lame duck session, even over such small but integral reforms such as the new START and DADT repeal, is remarkable.
Whether Mitch McConnell(R-KY) or Eric Cantor (R-VA) or any other conservative actually believe the fantasy based fountain of nonsense they regurgitate is Kafkaesque. It does not seem to matter what mandate they have, if any. They act as though the polls overwhelmingly support their agenda. They’re in the bubble. We’ve had Louisiana governor and GOP wunderkin Bobby Jindal slam stimulus spending as he poses for a photo opt taking credit for a stimulus funded project. Photo ops like that are one of millions of moments in how Republicans shamelessly deny reality. Rank and file conservatives perform whatever mental gymnastics required to deny the shameless hypocrisy, the scathed earth policies, the never-ending scandals, the gluttonous greed, the contempt for good governance and the common good. This has gone on in a vicious cycle since Nixon. Republicans never learn from their debacles Watergate, Iran-Contra, the housing bubble, deregulation mania, Wall St as backroom poker game, Iraq, the current recession – because they manage to convince people these catastrophic attacks on the core values of democracy are a good thing. Someone once said everything is political. Maybe, but a lot of it seems to be advertising and product contents. Republicans regularly come out with the new conservatism, with new and improved ingredients. The public washes, rinses and repeats. The core ingredients and effects remain the same, they are still a lousy product. In the last sixty years there has not been one economic, legal, national security or cultural remedy from the conservative camp to be successful – excepting making the wealthy wealthier, but Democrats do that too. Considering what we know about the American public this is a truly remarkable phenomenon. In America we send back cold coffee, over-done steaks, tires that wear out too quickly. We get pissed off if we find out a lazy co-worker makes 20 cents more an hour. People get enraged at someone on food stamps buying a soda. If conservatism was a product or service rather than some Marxist based economics twisted with eliminationism, then molded into a radical ideology it would be in the large featured glass dome in the Museum of Worse Products Ever.
Micheal Boskin was chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President George H.W. Bush. That’s really all you need to know. He, without shame, crawls out from under his rock and pens this clever screed at the Wall St Journal – Why the Spending Stimulus Failed, New economic research shows why lower tax rates do far more to spur growth. He is wrong or lying or delusional – Whiplash: Conservatives Play Politics with Stimulus Spending (Boskin seems to have intentionally misrepresented the multiplier effect)
What the Romer analysis actually does show is that if you factor in the reduced size of the substitute with the lower stimulative impact of tax cuts, the number of new additional jobs created would decline from 3.9 million under the committee bill to about 1.3 million under the substitute. The Camp substitute would actually create fewer jobs than the economy has lost in just the last three months.
Romer is not alone in her pessimistic estimate of the weak impact that tax cuts have on a troubled economy. A number of private economic forecasting services have published estimates that are equally or in some instances even more pessimistic. Mark Zandi at Moody’s economy.com, for instance, published a paper earlier this month which estimates some tax cuts (such as reducing the corporate tax rate) provide a stimulus equal to or less than one-third of the size of the revenue lost through the tax cut, while some spending increases (higher food stamp benefits) provide a stimulus that is 70 percent greater than the size of the spending increase. In other words, spending increases can in some instances have five times the stimulative impact of tax cuts.
More on Boskin’s falsehoods here, Economists agree: Stimulus created nearly 3 million jobs. Here, No Correlation Between Bush Tax Cuts and Job Creation, Report Shows