Paul Krugman: Republicans’ Tax Lies Show the Rot Spreads Wide and Runs Deep

December 4, 2017

I’m a bit late posting this one:

Republicans’ Tax Lies Show the Rot Spreads Wide and Runs Deep, by Paul Krugman, NY Times: …Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, has been lying … about Republican tax plans. Mnuchin has repeatedly claimed the existence of a Treasury report that — unlike every independent, nonpartisan assessment — found that these plans would pay for themselves… But there is no such report

Also on Thursday, John McCain — who has delivered sanctimonious lectures on the importance of “regular order”… — declared his support for the G.O.P. tax bill. Remember, Senate leaders rushed this bill to the floor without holding any hearings or soliciting expert testimony…, at the time McCain declared his support, some key provisions were still secret, so they could be presented for a vote with no time for debate.

McCain declared that he had made his decision after “careful consideration.” Careful consideration of what?…

Later that day the joint committee delivered its predictable verdict: Like all other reasonable studies, its review found that the Senate bill would do little for U.S. economic growth, while directly hurting tens of millions of middle-class Americans, blowing up the deficit, lavishing benefits on the wealthy and opening up new frontiers for tax avoidance. …

But aren’t politicians always cynical? Not to this degree…, there’s no precedent for this frantic rush to pass major legislation… And there’s a world of difference between normal political spin … and the outright lies that have marked every aspect of the selling of this thing.

Mnuchin said his department had a study showing great effects on growth; that was a lie. Donald Trump says the bill is “not good for me”; that’s a lie. Senator John Cornyn said, “This is not a bill that is designed primarily to benefit the wealthy and the large businesses”; that was a lie. Senator Bob Corker said he wouldn’t support a plan “adding one penny to the deficit”; that was a lie. …

There are … further things worth pointing out about this moral rot.

I’m not just talking about Republican politicians… It was remarkable, for example, to see a group of Republican-leaning economists with serious professional credentials put out an open letter clearly intended to lend aid and comfort to Mnuchinesque promises of miraculous growth. …

And weasel-wording aside, it turns out that the letter misrepresented the research on which it was supposedly based. …

So what will it take to clean out the rot? The answer, basically, is overwhelming electoral defeat. Until or unless that happens, there’s no telling how low the G.O.P. will sink.

See also: La Trahison des Clercs, Economics Edition.

Posted by on Sunday, December 3, 2017 at 03:55 PM


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