We have just been presented with the Republican plan for no new taxes, no old taxes, heck, let’s just give everyone more tax breaks! Sounds lovely to those who are voting Tea Party.
The problem is that the math is Halloween math, and scary if that is the new math of the Republicans. The Bush tax breaks that would be made permanent plus the suggestions for reductions in inheritance taxes will cost over $4 trillion during the next 10 years.
That is $4 trillion of more borrowing and, as reported, would amount to four times the cost of the stimulus and healthcare reform bills alone.
And how do we square that with mounting deficits and budgets that are severely out of balance? Oh, we “freeze” government spending, according to Sen. Mitch McConnell. Sounds good to some, but how much does that freeze save us over the 10 years? Well, it looks like $300 billion. Hmm, Houston, we have a problem--there is just not enough money there to make a dent in the deficit.
Is this a conservative taxing and spending prescription? Is this coming from the same party that has been complaining about out-of-control deficits? Who urges us to tighten our belts? Who professes to solve our economic problems?
This is ideological politics, not pragmatic public policy. It is the single-minded mantra of tax cuts as the answer to every problem, when it actually exacerbates the problem.
And to be blunt, this is the height of unfairness. Why make arrangements for the super wealthy to pass on more of their wealth? Why allow those who make more than a million dollars a year to continue to enjoy an average tax break of $100,000 a year? That is two tenths of 1 percent of Americans. They have gotten wealthier, don’t spend those tax breaks, and this adds $600 billion to the deficit. That is twice what the freeze would bring in.
So it is hard to imagine that as politically popular as the tax cut pledge is it would not grow the deficit, hamstring the economy, and make it harder for us to dig out from the excesses of the past eight years.
So to my Republican friends, one request: Do the math, do it the old fashioned way.