Stupid Politician Tricks


Let me clarify that this is a nonpartisan blog, and, even more than faulting individual candidates and their parties, this independent observer criticizes partisanship as a mere ploy behind the economic interests that are really call the shots.

That said, there’s a famous saying that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. Well, it seems that the lessons of the Great Recession were completely lost on some folks.

According to an CBS article titled The Problem With Romney’s Promises on the Debt, last clown standing, Mitt Romney is claiming that, if elected, he will start to put out the “prairie fire of debt” sweeping the nation, but his tax plan, in its current form, would instead feed the flames.

What he is proposing is to cut the top income tax rate from 35% to 28% and other tax rates by 20%, among other tax cuts.  You heard me right:  the blunders of GWB’s unfunded tax cuts that created this massive debt to begin with would be repeated.

Fighting Fire With Gasoline

Snap! principle of the corollary to the definition of insanity:

The corollary to the definition of insanity is to trust the word of an infamously dishonest political huckster.

The result of Romeny’s tax giveaways to his constituents (you know, corporate deep pockets contributors): according to nonpartisan analysts, CBS says that this would reduce revenues to the federal government and increase the debt and deficit. According to a March Tax Policy Center analysis, Romney’s plan would add $900 billion to the deficit in 2015, when his proposed changes would go into full effect.

Naturally, Romney says he will offset this lost revenue in part by eliminating deductions and loopholes in the current tax code, but is mum on exactly which deductions and loopholes he will eliminate.  An email to the Romney campaign asking if and when the candidate would fill in the details of his plan was not returned. I guess you can’t email back an Etch-A-Sketched reply.

Doubling the Deficit

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is projecting a $1.17 trillion budget deficit for the budget year that ends in September. About 80% of this was added by President George W. Bush, and the remainder by President Obama to help clean up the mess. According to the projected figures, if the deficit otherwise stays steady, Romney’s tax plan would push that to more than $2 trillion. His plan to increase defense spending would push it even higher — one analysis found Romney’s proposals would mean $2.1 trillion in additional military spending over a decade.

Starving The Nation Into Poverty

For Romney to fulfill his promise to “stop borrowing unfathomable sums of money” while dramatically cutting taxes, he would need to eliminate over $2 trillion per year from the federal budget.

Yet, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the federal government spent $3.6 trillion in fiscal year 2011 , and fully 20% of that, or $718 billion, went to defense spending. And Romney actually plans to increase this.

What this means is that in order to pay for Romney’s proposed tax give away to the constituents who created this financial mess while slashing employment (private equity, the defense industry, et al,)  there would be less than $1 trillion for all other government programs. In other words, this would mean drastic cuts to Social Security, Medicare, education and infrastructure programs, benefits for veterans, medical research, the FBI and border control, safety net programs that keep millions out of poverty and other federal spending. All of this, of course, comes at the expense of the 99% of us who are not wealthy, and for whom a path to upward mobility has all but been eliminated. The middle class, which was created subsequent to WWII, would be decimated, and Romney would realize the Reagan dream of returning America to the good old days – that is, a more polarized economic system prior to the rise of a viable middle class.

But Wouldn’t The Tide Raise All Ships?

Romney believes – despite all economic data to the contrary – that  his tax plan will gave the economy a boost. So wouldn’t that mean more economic output subject to taxation?  Even in that most unlikely of economic scenarios, and if the boost goes beyond economists most optimistic projections, severe cuts would still be needed. Romney’s current proposals are:

  • Immediate 5% non-security discretionary spending cuts: Even if there is the political will for this, which is doubtful, it still falls far short of the cuts needed to balance the budget.
  • Broad plans to reform entitlement programs and “streamline” government: Details are vague, and still do not seem to approach the massive spending cuts that would be necessary to eliminate the deficit. Besides, doesn’t this sound oddly similar to past promises of presidents like Reagan and Bush, who in fact increased the size of government?
  • Endorsing the Ryan plan:  The House GOP budget plan, which proponents say would cut spending by $5.3 trillion over a decade in part by replacing Medicare with a subsidy for seniors to buy health insurance, would also fall far short.

CBS’s conclusion:

The overall picture is difficult to dispute: If Romney is going to fully put out the “prairie fire” of debt in conjunction with his current proposal to cut taxes, he’ll have to preside over the sorts of cuts to federal spending that would dramatically reshape American life. And if he pushes through those tax cuts without huge offsetting cuts to federal spending, then the “prairie fire” is going to keep on burning.

Neither Party Gets “That Economics Thing”

If you’re interested in the perspective of a non partisan student of economics, follow the money and the economic trends of the past 30 years, and you can clearly see who’s behind this and where it’s leading. The middle class, which was created as a labor force and a market for goods has begun to outlive its usefulness with the rise of overseas labor and markets, and is systematically being phased out. Neither political party has stood up to the forces behind the throne, and both parties have done their share to feed the beast. It’s essentially game over for the middle class if the Romney plan goes into effect, vs. a slightly slower decline under a Democratic president beholden to Wall Street. Neither party appears to understand the fundamental economics of creating prosperity.

What do you think? What do the hard economic facts actually show? Why can’t either party get beyond superficial polarized partisan polemics to address the real basis of the problem?

Snap! principle of partisan insanity:

The partisan political debate has been artificially framed according to the principle of confirmation bias to merely serve as a smokescreen for the real behind-the-scenes plutocratic agenda.