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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

The Tax Cut Stimulus Mantra Is Just Wrong

Category: Society
Posted: 06/28/17 23:24, Edited: 07/04/17 01:34

by Dave Mindeman

There is this pervasive argument that conservatives absolutely depend on for their approach to public policy.

An opinion piece at CNN is the ultimate example. Here we go:

Standard economics says that high marginal tax rates reduce economic activity by reducing the incentive to save and work. And the ACA taxes on investment savings and high incomes are exactly backwards from this perspective; they raise the tax burden on savings and working for high income taxpayers, the ones most likely to alter their behavior in response to such taxes, thereby slowing economic growth which affects everyone.

Is that really standard economics? I think the theory behind that has a little more to it than tax cuts for the wealthy stimulates the economy.

The ACA does tax investment savings and high incomes. And the Republicans want to roll all of that back, but the economic stimulus is just another unicorn theory without much basis in fact.

He says that the rich "alter their behavior" when given tax cuts...in a way that stimulates economic growth. This person sites an economic study from 2007 (10 years ago) and it only dealt with the idea of tax cuts in a government environment where spending would not increase - the study even goes so far as to say that tax cuts without spending increases has never actually occurred. Mainly because the tax cuts destroy revenue streams.

But let's get back to this "altered behavior". When a wealthy person gets a tax cut, where is the evidence that they would change their behavior to increase economic activity? They don't need the extra money. They more than likely would not need to spend it -so it would go back into a tax shelter of some kind - probably offshore and out of the economy entirely.

That doesn't sound like stimulus to me. As Democrats constantly argue, a tax cut to middle and lower class wage earners is a guarantee of economic activity - they need to keep up with regular expenses and maybe would use any extra money to make a purchase they wouldn't otherwise make. That is the ACTUAL definition of altered behavior.

The Republican philosophy continues to hold on to this archaic idea that tax cuts to the wealthy will free up the most money. It is an archaic idea because it is wrong. Giving tax cuts to lower income families affects more people with more incentive to action.

This continuous adherence to the old Reagan "trickle down" economic theory is devoid of rational thought and has prevented the Republican Party from any new ideas on economics for decades.

The high taxes that fund health care for many of the poor doesn't look to cause individual benefit. It is a societal benefit. And when people have health care and do not go bankrupt from health events, then everyone benefits - including the wealthy because everyone can participate in that economic activity.

The Republican broken record mantra on this needs to end.
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About Those Health Care Disparities....

Category: GOP Politics
Posted: 06/27/17 15:50

by Roxanne Mindeman

God knows, there are at least a thousand things to criticize about the Senate version of "Trumpcare", starting with it's official name - Better Care Reconciliation Act. Seriously? Who are they kidding? Better than what? A band aid and tweezers for major surgery? Yah, I suppose it's better than that - if you can afford the premium. Better for whom? The only clear winners are millionaires and billionaires who will get a tax cut averaging $30,000 per person, per year...forever.

And for those who aren't sufficiently irritated by that stupidity, there's the heard of male congressmen and senators who all got the memo that provides language for them to use to suggest that part of the problem with Obamacare is that women are just getting more than their fair share - you, know, like prenatal care. Never mind the indifference and disrespect that shows to their mothers daughters and wives, ... but are they really not concerned that their babies be born healthy and safe? And then there's the rage against maternity care as an essential benefit. And they seriously ask, "Why should I pay for coverage I'll never need?". Well gee, maybe they should be reminded that the premium paid by me and every other woman who pays a health insurance premium, covers treatment for testicular cancer - which I pretty likely will never have. And of course my premium also pays for their regular supply of erectile dysfunction pills. Should I get a premium reduction because I'll never use that ED coverage? Or maybe that's one of those "non-essential" benefits we should just stop covering. Hmmmm?

Just wondering
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It Is A Republic - But Not Republican

Category: GOP Politics
Posted: 06/27/17 03:17

by Dave Mindeman

I have seen a lot of explanations about what is "wrong" with the Democratic Party. A lot. But our basic problem isn't in philosophy - it is structural.

We argue about process in our own party like this is the answer to all of our problems. It's not. The problem lies in the mechanics of elections.

The Democratic Party is an actual majority party - we got more votes in the Presidential election. We get more votes in Congressional elections. We even should be 50-50 in state elections. But end up in the minority because the Republicans focus on structure rather than votes.

I think most people are aware of the gerrymandering aspects of drawing Congressional and district lines. The GOP studied this for years and have mastered the art. And in order to take advantage of that, they embarked on controlling state legislature majorities, so they can put their gerrymandering into full practice.

Wisconsin, under Scott Walker, has been a clear violator. So much so, that their recent district borders have been challenged and will be decided in court as to whether or not overly partisan district lines are Constitutional.

But it is not only that. Republicans have created a fake problem of "voter fraud" in order to enact laws that suppress Democratic vote. Using identity politics to target Democratic base groups, Republicans have been working for years on finding ways to purge voter rolls and using voting regulations to disenfranchise a lot of potential voters.

And then there is this insistence on dividing voters. Using fear mongering as a weapon to rally prejudicial ideas into anti votes - against one group or another. Often using false ideas and anecdotal incidents that can "prove" their viewpoint.

Meanwhile, Democrats obsess about having the "right" message. To get everybody on board with one idea or another - and litigating elections by rehashing divisive ideas. It is self defeating and plays into the hands of a party that no longer worries about political policy - but rather worry only about keeping power.

I'm not advocating that we adopt Republican tactics. But we do need to recognize them for what they are - and work on methods to neutralize it. And the only way we can truly do that is to win those majority seats.

We have that opportunity in 2018 because, as usual, the Republicans are overplaying their advantage. Many within their own party are uncomfortable with where they are currently taking us.

That means recognizing that we have to form a broader coalition in order to realize those majorities. We need to accept some candidates who are less than progressive, but will join us in social justice and climate change discussions.

Our democracy is not a true democracy. We have accepted our system as the republic that it is. But republic is one thing - Republican only is another.

And that requires strategy more than message alone.
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