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economics

Burning the country down to collect the insurance money was always the plan.

The time and effort wasted on trying to shame republicans into not being awful would be better spent explaining that the whole point of the tax cuts is to create an excuse to gut social spending.

There are many ways to describe the GOP policy of running up the debt and then using it to justify draconian cuts in public spending. Bruce Bartlett wrote about this being called the Two-Santa Theory back in 2012.

In 1976, the journalist Jude Wanniski wrote an essay, “Taxes and a Two-Santa Theory,” little noticed at the time and virtually unknown today, that put forward a theory that has had extraordinary influence on the Republican Party. Indeed, virtually everything Republicans say about taxes and spending today echoes that theory.”

From Bruce Bartlett in the NY Times.

I happen to dislike the “Two Santas” as a description and use my own more direct phrase: Burning down the country to collect the insurance money.

I think it more accurately describes the following:

  • Run up the debt via tax cuts targeted at your donors.
  • Loot the nation’s commons and insurance funds, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid to undo the damage of the tax cuts.

And this is exactly what Republican party is doing. No one should be surprised by this-the article above if from 2012 but the idea has been widely discussed since the 1980s. What is disappointing is that the coverage is focused on pointing out Republican hypocrisy rather than explaining that they have explicitly described this very tactic of using tax cuts to create excuses to cut social programs.

Anyone who has been paying attention already knows how useless it is to call out Republican hypocrisy. They don’t care and can not be shamed.

They ran up the debt

Less than a week after Treasury Secretary Mnuchin repeated the fanciful claim that the Trump tax cuts of 2017 would pay for themselves, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) proved him wrong. If tax cuts actually paid for themselves, they would reduce deficits based on faster revenue growth that comes from faster economic growth. Deficits immediately shot up after the 2017 supply-side tax cuts. And CBO forecasts that those deficits will continue to stay high for the foreseeable future. This is the opposite of tax cuts paying for themselves.

From Trump’s Wasteful Tax Cuts Lead To Continued Trillion Dollar Deficits In Expanding Economy in Forbes

After instituting a $1.5 trillion tax cut and signing off on a $675 billion budget for the Department of Defense, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that the only way to lower the record-high federal deficit would be to cut entitlement programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

From Newsweek in 2018

And now they have turned to looting to undo the damage

When it comes to taxation, the IRS would see its budget cut in half. At the same time, the more than 50 percent of households that don’t make currently enough to pay federal income taxes will have to pay them. It’s a de facto policy of raising taxes on most Americans, even though Rick Scott is now trying to deny that his plan would lead to anyone paying more.

From: motherjones.com

From the allegedly reasonable Mitt Romney

“In comments to the Senate budget committee on Wednesday, the Republican senator from Utah said that the spiraling costs of retirement programs had to be tackled to bring national debt under control. Romney raised the politically controversial idea of cutting benefits, but only for younger generations before they reach retirement age. “

From The Guardian

“It was an odd admission for the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. His leader, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, has repeatedly told Mr. Scott to pipe down about his “11-Point Plan to Rescue America,” with its call to impose income taxes on more than half of Americans who pay none now, and to sunset all legislation after five years, presumably including Social Security and Medicare.”

From NY Times

They do not care about being called out on hypocrisy

The time and effort wasted on trying to shame republicans into not being awful would be better spent explaining that the whole point of the tax cuts is to create an excuse to gut social spending.