Thursday, December 02, 2010

Reagan Budget Director Slams GOP for 'Theology' Of Tax Cuts


As Congress prepares to take up extension of the Bush tax cuts during its lame duck session, Republican lawmakers have been unanimous in demanding that the cuts for the richest two percent of Americans be extended, claiming they are necessary for economic growth and that tax cuts (miraculously) pay for themselves.

While independent economists have shown these arguments to be false, today on CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS, President Reagan’s former budget director took on his own party for pushing this faulty logic. David Stockman, who led the all-important Office of Management and Budget under Reagan and was a chief architect of his fiscal policy, criticized today’s GOP for misreading Reagan’s legacy by adopting a “theology” of tax cuts. Stockman has spoken out before, but took perhaps his strongest stance yet against his own party today, saying “I’ll never forgive the Bush administration” for “destroying the last vestige of fiscal responsibility that we had in the Republican Party.”

here, with video.

David Stockman isn't just some guy who worked in the Reagan administration: as far as supply side economics and GOP tax cut philosophy go, he was the guy in the Reagan administration.

Stockman and the neoliberals were severely criticized back in the day on the grounds that their notion that "supply creates its own demand," which includes a subordinate notion that fiscal policy should therefore heavily favor business over individual citizens, makes no sense--after all, if consumers don't have money to buy things, how does it help the economy when business has more federally provided money to produce things that people can't buy? A true neoliberal would respond that more business investment means more jobs and more pay: favoring business with tax breaks is the same thing as favoring individual citizens.

That line of thinking has been dismissed as "trickle down" economics - giving massive tax breaks to businesses may very well create some more jobs, but it's just a "trickle" when compared to the massive benefits such policy awards to the rich - and I am very inclined to agree with such a dismissal. But at least it's an argument. At least it's a point of view that we can discuss and measure and quantify.

What the GOP asserts today, in stark contrast, doesn't even rise to the level of legitimate thought. Are we in a recession? Cut taxes for the rich. Is the economy booming? Cut taxes for the rich. Is deficit spending threatening to squeeze the money supply? Cut taxes for the rich.

Well, okay, how does this work exactly? It's the same response for every conceivable economic situation. Surely there's some kind of reasoning behind this one-size-fits-all approach to fiscal policy. Please explain.

Shut the fuck up you communist piece of shit.

Right, there is no reasoning behind it. It's just an idea that sells well because nobody likes to pay taxes, and everybody thinks they're going to be rich someday, so tax cuts for the rich seems like a good idea to voters who don't realize that they're not going to be rich someday. But the way Republicans explain it, you're stupid if you don't agree with them. It really is religion for them.

So if Reagan was the tax cut Jesus, that makes Stockman Peter or Paul, one of the big time disciples. He was there. He came up with most of the ideas. And he's now saying what everybody in the country with half a brain thinks: Republicans are full of shit.

Will this mean anything at all? Probably not.