America Is On Pace To Eclipse the Kansas Trickle Down Disaster

Republicans are not renowned for being truthful, or following through on their promises. In fact, it is safe to say that they lie and break solemn pledges at about the same rate normal human beings visit a toilet in a typical day; but at least one Republican broke that pattern and has kept his word.

At issue was the devastation Republicans wrought on Kansas’ economy and government during Sam “fetus” Brownback’s trickle down disaster that no sane politician would openly support or ever promise to repeat. But instead of pledging to avoid the “destroy Kansas” government and economy model, one high-ranking Republican promised a repeat at the national level when Republicans controlled Washington.

When then-Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell promised then-Kansas Governor Sam Brownback that Republicans would enact Kansas-style tax cuts for the rich and corporations, he fully intended to follow through on his pledge. It is particularly telling that when McConnell made his pledge, Kansas was already dying economically due to trickle down tax cuts, was hemorrhaging revenue, and smack in the midst credit downgrades.

McConnell’s pledge, and congressional Republicans subsequent tax reform, is not a case of what Albert Einstein called insanity; “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result;” there has always only been one result and expectation from the trickle down scam – abject failure and the rich getting richer. It is precisely the result Republicans, and probably dunce Don Trump, fully expect to see reach fruition like the one they saw during the Reagan and W. Bush administrations. They witnessed it again in Kansas over the past five years and still imposed it on America.

There is a handy timeline of the Kansas’ trickle down experiment courtesy of the Center for America Progress here with comparisons to what Republicans just rushed through Congress to enrich corporations and the rich under the guise of giving their hero Trump “victory.” They gave Trump some massive tax relief as well, but they sold it as a win for baldy.

Republicans knew their tax reform was another failure waiting to happen and in fact, that failure is an integral part of their crusade to dismantle the administrative state; or shrink the government to a size that can be drowned in a bathtub. “Cutting government down to size” was part and parcel of Kansas Republicans’ tax cuts for the rich and corporations and they did as significant damage to the state government as they did the state’s economy. That damage does not portend anything good for the economy nationally and the Congressional Budget Office issued a warning that comes from deliberately slashing the government’s only revenue source.

As 2018 began with new “Kansas-style” trickle down tax cuts for the rich and corporations, it is likely that McConnell et al were prepared for the news that the nation was rapidly heading for economic trouble. They all knew precisely what happened in Kansas due to tax cuts, although even Kansas’ woes did not begin within the first month of the ill-advised, and unpopular, tax reform. That current national trouble is the government facing a looming debt limit crisis much earlier than even Republicans imagined, and the near-desperation need to borrow a cool $1 trillion to keep the government operating and to meet the country’s debt obligations. The reason given for the dire warnings is the Republican trickle down tax reform driving the revenue shortfall.

It is noteworthy that the CBO’s warning about raising the debt limit earlier than expected, as well as the need to borrow $1 trillion, is after Republicans changed the way the CBO “scores” the cost of legislation to give the illusion that “trickle down” scams are good for the economy.  That trickle down friendly scoring informed the CBO that despite Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin  “exhausting extraordinary measures,”the debt limit will have to be increased in early March instead of late April.

The CBO was not hesitant in explaining that the reason for the change was due to the GOP tax cuts that began about a month ago. The CBO stated the obvious that those cuts translated exactly into what they were created to deliver; much less revenue to run the federal government. Early CBO estimates that the federal government would experience a $10 to $15 billion drop in revenue each month going forward was very generous according to “dynamic scoring.”  In fact, that estimate was extremely low because the CBO just reported that the federal government ran a deficit of $23 billion last month – the first month “trickle down” went into effect. It also demonstrates how fallacious trickle down “dynamic scoring” really is and why Republicans were desperate to use it.

It is difficult to imagine anyone with half a brain, much less so-called “business experts,” deliberately cutting their income source as a means of reducing debt, but that is precisely what Treasury Secretary Mnuchin promised would happen. However, the CBO and Treasury calls for borrowing $1 trillion after borrowing an additional $441 billion in “privately held debt” to keep a functioning government belies any claim the GOP tax reform was ever about reducing the deficit. Remember, Mnuchin promised the tax cuts will provide $1 trillion in deficit reduction in about 10 years.

All of these warnings from the Treasury and Congressional Budget Office about“needing to borrow” are occurring exactly a month into the GOP’s Kansas-style tax reform disaster. It is telling about how horrible of a mess Republicans have created at the national level when as disastrous as Kansas Republicans’ actions were, it took a couple of years before the economic shit hit the fan. In fact, in a warning message to Republicans in Congress, a Kansas Republican Senator, Dinah Sykes said that in the five years following her party’s ill-advised trickle down experiment:

Kansas experienced nine rounds of budget cuts, stress on state agencies and the inability to effectively provide the core functions of government for our citizens.”

Ms. Sykes failed to explain to Republicans in Congress that Kansas also suffered multiple credit downgrades from both major credit agencies with each citing the state’s lack of revenue as a result of trickle down tax cuts. That lack of revenue created a world of hurt for Kansas and its residents, and for a rough idea what kind of economic Hell Republicans have unleashed on Americans, a few of the Kansas atrocities are cited herehere, and here.

It is noteworthy that adding massive sums to the deficit serves another Republican purpose; justify massive cuts to Social Security even though the Social Security Trust is a self-sufficient entity and doesn’t technically add to the deficit.

The truth is Republicans could not care less about the deficit or they would not have passed tax reform the Tax Policy Center said would reduce revenue by at least $2.5 trillion  and substantially increase the deficit over ten years due to lost revenue. Remember that Trump’s Treasury Secretary promised that if all goes according to trickle down’s fantasy numbers, those tax cuts will reduce the deficit by about $1 trillion in ten years — in spite of adding trillions according to the CBO. It does not take a mathematician to comprehend there is at least a trillion dollar discrepancy in the GOP’s numbers, but they obviously aren’t concerned and why should they be? Brownback easily won re-election and Republicans kept control of the Kansas state legislature even while the state and its people were being raped and pillaged because Brownback brought out “the fetus” and the evangelical vote.

National Republicans have an easy-to-follow model in Kansas and Brownback because no matter what level of economic disaster they impose on Americans, or how much of the government they gift to corporations, or how many social programs they decimate to “reduce the deficit,”  all they have to do to maintain power is hoist an image of a fetus or an immigrant and the majority of Americans will reelect them out of abject fear. It worked in Kansas for six torturous years and Republicans knew it would work in 2016, which is why they control all three branches of the government they are crusading to demolish.

Don’t Blame Trump – Republicans Are Destroying America

There is a misconception among many Americans that the country is being rapidly dismantled from within and doled out to a few special interests because Donald Trump is in the White House. It is also erroneous to believe America is being radically transformed into something unrecognizable because a reality show host is setting domestic policy and a legislative agenda, and signing executive orders only his base believes are inspired by god. While it is true Trump is complicit in the impending and systematic  demise of America as it existed for 80 or so years, he is nothing more than a very convenient distraction, and a clueless rubber-stamp for the conservative movement’s evil machinations.

It is noteworthy that no small number of political opinion writers predicted the Republicans would do precisely what they are currently doing when they owned the government; only to be mocked as fear and conspiracy mongers. It turns out those pundits and opinion writers were spot on and not because they were prophets, but because they saw what the Koch brothers and their ilk demanded from Republicans sworn to do their bidding.

Everything happening in Washington, from tax reform to privatization to theocratization to deconstructing the federal government is a decades-long dream of America’s conservative oligarchs and it doesn’t matter which Republican is in the White House; a Republican majority in Congress guaranteed the current dismantling of the nation. In fact, dirty Donald Trump is so insignificant to the deconstruction of America that it will not be surprising when Republicans throw Trump to the impeachment police the instant they realize his usefulness as a distraction is unnecessary or too costly.

It is beyond refute that everything Republicans are doing since Trump’s poorly attended inauguration have been in the works long before Trump came on the scene. It is why Mike ‘preacher’ Pence works closely with and depends on the Heritage Foundation to provide a framework for “his” domestic policy reforms. Heritage has been instrumental in providing Pence and Trump with a harsh budget and current tax reform for the rich, as well as nominating blatantly partisan federal judges. Add to those horrors the Heritage Foundation was instrumental in selecting Trump’s cabinet and agency heads who are determined to dismantle those agencies and departments before handing control of the government over to special interests.

Trump is a bungling imbecile on his best day, but he is also too lazy and too stupid to have done the necessary research into which cabinet nominees were best suited to do the theocratic, corporate, fossil fuel and financial sector’s bidding; and why should he? The Heritage Foundation and a couple of special interest groups already had a wish list prepared to serve the needs of the corporate, theocratic, fossil fuel and financial sectors with a view towards destroying them from within . As Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman noted, this assault on America “is not a story about Donald Trump, bad as he is. The rot pervades the whole Republican Party.”

That rot has existed for decades, by the way, and the tax giveaway to the rich and corporations is just the beginning of the end of the country as most Americans know it. And it is worth pointing out that within that “tax reform” legislation are extra gifts to the Koch brothers that begin taking apart social safety nets such as Medicaid and Medicare as well as public education. And there is a special gift to the evangelical movement that has nothing whatsoever to do with tax reform and everything to do with setting a federal legal precedent necessary to completely eliminate the concept of women’s reproductive rights.  It’s a plan that the great majority of Americans are completely unaware of and was contrived in the 1970’s while Donald Trump was “fighting his own Vietnam trying to avoid contracting sexually-transmitted diseases because women’s vaginas are landmines.

Everything happening to America right now, and will continue unabated until they finish, are long-sought-after conservative movement goals and have nothing to do with Trump. In fact, even if Trump is thrown out of office, there are any number of successors who will toe the Republican line and do exactly what the “movement” orders.

Most of the conservative movement’s orders will center around ending “pillars of the safety net” created in the 1930’s (New Deal) to aid and protect the American people from fascist corporate assaults. The “movement’” has attempted to dismantle, and eliminate, such programs as Social Security, unemployment insurance, minimum wage, Medicare and Medicaid, workplace safety standards with as much fanaticism as they have attacked clean water, air and safe medicine standards. Now that they have complete control of the government, all of those programs are being targeted along with myriad assaults on anything the rich and corporations believe is either a burden to their profits, or belong to them because it means more wealth. Look at anything this administration is doing and it is glaringly apparent its raison d’être is handing control of the nation over to a nasty un-American cabal of special interests.

Right now there is a world of warranted attention on the GOP’s tax giveaway to the rich and corporations, but it is all in vain. Although Trump will benefit as much as any other member of the wealthy elite, and despite his claim that the tax cuts will really hurt him, it is something Republicans planned no matter who was president, Republican or Democrat. Now they have a Republican rubber stamp and it doesn’t matter what the rubber stamp’s name is, the trickle down attack was always the plan.

In fact, three years ago while Kansas’ economy was dying due to Governor Sam Brownback’s trickle down tax cuts, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told Brownback it was exactly what Republicans wanted to do in Washington when they controlled Congress and the White House. The only difference between Brownback’s tax cut disaster is the level of severity; Republicans included unrealistic cuts in the current federal “trickle down reform” that actually raise taxes on the poor. The results of the federal reforms will be significantly more severe than those that decimated Kansas, but they were created to serve the exact same purposes; enrich the wealthy, punish the poor, and shrink the government into oblivion by starving it of revenue.

Look, no matter how bad Trump is, and he is admittedly as bad as they come, he is not driving the Republicans’ assault on the nation and it is a monumental mistake to even pretend that’s the case. The blame for the attack on America and the government that has somewhat protected the citizens for over eighty years belongs to Republicans devoted to the libertarian Koch brothers. Everything Republicans are planning to do to the nation, from assaulting social programs to privatizing the government to wiping out any form of regulatory oversight make up the policy proposals and dream agenda of Charles Koch’s campaign for the vice presidency in 1980 as a libertarian. Suffice it to say, the Kochs demand the abolition of the entire federal government and anything remotely related to providing for the “general welfare of the people.” The Heritage Foundation and Republicans are of the same mind and it is why they provided Trump with the personnel to dismantle every federal agency and department from within.

It is noteworthy to remind anyone who thinks Trump is running domestic policy that he told prospective vice presidential candidates that in his administration they would run domestic and foreign policy giving Trump time to focus on being CEO of making America great. It is safe to say that Pence isn’t running domestic policy unilaterally. He is too focused on making America an evangelical theocracy to concern himself with tax reform, social program cuts, or government privatization; the Koch brothers and the Heritage Foundation are running domestic policy and Republicans in Congress are, and will continue, executing their agenda. Paul Ryan actually said now that Republicans are close to raping the people with “tax reform,” they will shift their focus to making Draconian spending cuts concurrently with the planned major cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, and supplemental nutrition programs.

Americans have no idea how much the nation is going to change, for the worse, now that Republicans control the country. Any program created since the New Deal that served the interests of the people, whether social programs, workplace protections, medical safety standards, financial regulations or environmental protections are going to be assaulted with a view towards abolishment. Everything Republicans in the states have lusted after, such as turning over National Parks, protected wilderness areas, national monuments and public land to corporations is already in the works.

Republicans have dreamed of privatizing the government and agencies like the U.S. Postal Service, public education including higher education, public transportation, the prison system, and public health agencies and they are all currently under assault. Tragically, there is nothing whatsoever anyone can do to stop them. It is worth noting that everything that Republicans and Trump want to do are highly unpopular and they know it; but they also know there is no-one with authority to stop them, including the electorate.

Anyone who believes getting Trump out of the White House will change the way Republicans are governing is a fool. The Republicans’ agenda has not changed in decades and now that they own the government, it doesn’t matter who lives in the White House. They will take America apart and give the wealth of the nation to the rich and corporations with or without Trump; they could not care less who signs the nation’s death warrant, so stop blaming Trump and focus on the existential danger to America; the Republican Party.

 

Trump-Republican Tax Scam Insults Americans’ Intelligence

When Trump and Republicans announced they concocted a “unified framework for fixing our broken tax system,” they counted on a memory challenged and flagrantly stupid population to fall for their tired old tax reform “scam.” The scam where Republicans promise that giving the richest Americans and corporations more tax cuts will automatically make the poor and middle class rich, eliminate the deficit, and America will be great again. It is the “trickle down” scam that Americans were duped into accepting twice before only to suffer its effects for a couple of decades.

Republicans assume that all Americans are as stupid as their base, because they are proposing a worse rash of tax reform than Bush-Republicans enacted and pledge the results will not be disproportionately much worse. It is bizarre that they are once again proposing to grossly cut revenue to run the government while claiming it will increase government revenue and not blow up the deficit. And no, the Republicans cannot possibly cut government enough to pay for the tax cuts. It’s partially why the “plan” raises the lowest brackets tax rate and eliminates their deductions; to partially pay for the tax cuts for the rich

But setting aside piling on an estimated multi-trillions of dollars on the deficit and starving the federal government of operating funds, the filthy rich and corporations are going to see a bonafide bonanza and they are thrilled. The so-called “plan” is still extremely scarce on details, but by all accounts it amounts to raising taxes on the lowest incomes and eliminating their deductions, while drastically cutting taxes on the rich and corporations; and providing them with new “schemes” to reduce their tax liability even more by “going foreign.”

It also contains “reforms” to incentivize corporations and big businesses to avoid taxation by either moving offshore or restructuring into entities that enjoy minimal tax rates. It is not, as Trump asserts, any kind of benefit to the poor and middle class wage earners and will deliver exactly the same results as previous “trickle down” scams; more wealth for the rich.

Trump claims that heaping unfunded tax cuts on the rich and corporations will propel economic growth and lift wages. It is exactly what Kansas Governor Sam Brownback continued promising Kansas residents; even as the state’s finances and economy went deeper in the gutter. It is noteworthy that even as Kansas’ economy was dying to “reduce government” and enrich corporations, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told Brownback that Republicans wanted to do “the same thing” nationally when they get control of the government; despite the real life evidence that slashing taxes to enrich the already wealthy decimates the economy.

Now that they have control, Republicans are on the verge of “doing the same thing” and expect little resistance from the people. They’ve fooled the people under Republican administrations before, and since too many Americans are either memory challenged or stupid, Republicans and Trump are telling the people that “this time” the results will be different.

Republicans are aware of the  consensus opinion of real economists, and the history of “trickle-down” economics’ failure that was manifest when Reagan imposed it and then again when George W. Bush enacted it. This time “it,” no matter how one assesses it, is a multi-trillion-dollar tax cutting scheme and not the way to boost the economy, create jobs or raise wages.

This latest Republican tax “reform” is in no way meant to boost the economy or create jobs; it is a veritable wish list of tax cuts for the wealthy. Its express purpose is to provide a windfall for hedge fund managers, corporate executives, real estate developers and other members of the 1 percent.  It is no “happy coincidence” that Trump and his family would benefit as much or more than anyone in the richest 1 percent from this plan.

According to an estimate In the Huffington Post based on the one Trump tax return leaked last year, just eliminating the Alternative Minimum Tax (A.M.T.) will cut Trump’s taxes by 81 percent, and reduce his tax rate to a measly 4.7 percent on all of his income of over $150 million. Keep in mind, that paltry 4.7 percent tax rate doesn’t include all the other tax cuts for the richest of the rich that will benefit Trump. If all the “reforms” are enacted, Trump and his family’s tax liability will likely be zero; like many of the Fortune 500 corporations that already pay no taxes. The number of those zero tax liability corporations will increase dramatically, and that doesn’t count the corporations that take advantage of another “reform” that rewards them for moving offshore.

Republicans know their base is stupid and will fall the trickle down scam again. They always do and anyone that doesn’t’ believe it should consider the relative ease at which Kansas’ governor Sam Brownback won reelection after killing the state’s economy with “tax cuts for the rich.” Now Trump is lying that this time is going to be different and besides providing the kind of tax reform he and his wealthy cohorts have lusted after for decades, he and his Republican scam artists are insulting Americans’ intelligence; as if the entire population is as inherently stupid as the Republican base.

There will be more commentary as the details of this abominable giveaway to Trump, the richest one percent and corporations become available. But based on the early “framework,” it will more of the same “reform” that blew up the deficit the last two times a Republican administration enacted a tax scam that the stupid sector will fall for again.

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