According to Albert Einstein, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. Most people would claim it isn’t so much insanity as sheer stupidity. Only a fool repeats failed “experiments.” It is safe to say both conclusions are valid, but neither one applies to Republicans who continue pushing policies with a record of failure. When Republicans do something over again, they aren’t stupid or insane; they are pure evil because they expect the same results no matter their record of horrific failures.
When Republicans in the Senate passed a budget resolution late Thursday, they were so giddy it’s fairly certain a couple of them either soiled themselves or had a waking wet dream. Not only did they assure themselves that a trillion dollars would be cut from Medicaid, and a half-a-trillion from Medicare, they ravaged domestic spending to “shrink the government” paving the way for seriously monumental tax cuts for corporations and the ultra-rich.
To say the Republican budget portends a “grotesque future with trillions of dollars in tax giveaways to the ultra wealthy, funded by cutting trillions from Medicaid, Medicare, and other vital programs for the poor and middle class”, is understating the cruelty endemic in the Republican Party. Beside ravaging Medicaid and Medicare, the GOP-Heritage Foundation budget cuts more than $5 trillion from education, health care, affordable housing, child care, nutrition assistance, transportation, and every other program that working families depend on.
Although the details of the “budget resolution” aren’t entirely clear, and it is not a done deal, it virtually guarantees that the GOP’s tax “reform” will pass right along with the budget without any debate, committees or Democratic involvement whatsoever. All Republicans need to implement a “horrific budget” and “tax cuts for the rich” for the House to pass and Trump to sign it. Never mind it will explode the deficit and decimate all domestic programs, it will make the wealthiest Americans and their corporations incredibly richer.
The damage Republicans are about to wreak on America is something Republicans have been planning for over a decade, especially after witnessing the devastating results on a smaller scale in the Republican state of Kansas. For Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the time he finally keeps a pledge he made a coupe of years ago has arrived. Even as Kansas’ economy, job creation, social programs, and its government were dying from unwarranted tax cuts for the rich and corporations, and credit ratings agencies could not downgrade the state any lower, McConnell pledged to Kansas Governor Sam Brownback that “it’s exactly what we want to do in Washington.”
Republicans know that slashing domestic spending and drastically slashing taxes on the rich and corporations is a recipe for disaster, and yet they keep promising that the way to bring in more government revenue to pay down the deficit is cutting taxes for the rich; even though they know it will reduce revenue. They also claim that transferring wealth to the rich will “eventually” pay dividends and make every American a millionaire due to an explosion in economic growth. The so-called “trickle down” (supply side) economic policy has failed miserable every time it’s been implemented, but it has been a wealth creator for the already super-rich.
Over thirty years ago Reagan tried the “trickle down” scam and despite having to raise taxes several times after cutting them drastically, the economy floundered and the “trickle down” never happened. It took Bill Clinton nominally raising taxes on the rich to right the economy, create jobs, and provide the next administration with a tidy little budget surplus. One would assume that only a cruel fool would revert to “trickle down” again after Reagan’s monumental cock-up, and sure enough, George W. Bush’s Republicans played the fools and cut taxes for the rich dooming the economy. Most Americans remember the abominable economic mess Bush-Republicans left in 2008 that President Barack Obama had to contend with.
Like his Democratic predecessor, President Obama and Democrats eventually enacted a minute tax hike for the very richest Americans, and combined with restoring funding to domestic programs and enacting healthcare insurance reform, the country began paying down the debt, creating jobs at an astonishing rate, and grew the economy significantly.
During the Obama Administration’s economic successes, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback got together with “trickle down” creator Arthur Laffer and implemented huge tax cuts for the rich and corporations and slashed government spending to the bone. Brownback promised that cutting the source of government revenue would increase the state’s revenue because giving the wealthy more money would create an economic bonanza and create jobs unlike never before. Instead, the state was starved of revenue leading to more cuts to social programs. Subsequently, Trump installed Brownback as his “most trusted economic advisor” to guide him on repeating the disaster in Kansas on a national scale.
Of course Brownback’s repeat of two previous failures resulted in a truly economic disaster in Kansas that the Trump administration, like Mitch McConnell, is anxious and on the verge of repeating. Although they don’t expect different results, they are promoting the same bovine excrement lies that cutting revenue sources will increase revenue, and that “eventually” the economy will surge, there will be more high-paying jobs than available applicants, the government will be flush with revenue and everybody gets rich. It’s all bullshit, but it is not all on Trump.
Of course Trump campaigned on ravaging the tax code for his class of “earner’s” benefit, but the tax “reform,” like the draconian budget disaster, are all longstanding Republican goals. And it is noteworthy to mention that opposed to the Reagan and Bush “trickle down” disasters, this time Republicans are pairing it with a budget taking America a step closer to Grover Norquist’s dream of reducing government to the size he can drown it in a bathtub. In conservative parlance, “reducing government” begins by slashing spending on “education, health care, affordable housing, child care, nutrition assistance, transportation, and every other program that working families depend on;” precisely what congressional Republicans are on pace to do and exactly what decimated Kansas’ economy, jobs, and social programs.
As a brief aside, Republicans had the temerity this week to claim they don’t know how to do tax reform without giving everything away to the wealthy and corporations. Of course they know how to do it. But if they a little reminder how easy it is, they can summon Bill Clinton or Barack Obama because they were able to do it with no difficulty whatsoever and the economy flourished. Republicans don’t even pretend that the harsh budget will pay for the tax cuts for the rich; they claim, like past trickle down catastrophes, that the tax cuts will eventually pay for themselves when the economy explodes sometime down the road. Something that never happens.
There is no other way to assess the Republican budget or tax reform other than sheer evil and deliberately cruel. Of course Trump is on board and will rubber stamp the most vicious attack on Americans in recent memory, but he does not get all the blame. That goes to Republicans who are as excited as they’ve been in a decade because they finally get to raid the treasury and hand it directly to the rich and do serious damage to the majority of Americans in the process.
From an economic standpoint, what Republicans are close to enacting is insane and stupid, but they know it will adversely affect the great majority of Americans like Reagan and Bush and Brownback before them. That doesn’t make them stupid or insane, it reveals the cruelty endemic to the conservative movement.