Krugman Is Mad: ‘This Is The Most Dishonest Political Selling Job In History’

Although polls show there’s a contingent of Americans who have stated explicitly that there is literally nothing Donald Trump could do that would be sufficient for them to abandon him, there’s a growing sense among most Republicans I’ve talked to that “yes,” their party is complicit in an administration that is off the rails.

What most Republicans won’t yet admit to, however, is that Trump is lying about more than whether former Presidents called the families of dead soldiers and whether Mika Brzezinski was or wasn’t “bleeding badly from the face” when she showed up to one of Trump’s parties. Trump is actually lying about his tax reform plan and he’s lying about healthcare.

While suggesting that Obama, Clinton, and Bush didn’t care about fallen service members is – dare I say it? – “deplorable,” and while Mad Libbing about someone else’s plastic surgery isn’t exactly what one might call “presidential,” outright lying about what the effects of sweeping changes to public policy will be is inexcusable. Especially when you ran on a platform aimed at working people.

So with that as the context, consider the following new Op-Ed from Paul Krugman…

Via Paul Krugman for the New York Times

According to a new CBS News poll, almost 60 percent of the American public believes that the current Republican tax plan favors the wealthy. Some people see this number as a sign that the plan is in trouble; I see it as a sign that Republican lies are working far better than they deserve to.

For the plan does indeed favor the wealthy — overwhelmingly, undeniably. It’s shocking that as many as 40 percent of Americans don’t realize this.

It’s not difficult to see how the plan is tilted toward the very top. The main elements of the plan are a cut in top individual tax rates; a cut in corporate taxes; an end to the estate tax; and the creation of a big new loophole that will allow wealthy individuals to pretend that they are small businesses, and get a preferential tax rate. All of these overwhelmingly benefit the wealthy, mainly the top 1 percent.

There are also some measures affecting middle-class families, but they’re relatively small change — and some of them would actually raise taxes. Over all, the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center estimates that by 2027 almost 80 percent of the gains from the plan would go to the top 1 percent, just 12 percent of the gains to the middle 60 percent of Americans — and that more than a quarter of middle-class families would actually see their taxes go up.

So the question about this plan isn’t whether it favors the wealthy — it does, to an outrageous extent. The questions we should be asking instead are why Republicans are pushing this so hard, and how they can hope to get away with it.

Bear in mind that there is essentially no popular constituency demanding tax cuts for the rich. By a large margin, the general public wants to see taxes on corporations and the wealthy go up, not down; even Republicans are divided, with only a modest margin in favor of cuts.

Yet tax cuts for the rich are the overriding objective of the modern G.O.P. They were the principal motivation for the attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act, since that would also mean repealing the high-income taxes that pay for it; from Republicans’ point of view, depriving millions of health care was just a minor side benefit. And now tax cuts for the wealthy are pretty much the only thing left on the G.O.P.’s legislative agenda.

In fact, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the hope for tax cuts is the main thing keeping congressional Republicans in line behind Donald Trump. They know he’s unfit for office, and many worry about his mental stability. But they’ll back him as long as they think he might get those tax cuts through.

So what’s behind this priority? Follow the money. Big donors are furious at missing out on the $700 billion in tax cuts that were supposed to come out of Obamacare repeal. If they don’t get big bucks out of tax “reform,” they might close their pocketbooks for the 2018 midterm elections.

Beyond that, modern conservatism is a sort of ecosystem of media outlets, think tanks, lobbying outfits and more that offers many lucrative niches — so-called wingnut welfare — for the ideologically reliable. And that means being reliable to the interests of the wealthy.

But how can an administration that pretends to be populist, to stand up for ordinary (white) working people, sell such elitist policies?

The answer is a strategy based entirely on lies. And I mean entirely: The Trump administration and its allies are lying about every aspect of their tax plan.

I’m not talking about dubious interpretations of evidence or misleading presentation of the facts — the kind of thing the Bush administration used to specialize in. I’m talking about flat-out, easily refuted lies, like the claim that America has the world’s highest taxes (among rich countries, we have close to the lowest), or the claim that estate taxes are a huge burden on small business (almost no small businesses pay any estate tax).

Nor do I mean that there are just one or two big lies. There are many — so many I literally don’t have space to so much as list them in this column. In a long blog post this past weekend I tried to provide a systematic list; I came up with 10 major Republican lies about tax cuts, and I’m sure I missed a few.

So, politically, can they really get away with this? A lot depends on how the news media handles it. If an administration spokesperson declares that up is down, will news reports simply say “so-and-so says up is down, but Democrats disagree,” or will they also report that up is not, in fact, down? I wish I were confident about the answer to that question.

One thing we know for sure, however, is that a great majority of Republican politicians know perfectly well that their party is lying about its tax plan — and every even halfway competent economist aligned with the party definitely understands what’s going on.

What this means is that everyone who goes along with this plan, or even remains silent in the face of the campaign of mass dissimulation, is complicit — is in effect an accomplice to the most dishonest political selling job in American history.

Remember this?…

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3 thoughts on “Krugman Is Mad: ‘This Is The Most Dishonest Political Selling Job In History’

  1. “What this means is that everyone who goes along with this plan, or even remains silent in the face of the campaign of mass dissimulation, is complicit — is in effect an accomplice to the most dishonest political selling job in American history.”

    There’s overblown hyperbole and then there’s that nonsense above. How about these “selling” jobs that cost lives and TRILLIONS of dollars and have sown the seeds of incredible chaos…

    1. Vietnam..that was a really “cute” little LBJ political con job…50,000+ lives..we don’t count 2-3 million Vietnamese..right??
    2. Iraq…BS weapons of mass destruction that was really based on an oil spat between two governments we shouldn’t have cared a fig for…that bill is still accumulating..
    3. Afghanistan…THE geographical rat hole of rat holes…Obama dithered there for 8 years after it was clear absolutely nothing but graft and payoffs were its hallmark…
    4. Hillary’s Libya…a true POS was killed..the result…hundreds of worse POS now vie for power in a wasteland of murder and weapons transfers to terrorist groups….thanks Hill girl..go get em..

    In the grand scheme of things a tax plan that was never going to be passed….and never will be passed..is small potatoes. Oh yeah..the Wall will never be built either. Captain Blowhard hasn’t got a single plan he can implement because everyone that counts hates him.

  2. Another aspect of the Trump proposal that would lower the rate on pass-through entities such as Limited Liability Corporations is the impact on the social security and Medicare trust funds. As was seen in Kansas, where the top rate paid by pass-through entities was reduced so that it was advantageous for those collecting salaries to reorganize themselves into pass-through entities, many highly paid individuals did so. Bill Self the state’s highest paid employee does not pay state income tax on millions he earns as the University’s men’s basketball coach since he uses a Limited Liability Corporation to be compensated for his services rather than a salary. Medicare payroll tax is paid on wages and salary with no limit and an extra Medicare tax is imposed on wages and salaries above $200,000 for single employees and $250,000 as a married taxpayer. Social Security payroll taxes is due on up to $127,500 in wages. By switching from being a salaried employee to being paid via pass-through entity allows one to not pay Medicare and Social Security tax on the income passed through.
    Aside from the fact that highly paid professionals will pay lower income taxes when they reorganize themselves into pass-through entities, the Medicare and Social Security taxes they avoid by doing so will have to be made up by ordinary wage earners. The wage earners will either have to offset the Medicare and Social Security taxes lost when highly paid professionals reorganize themselves into pass-through entities by paying higher payroll taxes, or see Medicare and Social Security benefits reduced. …”
    https://seekingalpha.com/article/4111018

  3. Of course, those who pay the most tax receive the biggest tax cut. Those who pay little or no tax get no cut.

    Why does the rapist contingent object to that? Simply as an attempt to change the conversation away from the deplorable sexual predator behavior so common among them and their supporters. Deflection attempt FAILED.

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