From his earliest days on the campaign trail President Trump has promised tax reform. As with many Republicans he bought into the fiction of supply side economics, previously known as trickle down economics. This theory claims that if we cut taxes more people will have more money. They will spend that money and create more wealth that will more than make up for the loss in tax revenue. Many of us argue that this is popular not because it’s true but because makes us feel good, much like the Atkins Diet. It doesn’t help people lose weight in the long run but it’s popular because it tells overweight people that they can eat bacon and cheese omelettes and still lose weight.
Last week the President signed into law a tax reform bill that he claims will be good for America, particularly the middle class. Additionally he claims it will hurt him. Of course since we don’t have access to his tax returns we can’t say, but he has often bragged about his wealth and since this bill will lower the highest tax bracket from 39.6% to 37%. And while 2.6% may not sound like much, if you claim taxable income of $100 million (not unheard of among the wealthiest), that 2.6% pencils out to $260,000, or a little over a quarter of a million dollars. That may not be much for Mr. Trump, but it is for the rest of us.
Many of us looked at this tax bill with hope as Republicans have often claimed that they are the party of fiscal responsibility, as opposed to Democrats who they characterize as the party of “tax and spend.” They claim the Democrats want all our money only to figure out how to spend it on frivolous programs that cause more harm.
We counted on Republicans like Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Jeff Flake of Arizona who promised not to vote for a tax package that would increase the federal deficit. By the way, I wrote an earlier article on the difference between the federal deficit and debt.
So how do they get around this? They lie. They claim the tax cuts will pay for themselves but that depends on unsustainable economic growth. You can read an this article but basically Presidents have little control over economic growth. Anything less than hopelessly optimistic economic growth will balloon both the deficit and the debt.
Don’t care about this? Fine. But if you have children, grandchildren, nephew, nieces, or young people you care about you need to explain to them how they will have to repay the debt you saddled them with. It’s a little like using cash advances to pay for frivolous purchases with the knowledge that if you do it for long enough you won’t have to clean up your own mess.
To quote our President, let’s see what happens.