Republicans: Manic One Trick Ponies

The usual right-wingers like Larry Kudlow and the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page are falling all over themselves to praise Tim Pawlenty for his “plan” to double the real rate of economic growth from its historical level of about 2.5% per year to 5% for 10 years. I don’t want to waste much time on such an idiotic idea — as I told a reporter, if he could actually do this he deserves not only the presidency, but the Nobel Prize in economics. The truth is that there is no substance whatsoever to Pawlenty’s plan except to essentially abolish taxation for the wealthy. And doubling the growth rate is just childish wishful thinking. If there were any policies that could bring this about, every country everywhere would already be doing it. Bruce Bartlett

Modern Republicans don’t see a problem that can’t be solved or a goal that can’t be reached by tax cuts. Unfortunately, our poor growth rate cannot be explained by tax rates. Federal taxes are at their lowest levels in modern history for most of us, but they are accompanied with historically anemic economic conditions. Compare that to the Clinton years, when economic growth and employment figures were comparatively amazing under a higher tax regime.

But Republicans aren’t interested in reality. It’s like a doctor prescribing penicillin for cancer. They have one trick: tax cuts. It doesn’t always apply, but it did once when Jesus’ best friend Ronald Reagan was president so now it is universally true for all economic problems. Everywhere. Now is one of those times. It is always one of those times.

Except in reality. But you can point this out until the Sun goes nova and it won’t change the minds of tax cut proponents. Until they leach government of all revenue and the state collapses under the health care costs of the obese and our unrelenting defense spending increases (the rate is now above all post-WWII eras including Korea and Vietnam adjusting for inflation), they’ll continue to think tax cuts are what we need now and forever.

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