Don’t Count on Reason (Or Even Arithmetic) To Prevail in ‘Tax Reform’

{COMMENTARY}

President Trump has time and again promised “massive” tax cuts, and is demanding that Congress come up with a plan to deliver pronto.  Republicans generally love tax cuts anyway, and since they’ve so far failed to push through any major legislation (the greatest debacle being failure to kill Obamacare), major “tax reform” favoring corporations and the 1% would appear to be a sure bet.

But wait, say opponents of Trump and his Republican sycophants.  Simple arithmetic will bedevil the tax slashers, for the obvious reason that reducing taxes will drive up an already ballooning national deficit and debt burden still further.  And if there’s anything that Republicans hate more than high taxes, it’s growing the deficit.  Trying to bypass this sticky wicket by eliminating popular federal tax deductions (aka “loopholes”) such as state taxes and mortgage payments is a political dead end, since the back home constituency voter backlash would prove unbearable.

So is the Republican majority again rushing toward an epic failure to deliver on a big promise?  Don’t count on it.  Here’s my prediction – Trump and the Republicans will pretend to be fret mightily over deficits, but will soothe the nation’s anxieties with a heaping dose of voodoo economics.  You know the tune: when big tax cuts go into effect, the economy will start booming in no time, galloping along at a 4, 5, or 6% growth rate, and hell, who knows, the federal treasury will probably be soon running a surplus….  Then, when the economic boom and the new tax revenues don’t materialize, debt and deficits will return to the political foreground with a vengeance, and the 99% will be in for the next big round of austerity measures – most likely “reform” of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, lingering vestiges of the New Deal and the Great Society that we can no longer “afford” in their current forms.