Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Jeb Bush’s tax cut whacks the budget and worsens inequality… and the press calls him on it!

By Jared Bernstein September 14, WashPost

Jared Bernstein, a former chief economist to Vice President Biden, is a senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and author of the new book 'The Reconnection Agenda: Reuniting Growth and Prosperity.'

I’m not quite done talking about/bemoaning candidate Jeb Bush’s tax proposal, especially since there’ve been a number a smart analyses of it that you might not have seen.

One reason for doing so is that I thought the media, often pilloried for just reporting what the candidates tell them when it comes to this sort of thing, performed notably well in this case, digging deeply into the numbers, referencing historical failures of these sorts of policies, and generally getting it factually correct. That’s worth applauding in our age of “truthiness” where “he-said, she-said” too often poses as balanced analysis.

Granted, it wasn’t hard to see through this particular proposal — Jeb’s economics’ team claims that supply-side "magic" dynamics offsets 65 percent of the tax cuts, an unbelievably large proportion, as Bruce Bartlett stresses below. But I still think we should give credit where it’s due.

For background, see this piece I wrote last week, wherein I labeled this new Bush tax plan is “a revenue-eating wolf in sheep’s clothing.” It’s got a few decent ideas (expanding the Earned Income Credit, limiting certain deductions), but all told, it would engender massive, regressive changes to the federal tax code. This is RRH tax policy (reverse Robin Hood) of the type we’ve come to expect from Republican candidates who can’t resist the siren song of supply-side economics.

Why do they go there? Surely, they’re pulled in part by the preferences of their donors. If I were a better physicist, I’d give you the formula showing the gravitational mass created by large piles of campaign contributions. For now, here’s a collection of pieces by journalists/commentators who went far beyond the white papers provided by the campaign:

(More here.)

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