Thursday, June 08, 2017

History repeats - Republicans don't learn

News today out of Kansas that there's been a revolt over not raising taxes:
Kansas lawmakers have voted to roll back a series of major tax cuts that became an example for conservative lawmakers around the country but didn't deliver the growth and prosperity promised by Gov. Sam Brownback, a Republican.

A coalition of conservative Republicans, some of whom voted for sweeping tax cuts in 2012 or defended them in the years since, sided with moderates and Democrats to override Brownback's veto of a $1.2 billion tax increase.

The law to increase taxes over the next two years comes as legislators seek to close a projected $900 million budget gap for that same period and bolster funding for K-12 schools under a Kansas Supreme Court order.
Which reminds of the Reagan administration and what Republicans in the past have had to do:
Everyone remembers Reagan’s 1981 tax cuts. His admirers are less likely to tout the tax hikes he accepted as the 1981 recession and his own tax cuts began to unravel his long-term fiscal picture–a large tax increase on business in 1982, higher payroll taxes enacted in 1983 and higher energy taxes in 1984. A decade later, when a serious recession and higher spending began to upend the fiscal outlook again, the first President Bush similarly raised taxes on higher-income people in 1991; Bill Clinton doubled down and raised them again in 1993. 
Why are the current bunch of Republicans so slow to learn?  Why is Laffer still granted credibility?   At the risk of repeating myself:  it seems that it's mainly to do with the small government/libertarian strain in the American Right - it just doesn't like, on principle, government doing things, and strangling revenue is a means to an end for them.  It's not economics that suggests deep tax cuts are always a good idea - although I gather that Laffer does his best at mathturbation to try to show lower tax States do better than higher taxed ones.   (I suspect this is one of the examples where the huge range of factors that are difficult to account for in economics lets an economist construct a result he desires.)   But the public does expect government to do things now, and the Republicans eventually have to come back towards reality.

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